(WINDSOR, ON) – Logan Holmes has had quite the run with the Windsor Clippers Junior B lacrosse club. In his final year of eligibility, the team captain has been on a scoring frenzy.
Averaging more than 7-points-per-game with only two games remaining in the regular season, Holmes leads second place scorer, teammate Andrew Garant, by 28 points. Having already decimated the franchise assist record earlier this season, Holmes took it to another level on Saturday night, surpassing alumni Brett Hickey for both the single season watermark of 127 points and the all-time points lead of 418 on his fifth point of the night against the Point Edward Pacers.
“I think it’s a great personal achievement for Logan and a testament to how far the Windsor program has come breeding very talented young players,” commented Hickey after the game. “Also, it’s a testament to how strong the Clippers program has been. As for Logan, he’s got a great future ahead of him and I think can help pave the way for the generation to follow him. He’s a tremendous kid with a great passion for the game and great work ethic. He’s a leader on and off the floor and I wish him and the Clippers all the best.”
Hickey, a member of the Toronto Rock, played with the AKO Fratmen-Clippers organization from 2006 to 2011. He is one of two alumni currently rostered in the National Lacrosse League. The other NLL-playing alumni is Kellen LeClair, who is with the Calgary Roughnecks.
Holmes seemed to be relieved to reach the achievement, but is keeping things in perspective.
“It feels nice. It’s nice to be a player who’s stayed in Windsor for five years and go for a certain goal,” Holmes explained. “The goal is obviously a championship as a team, but also, for individual goals, it’s nice to be the highest scoring Clipper.”
Holmes entered the season seventh on the all-time list, but has been scoring on a torrid pace the entire season.
“The hard work pays off. I believe I worked hard for that, I’m happy,” he said. “I know Brett personally, so it’s nice to go at it with him. He’s a great player, so it is nice to beat a record that he’s set. It’s a nice accomplishment. I know I put up points last year so it was nice to come back and do the same thing this year; just add on to them.”
The Clippers went right at the Pacers Saturday night. Ryan Marchand and Noah Bushnell scored early on for Windsor, followed later by a shorthanded walk-in by Holmes and a blast from Garant.
Down 4-love, Point Edward’s Korey Conroy cracked the twine behind Clippers’ goalie Brayden Bell midway through. Late in the frame, Patrick Kaschalk found the net to put the lead back to four before the break.
Holmes added 3 assists to his tally, leaving him tied with both of Hickey’s records.
Thirty-one seconds into the second, Dylan Riley snapped the ball past Pacers’ tender Tyler Hastings on a pass from Holmes. The Clippers called a brief timeout, where president and general manager Mike Soulliere presented Holmes with the historic game ball.
Conroy would score again, only 36 seconds later, to shorten the lead to 6-2. On the next possession, Garant, who already had a goal and two assists in the game, blasted Hastings again. This goal represented Garant’s 100th point of the season, the first time he has reached this highly touted milestone.
The Clippers continued the run, getting scoring from Kaschalk, Evan Mihalic, Riley, and Alex Mayhead to put the game pretty firmly out of reach at the second intermission.
The third became a bit of a free-for-all, as Windsor scored 5, to Point Edward’s 3. Marchand, Kaschalk, Garant, Noah Bushnell, and Craig Marentette sniped for the home side, while Blain Adams scored twice and Conroy finished his hat-trick for the Pacers.
Bell stopped 32 of 37 attempts to pick up the win, while Hastings and Cody Haas were blasted with 16 goals on a combined 69 shots.
“It honestly feels great,” Garant exclaimed, after the game, about his 100th point. “I needed four more points, it wasn’t my first priority, but it’s nice to get.”
Garant, a top transition-man for the Clippers, is just finishing his fourth season with the club. The 2016 schedule marks the second consecutive year he has nailed a 30+ goal season.
“I gotta thank all the guys on my team for getting me all those points,” Garant said. “I wouldn’t get 100 points, obviously, without the other four guys on the floor. They gotta get credit for that too, but obviously it was great to get 100 points in a season.”
Windsor also surpassed the 2014 team scoring benchmark of 267 goals on Saturday night. Two nights previously, the Clippers hosted, and obliterated, the London Blue Devils. In a game that was, frankly, difficult to watch, Windsor crushed their foes 25-2.
As of June 13, London had yet to win a game, allowed 20+ goals three times, and been held to under five goals nine times; not to mention being shutout by the Orangeville Northmen. The Blue Devils, a Junior B team only in name, has won just seven times since 2013, their final playoff appearance.
Games against them are generally referred to as stat night due to their regular blowout losses. Due to their location, no one would want to see them go, as the Far West Division would fall to three teams, which really don’t need anymore face-time. But, something needs to give.
The London minor lacrosse system is rich with talent. Where is it going?
It is not that there are no decent players on the Blue Devils but, as a team, they are not meeting the required level of play.
Stat night was led by Holmes, netting four and adding seven helpers. Bushnell, Riley, and Wallace all added four goals each; Garant, Darian Delisle, and Thompson all nabbed 2, while Chase Kavanaugh, James Morgan, and Marentette each nailed singles.
Garret Conquer-VanHeumen and Andrew Hyttenrauch scored London’s goals.
Mike Cameron and Corra split the game for the Clippers, combining 18 saves and 3 assists; Cameron claiming the W.
Owen Dew started in net for London and was replaced by Chris Wood. The duo faced 89 shots.
“Our focus there was to keep doing what were doing,” said coach Kavanaugh after the Sarnia game. “To try not to fall down to that level of play. We were three games away from the playoffs and we’ve been on a bit of a role offensively. If we put up a bunch of goals on them, it is what it is. We can’t worry about their feelings in junior.”
Windsor now looks ahead to their next home game, which will be a battle of 1st versus 2nd, against Orangeville.
“Something’s gotta give,” stated Kavanaugh. “We’re the highest scoring team in the league, they’re the best defensive team in the league. The biggest thing will be to limit mistakes [and] being patient on offense. I’ll put our defense up against theirs any day and I don’t think they have the firepower we have. It’s up to us to get it done. It should be a heck of a game.”
David Falovo made his debut on defense Thursday night, coming to Windsor in a trade with the Welland Generals.
“Just one more veteran guy on the back end,” said the coach. “You can never have enough 21-year-old guys. [Falovo]’s a guy who was the captain for Welland, five years in the league. He’s just steady out there. He’s got a really good stick. He’s always got his stick on guys’ hands. He’s not going to get rattled like a young guy. If you are really going to make a run, you need veteran guys on the back end.”
When asked about the playoffs, Holmes was optimistic.
“We are a strong team this year, so I don’t see us losing to any team in the league three times in a best-of-five series,” he opined. “I think we’re pretty solid. If a team wants to take a game on us, we’ll work on what we need to work on, shape up, and take the series home.”
The Clippers host the Northmen at 7:00pm on Saturday, then wrap up their campaign Sunday in Hamilton.