Six powerplay goals help visiting North Stars past Merchants

by Sam Laskaris

Clancy Almas was not a happy camper. Yes, the head coach of the Merchants Lacrosse Club was disappointed his charges lost on Friday night. Almas was most upset with how his Oshawa-based squad was downed 11-7 by the visiting Owen Sound North Stars in an Ontario Series Lacrosse match.

“It’s hard to make excuses for a poor effort,” Almas said. “And the game is unfortunately, much like a lot of sports, when you let it affect you mentally, it will affect you physically. These guys were rattled. And it was not a game we could compete in tonight.”

Various members of the Merchants felt they were not getting a fair shake from the officiating crew for the match, held at Oshawa’s Delpark Homes Centre. While the North Stars were assessed four penalties in the contest, the Merchants ended up with more than twice as many calls (nine) against them. The Owen Sound team took advantage by scoring six power play goals.

“We didn’t help ourselves,” Almas said of the number of penalties his side took. “We’d go out and take another one.”

With the loss, the Merchants saw their record fall to 2-5 this season. The North Stars improved their mark to 7-4. Almas was obviously frustrated to see how his charges reacted to various moments throughout the game.

“We’ve all been around this sport a long time and you can’t blame anything other what you can control,” he said. “The only thing you can control in life is yourself. That’s it. You can’t control anything somebody else does. You can’t control calls, you can’t control bounces, you can’t control any of that stuff. You can only control how you react to the situation. That’s it. You can only control yourself. And when it comes to sports like this, you can control your effort and your own emotions and your productivity and that’s pretty much it.”

Friday’s setback stung perhaps a little bit more because the Merchants realized it was still a very much winnable game despite whatever occurred earlier on. The North Stars scored all of their first-period goals while on the powerplay and Owen Sound was up 4-2 after 20 minutes of action. And after a decent middle frame, the Merchants were only down by a pair of goals, 8-6, heading into the final period. But in the third period the North Stars scored three unanswered goals before the Merchants netted a late one to round out the scoring.

“It’s a mental loss,” Almas said. “Mentally we made a lot of mistakes and unfortunately because of our mental emotional state, we let this one get away from us.” Almas was confident his charges can rebound from Friday’s disappointing effort. “For sure,” he said. “There’s a good core group in there.” Almas was also asked if he thought Friday’s game could prove to be a blessing in disguise. “We’ll see,” he said. “We’ll see with the effort that comes out in our next game. We had a big talk there afterwards. And hopefully they’ll take to heart there what I said. We’ll see what happens with these guys.”

Brady Kearnan had a hat trick for the Merchants on Friday. Providing singles were Logan Swanton, Zac Sunderland, Devin Pipher and Keegan White.

The Merchants are now gearing up for a rather busy week as they have three games scheduled in four nights. For starters, the Merchants will host the Ennismore James Gang on Wednesday. That match has an opening faceoff set for 8 p.m. The Merchants will then hit the road for a contest in Owen Sound on Friday. And they’ll also square off against the host Six Nations Rivermen next Saturday.