Win or go home! That’s all that’s left. The playoff is single elimination knock out tournament, no round robin, best of seven or second chances. Playoff pressure is what everyone has played a hard season for, but while some excel at the shear excitement, others think, hesitate, and grip their sticks tighter than ever before. What was incidental plays during the season, become critical. Everything is magnified. These teams are closely matched and every game will have key turning points.?The team that responds best will win and move on.
Friday 8pm, October 30, Bishop’s @ McGill, Forbes Field
Bishop’s squeaked by the Redmen 7-6, October 1, but dropped a 12-7 decision at McGill later that month. ?After two losses in the last weekend it would be easy to write-off the Gaiters, but these guys have been there before. McGill, preseason favourites, have not had the season many expected, finishing in second place with a 7-3 record, but the playoffs can erase all previous disappointment.
McGill is bolstered by their large bench and team speed. At home they should come out fast and ride Bishop’s hard.?A fast start will fuel McGill’s fire and Bishop’s will have a hard time catching up. If the Gaiters can withstand McGill’s early energy, settle the ball and pop a couple of early goals themselves, they will change the momentum of the game.
McGill’s high powered offense, with a division leading 129 goals, is lead by freshman attacker # 34 Alex Kruse (30pts), veterans #9 Nick Moreau (28pts), and # 22 Luke LaCava (18 goals). Bishop’s will respond with sophomore #1 Joseph Laleune (35 pts), veterans # 18 Mike Dube (22 goals) and #22 Josh Crone (27 pts).
?Saturday, 2pm, October 31, Carleton @ Trent, Trent University Stadium
Back on September 27th Trent took the first contest 12-6 at Carleton, but the Ravens edged The Excalibur 12-11 in Peterborough, so there goes home field advantage. Trent appears to be peaking at the right time, in view of their two big wins over Bishop’s and McGill on the last weekend of the season. For Carleton, this is all new ground.
Both teams rely heavily on three finishers. For Trent, it’s #24 Chad Evans (27 goals), #9 Mack O’Brien (26 goals) and #18 Josh Wasson (18 goals).?Carleton counters with CUFLA scoring champion #7 Corey Fowler (28 goals), #9 Raj Wasson (27 goals), and #24 Tim Bergin (22goals).?
The team that shuts down the top three shooters should prevail, as long as their shooters finish and they get a little unexpected help from the support staff.
?Sunday, 7pm, November 1st, ?Guelph @ McMaster, Alumni Field
?The Marauders have jumped from fourth place up to second this year, partially as a result of splitting their games with Guelph. They edged the Gryphons 7-6 on September 30, but dropped a 14 -5 tilt on the last weekend of league play. MAC fans should hope that their team was saving something in that last game, having secured second place earlier.
The defending champions from Guelph dropped to third place this season with a 6-4 record, but they still have the talent in all positions that got them to the prize last year. Leading scorers Justin-Wilson Kirby, # 21 (18goals), Jason Mainer # 25 (15 goals) and Braden Gallant # 9 (11 goals) are still manning the Gryphon attack and when this trio get it rolling they are hard to stop.
?The Marauders, who lead the league in defense last year, have filled there need for a scorer in Carter Williams, #25 (22goals). He gets support from Sean Dechars #18 (10 goals) and Mike Bottasso #4 (9 goals). While MAC is able to score more often, they will prefer a tight, defensive game on Sunday night.
?Saturday 2pm, October 31. Western @ Brock, Main Lacrosse Field
The undefeated Badgers downed the Mustangs 11-7, September 26th at Brock, and squeaked out a 6-5 win, October 18 at Western. The 5 and 5 Mustangs, who come in as big underdogs, always pose a difficult match up for the high scoring Badgers. Western likes a “settle” game. The longer they hold the ball, the better the chance they have to win, hence low scoring games.?Brock, on the other hand, will risk stretching their defense to create turnovers and fast break opportunities.?A “run and gun” game will be big trouble for Western.
If Brock has an Achilles heel it is penalties. If Western can take advantage of their man-up and keep the game close, they have a chance.
Brock’s top scorers are Chris Nash #13 (48 pts), #9 Mike McLeod (25 goals), and #15 Dustin Dunn (15 goals).?The Mustangs are lead by #21 Kyle Dorosh (23 goals), #17 Mike Skye (11goals), #24 Kirk Gatten (11goals).