Chiefs back in MSL final
Although it doesn’t show up on the scoresheet, Brodie Merril has been an impact player for the Six Nations Pro-Fit Chiefs. And on Saturday night at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena, he was at it again.
Collecting loose balls, playing tough at both ends of the floor and setting up one goal, Merril helped lead the Chiefs to a 9-6 win over the Brooklin Redmen.
With the win, the Chiefs win the best-of-seven Major Series Lacrosse semifinal series in six games.
“That was a tough series,” Merril said. “Not a lot separated both teams. In Game 5 we got some really timely goals that were key in a game that went back and forth, so we knew we wanted to finish them off tonight at home.
“Tonight we played a good, solid game,” he said. “We’re happy to move on.”
The Redmen got off to the start they needed in the elimination game, with Dan Lintner and Ryan MacSpayden scoring in the game’s first six minutes.
Vaughn Harris and Dhane Smith quickly responded, before Mark Matthews and Dan Dawson exchanged goals to finish off the first period scoring.
The Chiefs got rolling in the second period, when Brier Jonathan opened the scoring. Vaughn Harris then added two more goals and Smith added one during a four-goal run.
Austin Shanks and Kevin Brownell cut the lead to a pair before the second period ended.
In the third period, the Chiefs looked to close out the series with a stellar defensive effort, bolstered by goals from Smith, Ryan Benesch and an empty-netter from Dan Coates.
Curtis Knight scored the lone goal for the Redmen in a period Chiefs goalie Dillon Ward was forced to make 14 of his 41 saves.
“Some of our guys just made big plays tonight,” Merril said. “Dhane Smith, Dan Dawson, and Vaughn Harris, who really broke out for us tonight. It was good to see the O players have great games.”
Coach Rich Kilgour couldn’t help but beam about Merril in his post-game talk with the team.
“This is a guy that did a little bit of everything for us tonight,” Kilgour said. “His play shows that you don’t need to be on the scoresheet all the time to be an impact. He worked hard and set a tone for us.”
Merril said it was a great team victory, and as the series went on, he and the Chiefs had to make small adjustments
“It was subtle things,” he said. “We tried to keep it tight, play good lacrosse and try to avoid swinging the ball because they have quick sticks and good transition. We just wanted to play a solid team game and play in front of us and make them earn their chances.”
Now the Chiefs wait for the winner of the semifinal series between the Peterborough Lakers and Oakville Rock. The Lakers lead the series 3-2, with Game 6 Monday.
“We have to stay the course. We’re not looking too far ahead,” Merril said. “We’re just going to get ourselves ready for Game 1, whoever it is. We want to play our game and keep it simple.”