Merchants enter win column by edging Crushers in OT

by Sam Laskaris

One of the newest acquisitions for the Merchants Lacrosse Club paid off with immediate dividends. The Oshawa-based Merchants officially acquired the playing rights of Josh Medeiros mere hours before their Ontario Series Lacrosse (OSL) match on Friday versus the visiting Clearview Crushers. Medeiros scored a game-high seven points (three goals and four assists) to lead the Merchants to a 14-13 overtime victory against the Crushers, an expansion squad, in the match staged at Delpark Homes Centre in Oshawa.

Medeiros’ efforts included scoring a pair of shorthanded goals, including the game winner with just 28 seconds remaining in the 10-minute OT session. His other shorty came with just under three minutes left in the extra session and slightly after the Merchants’ Zac Sutherland had been assessed a five-minute major for boarding. 

Merchants’ head coach Clancy Almas was pleased he was able to add Medeiros to the team’s lineup. “He’s a very smart player,” Almas said of Medeiros, who suited up for 16 contests this past season with the Texas-based Panther City Lacrosse Club in the National Lacrosse League. “He’s a strong player and he’s one of those guys with a big heart. He just doesn’t stop. He’s got a good motor. I know there’s no quit in that guy. So, having him on the floor at any time is always a bonus.”

The Merchants had signed Medeiros’ younger brother Jordan earlier in the week. He also made his debut with the club on Friday but was held pointless. The elder Medeiros is hoping to play in the Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) this year. But that circuit has postponed the start of its season due to ongoing concerns with the oft-reported relocation saga of the Brampton Excelsiors franchise to Owen Sound. For now, Medeiros is content to be a member of the Merchants. 

“I knew some of the guys here,” he said. “And Clancy has been a good friend of mine and a good coach for a long time. And he had signed my brother earlier. I knew Clancy would welcome me with open arms.” 

After receiving an 8 a.m. phone call from Almas on Friday inquiring about his availability to join the Merchants, Medeiros spent the next several hours trying to make that a reality. He needed releases from both Owen Sound and Brampton, a signature from OSL commissioner Joe Hiltz and a signature from Merchants’ general manager Brad MacArthur. 

“I’ve been on the phone non-stop all day trying to get back onto the floor,” Medeiros said. 

Meanwhile, veteran Adam Perroni, who has spent the last few seasons toiling for the Merchants and their MSL affiliate Brooklin Lacrosse Club, played his first OSL game of the year on Friday. Perroni provided plenty of leadership and chipped in offensively with two goals and six assists. Perroni said his side was not discouraged and feel all was lost when it was tagged with a major penalty late in OT. 

“We definitely weren’t thinking this is it,” he said. “Just thinking we’re going to have to battle even harder to win. And it was. We made it happen though.” The Merchants fell behind 3-0 early in the game but managed to score eight unanswered goals to enjoy a five-goal advantage. “I just don’t think we knew what to expect from them because we had never seen the team before,” Perroni said. “But once we saw what they had I think we adjusted properly and made our own run after that and we were able to have some success after that.” 

The teams were deadlocked at 11-11 after the third period, necessitating the full 10-minute OT period. 

The victory for the Merchants was their first of the season. The club had started the year with two straight losses. 

“It does feel good actually,” Almas said of the W. “The best part about it is you get a group of guys together that are like minded and good people and it makes a nice bench. And when you have a nice bench, they continue to work hard for each other. That’s what you saw tonight.” As was the case for the team’s first two matches this season, the Merchants went into Friday’s outing sporting plenty of new faces. “We were in a spot where we had six new players today,” Almas said. “They had to pretty much do introductions on the floor. When they came in - they’ve known each other in the lacrosse world as it’s a tight little community - but none of them had actually played together. To have them here and have them mesh as the game went on, we got on a little bit of a roll. It’s a good positive feeling of what’s to come.” 

Like Medeiros, Keegan White also had a hat trick for the Merchants. Jake Gilmour added a pair of goals while John Harrington, Darren Elliott, Cody Menzies and Matt Duncan added singles. 

The Merchants are back in action on Sunday as they have a road contest versus the renamed Oakville Rock (formerly Titans). The opening faceoff for that tilt is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville.