(WINDSOR, ON) – In the Windsor lacrosse world, hosting the Wallaceburg Griffins is a generally a pretty big deal. The Griffins are the Warlocks’ closest and fiercest rivals, from Junior B all the way down to Paperweight.
After last weekend’s doubleheader with Wallaceburg, Peewee Coach Jason Brennan recollected that maybe the Griffins were not their biggest foes on the floor. “Another great weekend for the boys, [but] they seem to be their own worst enemies. They create situations to test their mettle and my blood-pressure.”
Windsor’s Nate Dowling notched the opening goal just minutes into Sunday’s early match-up. Then Wallaceburg’s Ian Corkum sniped a few plays later, giving a harsh welcome to Warlocks’ goalie M.J. Schwager in his first start of the season. Mason Myeas and Ty Myers tapped in two more for the Griffins to bring a 3-1 lead into the break.
The onslaught continued in the second, as Kaelan Smith popped in a pair right off the bat. Down by four, the Warlocks finally came to life. They found scoring from Nick Baeini, Ngwiisus Whiteye, and Malikye Good to bring themselves back within one before the frame’s end.
Marcus Stanley was between the pipes for Windsor in the third, as it started to get close to do-or-die time. The Griffins responded first with Myers extending the lead to 6-4, but the Warlocks were in comeback mode. First came Charlie Paquette, then Good to tie it. A late laser from Dowling would seal the come-from-behind victory for Windsor as they took this one 7-6.
“Nate Dowling continued his dominant play demonstrated previously against London. His two goals and three assists lead the team offensively and also raised the expectations he and his team-mates have for themselves. The entire team rallied with some incredible defense in the third period and they finally moved the ball in the third on offensive as well as Coach Renaud could expect at this point in the season,” said Brennan following the game.
The Warlocks rode the momentum into the second game, but the Griffins had the early edge. Tre Altiman and Kanton Verstraeten built up an early lead for Wallaceburg, but Windsor regained their composure and tied the game in short order with snipes from Good and Calum Brennen.
With momentum working against them, a series of events would take the Griffins right out of the game. With under a minute to go in the frame, trying to regain their offense, the Wallaceburg coaching staff sent one of their players up floor to cherry pick. Maybe too young to understand the dangers of swimming alone in murky waters, the young man looked to the sky for a long-bomb pass from a teammate. He received this pass, turned to the net, and was met head-on by the bite of the resident shark-in-the-water – M.J. Schwager. Probably a missed call, definitely a high hit, the young goaltender flattened the Griffins forward as the referee looked on with absolute shock on his face. The non-call was protested fiercely by the Wallaceburg bench staff, resulting in a pair of bench minors. The Griffins never recovered.
“It wound up the Wally coaches and bench to the point they had a couple of bench minor calls against them and then seemed like they couldn’t get over the non-call,” explained Brennan.
All revved up, Schwager would not allow another goal in the game, scoring a shutout period in the second before being relieved in favour of Stanley for the third. His teammates rallied around him, giving him goal support. Good would nail two more in the period, along with a single from Brennan to take a 5-2 lead into the break.
In the third, Stanley would allow a goal from Wallaceburg’s Ian Corkum, but scoring from Warlocks cancelled the minor gain. Good popped in his fourth and fifth of the afternoon to complete the golden sombrero, while Keagan Renaud and Whiteye lanced the net to help give Windsor the 9-3 win.
“Wallaceberg seemed to key-in on Dowling’s presence whenever he was on the floor which allowed Malikye Good and Calum Brennan to combine for 13 points in the 9-3 win. We scored 5 powerplay goals and only took one penalty as a team; a huge impact on the outcome of the game.” Coach Brennan was impressed with a lot of what he saw out there. “Keagan Renaud continued his points streak to three games, Charlie Paquette is finding some confidence in the offensive zone, and Max Frattaroli and Connor Scott stood out with their efforts on D and their transition games in the neutral zone.”
“M.J. Schwager saw his first action in the crease for us this season, playing four of the six periods against Wallaceburg,” said the coach after the game. “He spent the first game getting his crease-legs back and re-establishing the athletic form in net we’ve seen for the past couple seasons. He definitely felt good in game two unleashing an absolutely vicious hit on an unsuspecting Wally player looking for a breakaway pass.” He was happy with Stanley’s play as well. “Marcus Stanley back-ended both games including the come-from-behind victory in game one; he stopped two breakaways in the last three minutes, giving us a chance for the W. The tandem is as formidable a combo as diverse as their individual statures and styles.”
The Peewees are next in action on June 3rd when they travel to Niagara-on-the-Lake for a tournament.