(WINDSOR, ON) – It has been almost half a decade, but intermediate lacrosse has returned to the City of Windsor. The new look Intermediate Windsor Warlocks lacrosse team features a merging of veterans of the defunct Sun County Crows program, local kids eager to have a team in their age group, and affiliates of the Windsor Clippers Junior B program.
This past Wednesday, the Warlocks hosted the Wallaceburg Griffins for the third game of their best-of-5 series for Zone 7 bragging rights. Already up in the set with a win and a tie, Windsor was looking to take a commanding lead. The Warlocks put on a show, befuddling their opponents and easily walking away with the victory.
The Warlocks’ Alec Brown opened up the scoring early in the first period, blasting the ball past Griffins goalie Brett Santsche. Clippers AP Brendan Quimby extended the lead and Drew Denomey added one more for the 3-goal advantage. Windsor goalie Carter Whelpley scored the shutout period for the hometown boys.
Austin Agocs took some time between the pipes for the Warlocks in the middle frame, but was quickly ambushed by Wallaceburg’s Reece Seguin to make the score 3-1. Windsor did not sit back and lick their wounds, as Brown, Fraser Nelson, and Jake Van Noggeren bombed snipes past Santsche before the period would let out.
With less than two minutes to play in the second, Windsor’s Tyler Fraser went toe-to-toe with Anthony Vanderenne of the Griffins. Fraser started the fight on the defense, but took control halfway through, landing multiple solid shots and scoring a hard take-down.
Whelpley returned to the goal crease for the last act and put together a dandy of a period, landing another blank frame. Rain Van Dusen would dent the mesh one more time for Windsor as they clinched their second win of the season and 5 of the 6 points needed to clinch the Zone 7 series.
After some disappointment in not squeezing out the win in Game 2, Coach Greg Sweetman looked to change the atmosphere among his boys. “We got a few things straightened out on the bench, better communication, better line changes, everyone helping each other,” Sweetman said after the statement victory. “The goal was to get an earlier lead and then wear them out physically, we accomplished that. Defensively we are getting close to where I want to be – we are creating turnovers now. We are in good enough shape now to attack and take the ball away.”
The coach took time to compliment the refereeing of Noah Bushnell and Josh Jubenville, who called a tight, but fair game. “I was impressed with the refs in this one and you rarely hear me say that. These guys are calling good games and it’s good for the sport.”
“Tyler Fraser really opened some eyes, talk about tough,” referencing the second period fight. “You need those kind of guys that go out there and battle. Those things don’t go unnoticed, to stand in there and swing like that, it’s takes endurance.”
“Alec Brown put two goals in and they were pretty. We’re scoring by committee, you won’t hear me complain, just fill the net.”
On May 16th, the Windsor Warlocks Intermediate team took to the floor for the first time this season, hosting the Wallaceburg. Windsor won the game 8-6 in a penalty-filled affair.
After a short feeling out process, the Warlocks took the scoreboard. With seven minutes remaining in the opening period, Van Noggeren blasted a shot past Griffins goalie Danny Kingma to take an early lead. Soon after, Quimby extended the gap on the power play. Captain Jay Derby piled on late in the period, before Wallaceburg’s Matt Jolin finally cracked the twine behind Windsor’s Whelpley, on a delayed whistle, to make the score 3-1.
Wallaceburg had a big second. Coming out flying, the Griffins drew the game even before Windsor even knew what hit them. Seguin and Darby Jacobs sniped two goals in the first two possessions to tie it up. The Warlocks responded with a pair of their own midway through the frame, with lasers from Derby and Junior B AP Darian DeLisle to regain the two-goal advantage. Penalty trouble caught up to Windsor in the final minutes, resulting in a man-up snipe for Cullen Bowles of the Griffins. Clippers AP Matt Fraser would give the Windsor boys some breathing room with 1:12 to go, but with 6 seconds remaining, the entire Warlocks squad were caught unawares as an unpressured Jacobs ripped a blast from the top of the zone. Jacobs’s shot handcuffed Whelpley and brought the game back within one.
In the final stanza, Windsor pushed hard off the get go. With seconds remaining in the first possession, Fraser would strike again to bring back a two-goal cushion. Not deterred, the Griffins fought for their chances and midway through the frame were rewarded with a timely blast from Brayden Fischer. With just under five minutes to go, Windsor’s Van Dusen got his name on the game sheet and pushed the score out of reach.
Coach Greg Sweetman was happy for his team to get their first win under their belts. “Windsor hasn’t had intermediate lacrosse in a number of years, so it was nice to get a win right off the bat,” he said following the game. “[Wallaceburg has] a few dangerous shooters, but I think our offense has balance. We have a number of guys that can score and it showed on the game sheet.”
The coach was blunt about one thing he felt was a hole in their game. “I don’t like to see breakaways,” he said, “Whelps took care of them but that’s not the point. It’s sloppy, we’ll get that worked out.” He also added, “We took 12 penalties, we were two men down for half of the third period.”
Nonetheless, he did see performances that he liked. “I’ve been really impressed with Brendan Quimby. The kid is dedicated, he hasn’t missed a practice and it shows. He’s all over the floor, a real smart player.”
Three nights later, the Warlocks drove north to Wallaceburg for the rubber match. The game was one part defensive war, one part slobber-knocker. It pitted an iron-willed performance by Whelpley against a rock solid penalty kill for the Griffins. This low scoring affair came down to the wire for both teams. Needless to say, when both clubs became frustrated, things went from chippy to Thursday Night Fights.
Stating Whelpley had a good night is a vast understatement, he was as tough as a two dollar steak, and the main reason his team received a crack at a win. Wallaceburg’s Santsche played a strong game as well, but had nowhere near the shot volume to deflect.
Denomey got things rolling early, scoring only four minutes into the match for the Warlocks. Griffins Captain Mitch Van Damme drew the game even with 24 seconds remaining.
Whelpley and Santsche each scored shutout periods in the middle frame, keeping the game knotted at one.
A chippy game from the get go, the game boiled over in the third. Things got started when Wallaceburg’s Vanderenne took a late run at Whelpley who was caught out of his crease. Derby took exception and tea time ensued.
Not long after, Denomey dropped the mitts with the Griffins’ Mike Ouellette, with Denomey landing the decision.
All fired up, Van Noggeren made Wallaceburg pay on the game sheet, sniping a shot with 6:20 left on the clock. The Griffins powered up their offense and put constant pressure on Whelpley, peppering him from every angle. With only 28 seconds remaining, Wallaceburg pulled Santsche for the extra attacker and went to work. It took three cracks at the net, but finally Van Damme tied up the game with 8 seconds to spare. The game would end 2-all.
Sweetman praised his goaltender after the game. “Carter Whelpley was a break wall. Really reliable back there, but we need to give him more help.”
“We had good scoring chances but the ball wasn’t going in. We’d miss the net or hit the goalie in the chest. Some interesting calls by the refs, tossing out our skilled players left and right. We lost Quimby early and it hurt big time.”
“The sticks looked sharp. I was impressed with our ball movement, the guys are trusting each other. It felt like something was on the line; all our guys played hard. It feels like a playoff series,” the Coach said post-game.
Sweetman also saved some praise for Jake Van Noggeren. “[Jake’s] been a surprise. He has speed and holds his stick high, I like that. He’ll keep getting better, he’s playing more physical now.”
The Intermediate season continues on June 4th in Wallaceburg. If the Warlocks can pick up at least a tie, they clinch the Zone 7 series between the two clubs.