Arrows spot on against Lakers

SIX NATIONS – The Peterborough Lakers are always a good litmos test for any lacrosse team at any level, and if Monday’s annual Bread and Cheese game at the ILA was any indicator, the 2015 Six Nation Arrows Express will be just fine.

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As scheduling would have it, the Arrows season opener was played two weeks after  most of the rest of the league. The suspense and mystery surrounding this years Arrows brought out a large crowd, albeit augmented by a healthy contingent of Laker fans taking advantage of a beautiful Victoria Day to make the trip.

The Arrows bench staff look different indeed with a new head coach, assistant coaches and even team president Lewis Staats told TRT he has no position to be speaking on behalf of the Arrows. Curious, but another story.

This season’s head coach, Patrick Merrill, was very pleased with the Arrows 2015 debut performance.

“I’m pretty happy and grateful to be here,” he said following the game.

Merrill has played 12 years in the NLL mostly with the Toronto Rock and knows the game well at the professional level and what it takes not just to get there, but to stay there.

He is joined this year by Paul Dawson, Bill Greer, Dean Hill with Jake Henhawk in the GM’s role.

“It makes a coaches job that much easier when you have a bench loaded with so much great talent on the floor and great leadership in the room.”

The Arrows on the floor looked well prepared and anxious to get the season started. It did take the first 20 minutes to get their game timing working, but once it set in, the Arrows ball control alone was worth the admission.

Haodais Maracle scored the first Arrows goal of the season from Jordan Durston at 3:34 of the first period. His outside shot was blocked by Lakers goalie Brett Lafonte but it had enough cheese on it to squeeze through and slowly bounce over the goal line.

The teams traded goals to end the first period tied at 3-3. Dallas John and Greg Longboat scored the other Arrows markers.

After probing the Lakers defence throughout the first period and making a few adjustments, the Arrows attacked in the second, out-scoring Peterborough 6-1 to take a 9-4 lead.

In the third period, the Lakers righted the ship to some degree but the arrows explosion in the second did too much damage to recover from as the buzzer sounded to make official the Six Nations Arrows’ 13-7 entry into the 2015 Minto Cup defending season.

“I know we looked pretty week, but they played a good game and maybe we can go with that,” said Lakers coach Matt Giles. He is hoping his younger players will learn from what happened Monday and step it up a bit.

“We have played four games so far but this is the best competition we’ve seen so far,” admits Giles.

After starting the season a little late, they will be a busy team for a while as they catch up in games, beginning with a Thursday night road game to K-W to play the Braves.

This coming Sunday night the Burlington Chiefs come to Six Nations for a 7 pm start.

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