Merchants, North Stars play to OT tie

by Sam Laskaris

The Merchants Lacrosse Club kicked off a busy stretch consisting of a pair of lengthy road trips on Friday in Owen Sound seeking a much-needed win. They didn’t get it. On the plus side, the Oshawa-based Merchants did manage to pick up a single point as they settled for a 7-7 overtime tie in an Ontario Series Lacrosse match against the host North Stars.

Neither side was able to score in the full 10-minute overtime session which was required after the two sides were deadlocked following the third period in the match staged at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre.

Logan Swanton had an opportunity to win the game for the Merchants as he took one final shot in the dying seconds of the game, but he was denied by North Stars’ goaltender Landon Kells, allowing both squads to earn a point.

The Merchants are now sporting a 2-5-1 mark as they hit the halfway mark of their 16-game regular season schedule. Owen Sound’s record is now 7-5-1.

Merchants’ head coach Clancy Almas is pleased his side didn’t come away empty handed from Friday’s outing. “That is the bonus,” he said.

The Merchants found themselves trailing 3-1 after the opening period. As has been the case numerous times this season, Almas said the Merchants had to spend the early portions of the contest just getting used to one another.

“We had 6-7 guys that were not in the lineup our last game,” Almas said. “So, you’re trying to go over your plays and a game plan.”

It didn’t help matters that instead of taking a team bus to Owen Sound, the Merchants’ players and staff drove themselves – many of them driving 2-3 hours - to the match.

Japanese native Koichi Nakamura was signed by the Merchants earlier in the day and made his debut with the squad. He ended up earning an assist in the game.

“He’s one of those guys who won’t quit,” Almas said of Nakamura. “He’s been practicing with us and he’s working super hard.”

Josh Medeiros had a pair of goals for the Merchants while Swanton, Jake Gilmour, Cody Hamley, James Whiteford and Cody Menzies provided singles. Meanwhile, Almas praised the efforts of Merchants’ goalie Lukas Coote who had a solid outing between the pipes as well as the team’s defensive players.

The Merchants are right back in action on Saturday. They’ll hit the road again, travelling to Stayner to square off against the expansion Clearview Crushers. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.