(WALLACEBURG, ON) – The Windsor Clippers and Wallaceburg Red Devils Junior B lacrosse teams finished the regular season in a dead heat. A single, final win by the Clippers head-to-head, ended up being the difference in the chase for the regular season division title. But, the two teams seem to be unable to part ways since, drawing each other in the first round of the playoffs.
Despite winning the Far West Division title, Windsor has not won a game at the Wallaceburg Memorial Arena this season. After a tie in the Red Devils’ barn to start the year, the Clippers have suffered a pair of ugly losses since. But it goes both ways.
Wallaceburg is also winless in Windsor, with one of those games reaching the level of embarrassing.
After the first two games of their best-of-five series, Windsor and Wallaceburg are locked at a game apiece. Most recently, the Red Devils hosted the Clippers on Saturday and blasted them 17-11.
The Clippers fell victim to breakaway after breakaway after breakaway. Wallaceburg seemed able to place runners in the right places for the stretch pass and fast-break throughout the game.
These breakaways befuddled Windsor’s transition all night and left their young goalie tandem of Joel Evans and Liam Tomes alone to fend for themselves.
For the Clippers, Chase Kavanaugh, James Morgan, captain Andrew Garant, Noah Bushnell, and Brayden Mayea each ripped twine twice, while Blain Wallace added a single. In net, Evans took the loss, coming in to relieve Tomes in the second and allowing 9 on 33 shots in 40 minutes of play. Tomes stopped 11 of 19.
The Red Devils were masters in their own domain, feeding off their boisterous home crowd. Leading by as many as eight goals, Wallaceburg cruised to the win, even as veteran goalie Noble Jacobs faced 50 shots from the Clippers.
Kyle Dawson and Sidney Powless led the way for the Red Devils with four goals each, followed by Corey Lucier and Parker Gilhuly, each with a hat-trick, and singles from Vern Hill, Carter Hastings, and Evan Mathany.
The series is far from over, however.
With the five-game set tied, it now comes down to a best of three and tonight’s game is pivotal.
“We’ve got to play our game,” said Garant. “I feel like we haven’t played our best lacrosse yet this series and we’re lucky enough it’s 1-1, so we got to come out and be ready. We know they are bringing a fan bus. It’s gonna be loud in there and hot. I just want the boys to relax, but play hard this game. [It’s] the biggest game of the year for us so far.”
The Clippers’ captain wants his players to focus on the little things.
“We’ve got to be hard on loose balls and be smarter,” said Garant. “We know we can beat these guys but, I find, we need to win the little battles to win.”
Game 3 is in Windsor tonight at Forest Glade Arena. Game time is 8pm.