Although their team was defeated by Durham, the fans were treated to some great lacrosse in the Niagara Lock Monsters home opener Sunday night. 537 people took in the inaugural game at the Seymour Hannah Centre in St. Catherine’s Ontario, a good turnout for the city’s first CLax game. A slow start by Niagara had them trailing 7-1 in the second quarter and the Monsters were unable to recover from that lapse, losing the game 14-12.
The game was delayed for several minutes and did not get underway until well after the scheduled 7pm start. Staff were still laying out the turf when the game was supposed to begin but it didn’t seems to bother the fans as they waiting patiently in the stands. Players came out to help at one point and even CLax Commissioner Paul St. John was on the floor assisted with the turf. He worked up quite a sweat getting the carpet down and he had to hit the showers before the opening ceremonies.
The game was out of reach early; the score was 5-1 Durham after the first quarter and then 7-3 at half time. Niagara played a great second half outscoring Durham 7-5 but it was too little too late. The Monsters came to within one goal late in the fourth but Nic Grasby would score on the powerplay with 10 seconds left in the game, sealing the deal for the Turfdogs.
Grant Crawley played a solid game in net but Niagara’s defense was nonexistent in the first quarter, hanging him out to dry in his crease. Crawley saved 41 of the 53 shots he faced and was almost unbeatable in the second half. Without Crawley the game would have been a lot worst but he was able to contain the Turfdogs in the second half, allowing his team to get to within 1 goal. At the other end of the rink the Monsters had a tough time scoring on Zach Higgins. He was consistent all game making 49 saves in the victory.
Kim Squire, Jordan Daradick and Corey Fowler led the way for Niagara with 2 goals and 1 assists apiece while Dan Williams chipped in with 4 assists. Fowler’s 3 points last night moved him into 4th place in league scoring, just ahead of teammate Andrew Potter who sits tied for 5th. Jon Arnold, Kavan Sullivan and Bryan Campbell had single goals for the Lock Monsters while Bryan Neufeld, Andrew Tober and Ryan Learned each had 2 assists. Shane Scott led the charge for Durham with 3 goals and 2 assists.
Next home game for the Lock Monsters is this weekend as they play back to back games at the Seymour Hannah Centre. The first game goes Sunday night at 7pm versus the first place Ohsweken Demons and then Monday night is 8pm against the struggling Iroquois Ironmen. At 2-2 Niagara sits mid pack in the CLax standings but could jump into first place after this weekend. For that to happen the Monsters need to win both games and hope that the Toronto Shooting Stars lose their game to the Barrie Blizzards. This is a huge weekend for Niagara and a great opportunity for them to show the rest of the league that they are contenders and are not to be messed with.