Merchants score early and often in victory over James Gang

by Sam Laskaris

Members of the Merchants Lacrosse Club had a game plan and they pretty much stuck to it. As a result, the Oshawa-based squad was rewarded with a convincing 14-5 Ontario Series Lacrosse (OSL) road victory against the Ennismore James Gang on Sunday afternoon. The Merchants, who were well rested not having played since last Sunday, knew they would in all likelihood be squaring off against a fatigued James Gang squad.

That’s because the Ennismore team had also played Saturday night, dropping a 15-12 overtime decision to the visiting Six Nations Rivermen. After that contest, which included a full 10-minute OT session, the James Gang had little time to turn around and prepare for Sunday’s matinee against the Merchants.

“We came out flying,” said Devin Pipher, who scored twice and added a pair of assists for the Merchants. “We never let up after that and didn’t take our foot off the gas pedal.”

The Merchants got onto the scoreboard just 24 seconds into the game when Adam Perroni scored the first of his two goals in the game. The visitors added another half dozen goals in the opening period and were up 7-2 after 20 minutes of action. The Merchants continued to add to their lead, scoring five more goals in the second period while the James Gang only managed to score once. The Merchants then cruised to victory after that as both squads scored just two goals each during the final period.

“We knew they were tired,” Pipher said of the James Gang, adding his squad pushed the pace of the game whenever it could, evidenced by the fact the Merchants scored four times while shorthanded.

Meanwhile, Lukas Coote had an impressive outing between the pipes for the Merchants and earned the W. “He played phenomenal,” Pipher said of Coote. “He had some big saves, especially in the third period.”

With the victory the Merchants improved their record to 2-3. With the setback, Ennismore saw its mark fall to 2-4. Though they had displayed spurts of some solid play in earlier efforts, Merchants’ head coach Clancy Almas was pleased to see his charges put it all together on Sunday.

“It was a complete game,” he said of his team’s performance. Almas also praised his club’s transition game and was especially fond of the fact several possession changes resulted into shorthanded goals for his side.

Meanwhile, the Merchants’ roster continues to evolve. Luke Pilcher, who was selected by the Merchants’ affiliate Brooklin Lacrosse Club in this year’s Major Series Lacrosse Entry Draft, suited up for his first game with the squad. Pilcher scored a goal in his Merchants’ debut. Besides Pipher and Perroni, Logan Swanton, Cody Menzies, John Harrington and Trevor Cyr also scored twice each for the Merchants. Josh Medeiros had the other Merchants’ goal.

“It was nice to see so many different goal scorers,” Almas said. “We shared the ball. It was a big key to our success.”

The Merchants return to action on Friday, June 10. They will host the Oakville Rock at the Delpark Homes Centre in Oshawa. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.