by Pat Gregoire
Brandon Slade, Brock University
2GP 6G 10A 16 PTS
Senior attackman Brandon Slade kicked off the 2017 campaign with a bang, netting six goals and 10 assists for 16 points to help lead the Brock Badgers to a pair of wins in the opening weekend. The Orangeville, ON native found the back of the cage four times while adding five assists for nine points in the Badgers impressive 21-5 season-opening win over Laurier. On Sunday, the three-time All-Canadian followed up that 9-point performance with two goals and five assists for seven points en route to a 28-8 win over Laurentian. Slade has already found chemistry with freshman Connor Brown as he assisted on five of his 10 goals. There’s no doubt the two have the potential to be one of the best tandems in all of CUFLA lacrosse, if not the best.
Thomas Masterson, Western University
2GP 5G 6A 11 PTS
It was a huge opening weekend for junior attackman Thomas Masterson as he totalled 11 points in two big Western Mustang victories. In the 15-4 win over McMaster on Friday night, Masterson led the way with one goal and an outstanding six assists to open up the 2017 season. On Sunday, teammates Cody Ward and Reid Reinholdt were held off the scoresheet by the excellent Guelph Gryphons defence, but Masterson stepped up big time, netting four goals. It wasn't just the number of goals that made Masterson's performance so important, but rather the timeliness. The London, ON native scored the game-tieing and game-winning goals, with the winner coming with just 26 seconds left in regulation.
Justin Martin, Guelph University
Although the Guelph Gryphons split their games in opening weekend, which included a heartbreaking 7-6 loss to divisional rival Western, senior defender Justin Martin was nothing short of a beast. In the Gryphons 7-6 loss, the Oakville, ON native was able to hold 2016 CUFLA scoring champion Cody Ward to just a single assist in the entire contest. Martin will be challenged all season long being matched up against each opponent's top attackman, but if this weekend was any indication on how the 2017 season will go, Martin will be giving many CUFLA offensive players nightmares all year long.
Connor Brown, Brock University
2GP 10G 1A 11 PTS
Freshmen Connor Brown introduced himself to CUFLA by firing home 10 goals and he chipped in with a lone assist in his first two games as a Brock Badger. As I mentioned above, it seems like Slade and Brown already have established some chemistry and it looks like they’ll be a deadly duo for Brock all season long. Although Brown is a freshman, he is 22 years old and can bring some leadership and experience to an already veteran club like Brock.
Nick Chaykowksy, Nipissing University
3GP 10G 5A 15 PTS
Junior midfielder Nick Chaykowsky is coming off a career best season and it looks like he’s poised to have another big year with the Lakers. The Bradford, ON native tallied 10 goals while chipping in with 5 assists in Nipissing's opening three contests of the 2017 season. McGill was able to hold Chaykowsky to three points on Saturday, but the very next day the veteran Laker made adjustments and scored a hat trick while also adding two assists. Unfortunately for the Lakers, the five-point performance wasn’t enough to knock off the McGill Redmen as they fell 17-11.
Garrett Eddy, Trent University
1G 5G 2A 7 PTS
There’s no doubt the Trent University Excalibur are hungry for a another shot at the Baggataway Cup and that was evident on Sunday as they opened up the 2017 season with a convincing 17-6 win at Justin Chiu Stadium in Peterborough, ON. Hometown product Garrett Eddy looked like he’s poised for another stellar offensive campaign as he tickled twine five times and added two helpers for a team lead of seven points. Although one of the strengths of the Excalibur will be scoring depth, Eddy will be an integral part of the team, quarterbacking the offence once again in 2017.
Goose Bolton, McGill University
3GP 6G 11A 17 PTS
The McGill Redmen made it pretty clear heading into this season that the bitter taste of defeat in the first round of playoffs was still in their mouths and it was going to be used as motivation. As Coach Tim Murdoch told me before the season began, this Redmen team was “hungry and angry” and that’s exactly how they played in their first three victories this season. A big part of the offensive success was senior captain Goose Bolton. The Darien, CT native tallied 11 goals and two assists for 13 points in three games this past week.
Tanner Baldin, McGill University
Sophomore defender Tanner Baldin had an outstanding opening weekend, not just in his own end but all over the field. The Trinity-Pawling School grad was not only matched up against his opponents' top attackmen, but he also hopped in on the offence, scoring a goal and adding three assists for four points in three games. Baldin also was a stud on faceoffs, grabbing numerous ground balls from the wing and pushing the ball up the field creating offensive chances off the draw. Baldin is quickly establishing himself as one of the most dynamic players in all of CUFLA lacrosse and is poised to not only have a big season this year, but an outstanding collegiate career with McGill.