Rivermen easily handle undermanned Merchants

by Sam Laskaris

It could very well have been a preview of the two squads that will end up meeting in this year’s Ontario Series Lacrosse championship final. But Friday’s outing between the Six Nations Rivermen and the Oshawa-based Merchants Lacrosse Club was pretty much a mismatch from the start. That’s because the Merchants only managed to dress nine runners and two goaltenders for their season opener, which was staged at Oshawa’s Delpark Homes Centre. Several players who will be donning the Merchants jersey this season were unavailable since they were still in the United States, finishing off their academic/playing responsibilities with various NCAA schools.

The Oshawa club also currently has a number of others who are nursing various injuries. Thus, it wasn’t surprising the Rivermen were able to register a convincing 16-5 victory. The final score could have been even higher, but the bench staffs from the two squads agreed to keep the clock running throughout the third period.

The Rivermen, who improved their regular season mark to a perfect 3-0, were enjoying a comfortable 12-4 lead after two periods of action. Despite having a short bench, the Merchants scored the first two goals of the match and led 4-3 after 20 minutes of play.

“The first period was kind of sloppy,” said Leland Powless, who scored once and added a pair of assists in Friday’s contest for the Rivermen. “First intermission we just went into the locker room and talked things over, to get up to our game speed, get to where we can play and where we can compete.”

The Six Nations squad certainly accomplished that in the ensuring 20 minutes, racking up nine goals in the second period while keeping the Merchants off the scoresheet.

“Sorry that they had nine runners. but we came to play lacrosse tonight and we were fortunate enough to come out with the two points,” Powless said.

The Rivermen dressed their full allotment of 18 runners and a pair of netminders. Dylan Sprentz started his first game of the season and picked up the W between the pipes for the Rivermen. 

Since the outcome of the match was almost pre-determined, Powless was asked whether it was a bit challenging for the Rivermen not to fall into any bad habits during the game. “Sort of,” he said. “But you try not to. You have to keep bringing it. If they only have nine runners it’s pretty hard but you have to keep contributing and keep working through the systems that the coaches write up for you.”

With the clocking running in the final period, the Rivermen outscored the Merchants 4-1. Powless was unapologetic the Six Nations squad continued to rack up goals in the final period. “If it was the other way around, they would be putting up points too,” he said. “So, we’re just coming out every night to play as hard as we can.”

Six different Rivermen had two-goal games. They were Wes Whitlow, Vern Hill, Marshall Powless, Travis Longboat, Tye Argent and Brooker Muir. Besides Leland Powless, Jeremy Bomberry, Jordan Goddard and Justin Martin also added singles. 

The Rivermen are right back in action on Saturday. They will host the Ennismore James Gang in a 7 p.m. match, which will be held at the Six Nations Sports and Cultural Memorial Centre.