Win over Six Nations Moves Whitby Closer to Playoff Berth
With a convincing 14-5 win over the visiting Six Nations Arrows on Tuesday night, the Warriors move to within sight of a playoff position, but still have work to do.
This coming Friday night they host the Peterborough Lakers. The Lakers are out of contention and can play the role of spoiler with a defeat of the Warriors, as they would look to win the season series and finish 2-0 over the Warriors this year. Currently with only one game remaining, Whitby can reach a maximum of 18 points on the season.
St. Catharines are tied with Whitby at 16 points, also with one game remaining. If St. Catharines and Whitby finished tied in the standings, Whitby would finish ahead based on goal differential in the head to head series, as the each one in the other's arena.
Six Nations sits in eighth place with 12 points, and three games remaining. Facing Mimico, Toronto and KW (in order), the Arrows need to win at least two of those three games, or all three if Whitby and St. Catharines both win their final games. Mimico and Toronto have both won their first games against Six Nations, and are battling one another for home floor advantage in the first round. They will be motivated to win their season series with Six Nations and gain as many points as possible. The task is a large one for Six Nations.
For Whitby to miss the playoffs, Six Nations and St. Catharines have to win all their games, and Whitby needs to lose to Peterborough. The Warriors are on the doorstep of the playoffs, and can walk through the door with a win on Friday night.
Game time is 7:30 at IPSC.
June 19, 2023 Warriors in the middle of a tough part of the schedule
The weekend has been a tough one for the Warriors as lost two games, Friday night at home to the Orangeville Northmen, and tonight on the road in Peterborough. No one has beaten the Northmen this season, so the loss Friday, despite the positive outlook of Head Coach Mitch Wilde, was a lesson in consistency for the younger Warriors. The loss tonight to the now 3-8 Lakers is one the Warriors will want back. As a team in the middle of the standing fighting for a playoff position and home floor advantage in Round One, the Warriors cannot afford to lose to the team sitting below them in the standings.
The loss puts them at 6-7 on the season in fifth place. They welcome the St. Catherines Athletics tomorrow night in Whitby, and will look to repeat their strong performance from their win in St. Catherines last week. As the Warriors continue their search for consistency, the top four spots in the standings are beginning to take shape. Orangeville, Burlington, Oakville, and Mimico are beginning to separate from the rest of the league. If the Warriors want to host a round in the playoffs, they will need to find that consistency sooner rather than later.
Catch the game live Tuesday June 20 @ 7:30 in Whitby.
June 16, 2023 Whitby Faces the Number One Ranked Team in the Nation
Following a well-earned win on the road in St. Catherines on Wednesday night, and facing Orangeville for their third game in four nights, the Warriors are now 6-5 on the season. The road to the playoffs really begins to heat up now as the second half of the schedule gets underway. Head Coach Mitch Wilde, in the his first year in the role (previously an Assistant Coach under Shawn Williams), shared his thoughts on the season so far.
“The season has been a lot of fun. I’m a new Head Coach, so I am learning as much as the players are. Every day is about the growth process. I ask the guys to get better with every opportunity.” In the wake of the Minto Cup win last year and the graduation of so many players, Wilde is most surprised, and impressed, with the number of players who have stepped up into leadership roles. The veterans, whether in the final year, or their second season, have shown they are willing to be the next group who want to guide this group forward. In under five seconds Wilde rattled off the names of players who are the ones taking the reigns from the graduating players of the championship team. “We are facing the strongest team in the league tonight. I see the guys are taking their roles seriously, the team is gelling, and we will see what happens tonight. But I believe we can do it.”
Wilde notes all teams like this will have peaks and valleys in their season, so the goal is to work toward consistency. The focus is to peak in July, then see where the season goes from there. This is a young team but with some depth, and almost half the team was part of the Championship team from a year ago. This group will be the leaders who determine how far the Warriors can go this season.
Game time is 7:30 PM.
June 13, 2022 Brampton holds off Whitby comeback for road win.
The first period started with a bang as the visitors scored with the first offensive possession right off the faceoff. The quick start was short lived however, as the next goal would not come until Whitby scored with five minutes to play in the period.
This was in large part to Brampton’s excellent interior defence, which forced Whitby to take perimeter shots for the majority of the period. Their only goal came off a very nice three-way passing play, finished by Owen tapper off of a cross-crease feed. Ethan Harwood got the start tonight and had plenty to do in the first period, facing numerous quality chances by Brampton. Harwood also had some help from his best friends the goal posts on several occasions.
The first period ended in a flurry with Brampton on the power play, generating several shots on Harwood, but to no avail. They continued their power play into the second frame with :14 seconds to play.
The second period saw the intensity ramp up to a boiling point. Brampton opened the scoring 4:32 into the frame, and continued their intense interior defence to hold the Warriors to no goals until later in the frame. Along the way, the physicality increased with numerous extra slashes, helmet grabs, open floor cross checks well away from the ball, and plenty of talking. Owen Tapper was assessed a four-minute penalty for roughing as a Brampton player completed a fast break breakaway. This pushed the intensity to the next level, as neither teams’ players were backing down. As the period drew to a close, Tapper and Lucas Littlejohn were in the box for Whitby, and Trent Robertson and Riley Delill for Brampton were also serving penalties. After the final whistle Littlejohn and Delill exchanged more words, enough for each to earn 10 minute misconducts. Brampton, along with increased intensity and physicality, also added four more goals to Whitby's one, to end the period with a 5-2 lead.
The third period saw Whitby struggle to get anything going offensively until the last half of the frame. Brampton began to get into penalty trouble, in particular by Captain Riley Delill, and Whitby capitalized with three powerplay markers, but also surrendered two short-handed goals. The last short-handed goal was Dante Kulas' second of the night with :22 seconds remaining while Whitby had a full-floor press in effect. Brampton's Robertson earned himself a 5 minute major for roughing and a 10 minute misconduct for trying to start a fight with Owen Tapper, who refused the invitation. In the third period, Brampton was assessed 45 minutes in penalties, and still came away with a 7-5 victory.
Whitby's next game is Wednesday on the road in St. Catherines, followed by a game Friday night in Whitby against Orangeville at 7:30.
June 12, 2023 Whitby moves back above .500
Whitby improved their season record to 5-4 and jumped up to 4th place in the standings. With the two wins, over KW on June 9 and Six Nations on June 11, the Warriors currently hold a playoff spot with home floor advantage in the first round. At only the mid-way point of the season, there remains a long way to go and things can change quickly. When any organization graduates nine players, especially following a National Championship season, the outlook for the next season can be very questionable as the new players find their roles and the team begins to mature together. To be above .500 at this point would be considered a success so far.
The rest of the schedule is a challenge for the Warriors, however. They have yet to face Orangeville, currently the number 1-ranked team in the nation, as well St. Catherines, and have one game remaining against Burlington, Oakville, and Mimico, all of whom have at least five wins also. The other games of the remaining eleven to go are against teams below Whitby in the standings, Six Nations, two with Peterborough, and Brampton.
The Warriors do not lack for talent, and the journey continues to add experience to that talent. Next game is tomorrow night in Whitby versus Brampton. Game time is 7:30 at Iroquois Park Sports Centre.
June 6, 2023
Warriors earn win over second place Burlington
Riley Knox had four goals and Kaleb Martin made 50 save to lead the Warriors back into the win column over the previously 5-1 Burlington Blaze at IPSC. In what may have been one of the most complete games of the season by the Warriors, they won or tied each period in goals, won each period in shots, and only took one penalty (a bench minor for Too Many Players) the entire game.
This was a tight affair for the first two periods. It took the Warriors almost 12 minutes to score their first goal, then followed that up with a second two and a half minutes later to secure a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Burlington opened the second period with two goals to hold a 3-2 lead halfway through the frame, then would add two late, the second coming with only one second on the clock scored on a solo effort by Owen Tapper. At the end of two periods it was Whitby with a 4-3 lead.
Burlington opened the scoring of the third period just as they did the first period, with a marker within the first 2 minutes of the period. Whitby notched two more, the second being Riley Knox's third of the night and the eventual Game Winning Goal, matched by a Blaze tally, then Whitby would close out the win with three straight goals. The final score: 9-5.
The win moves Whitby to a 3-4 record, after losing to Mimico on the weekend on the road. They now face the winless KW Lacrosse Club, followed by the eighth-place Six Nations Arrows. These are games the Warriors will be looking gain four points from to boost their position in the standings.
The next home game is Tuesday June 13 at 7:30 versus Brampton at Iroquois Park Sports Centre.
May 30, 2023
Whitby uses experience to earn another win
Tonight in Whitby, the experience of a strong defensive core, up-floor pressure to snuff out transition opportunities, and the ability to create offensive opportunities proved too much for a Kitchener-Waterloo team which has a young offensive core of it's own, though was just not able to match Whitby's offensive output.
Whitby put 72 shots on KW netminders Bryce Wismer and Markus Madill. After trading goals early in the game to get to 2-2, Whitby began to pull away and not look back, finishing the game with a 16-7 win to bring their season record to 2-3-0. This was a game which Whitby needed to have a good performance in, as they head in to a couple of games with the 2-2 Mimico Mountaineers, and the 3-0 Burlington Blaze. The middle of the standings, and the playoff picture, may be greatly affected by the outcome of these games.
At the quarter-mark of the season, Whitby has a below-.500 record, but the team stats suggest they should be higher than this. They are +10 goal differential, a respectable 6 power play goals allowed, and an average of 8 penalty minutes per game, which is second only to Beaches for teams who have played at least 4 games. Whitby does need some help on their power play unit, however, as they have the lowest PP goal production in the league. The return of Gabriel Sorichetti and Jack Budway from school commitments may help them in this department going forward.
Whitby travels to Mimico this Saturday, June 3 at 7:00 PM.
May 26, 2023
Brampton get first win of the season in victory over Whitby
Dante Kulas and Bowie Horsman each had seven points tonight in another two-goal game for Brampton, 11-9, this time in victory at the expense of the Warriors. Connor O'Toole faced 54 shots to backstop the home side, while Ethan Harwood is now 1-1 on the season, as he faced 40 shots in the loss.
The final score was essentially the story of the game, in that it was a tight and even affair the entire time. The game was 10-9 for Brampton until an empty-net goal was added by Brampton with seconds to play in regulation time. The teams traded goals through the game, with neither having a lead larger than three goals, and the first period ending with Brampton leading 3-2, while the second ending tied 7-7.
Whitby lost their first third period of the year despite out-shooting Brampton 15-10, and now fall to three losses on the season.
Whitby's next game is Tuesday May 30 at home versus Kitchener-Waterloo at 7:30 PM.
May 26, 2023
Warriors on the road in Brampton
The young season for the Warriors heads into Brampton tonight to take on the Excelsiors, who sit one spot behind the Warriors in the standings, in eighth position. Brampton is 0-2 on the season, having lost game one to the first place Oakville Buzz, and last night to the Toronto Beaches. They lost both games by only two goals, so while Brampton is winless on the year, they are competitive. Whitby may be able to grab a win here if Brampton is yet to find its form and has a good night of its own.
Whitby so far this season is led in scoring by Lucas Littlejohn and rookie Treysen Stewart, but the defence is quietly going about its business with similar efficiency to last season. Despite a 1-2 record, the Warriors are +3 on goal differential on the season, and like last year, have yet to lose a third period. Kaleb Martin has struggled in his two starts in goal, and Ethan Harwood was very solid in his first start. Given Martin's performance in the Minto Cup run last year, his track record would indicate this is a just a slow start for the keeper. Once his performance reaches the level he expects it to be, he and Harwood will be adding even more support to the defence in front of them.
Bowie Horsman and Dante Kulas lead Brampton in scoring so look for them to be active on the score sheet, but also look for the Warriors to perhaps have some power play time. The Excelsiors average four minutes per game on the penalty kill more than do the Warriors, so if the trend continues, Special Teams may be the difference in the outcome of tonight's tilt.
Game time is 8:00 PM at the Brampton Memorial Arena.
May 18, 2023
Warriors Split Season Series with Toronto Beaches
Whitby was perfect through two periods of lacrosse and led 6-0 at the second intermission last night on the road at Toronto Beaches. Ethan Harwood made his first start of the season in goal, finishing with three goals against. Facing 46 shots (against 44 on Toronto's goal), Harwood out-duelled Toronto starter Andrew Kidd, allowing the offence to provide balanced scoring throughout the game with three goals per period. Riley Knox and Treysen Stewart each scored twice, with Lucas Littlejohn, Owen Tapper, Julien Mosier, Jack Oldman and John Wheller adding singles. At the end the end the final was 9-3 for Whitby.
Notes: Mitch Wilde earned his first win as Head Coach with the victory. Warriors next game is at home Tuesday at home versus the Oakville Buzz, start time 7:30 PM.
May 16, 2023
Whitby falls to Toronto Beaches in Season Opener
The opening night of the season for the defending National champs ended with the 2022 Ontario finalists exacting a small measure of revenge. The Toronto Beaches lost last year's Ontario Finals in two straight games, and their Minto Cup Round Robin match up. The season opens with the two temas playing back to back, and Toronto will be looking to ensure they win both. They completed half the task tonight by opening the scoring two-and-a-half minutes into the game and never trailed at any time during the night.
Led by Willem Firth and Greg Palmer with four goals apiece, Toronto relied on timely scoring and solid defence. Backed up by a solid performance in net by Andrew Kidd, Toronto showed balance in all areas of the game. The closest Whitby would get during the match was 5-5 just past the mid way point of the second frame. This was achieved with a quick three goal spurt, answered just as quickly by Toronto four goals to end the period and headed into the second intermission up 9-5.
Kaleb Martin, Whitby's starting netminder, appeared to have some frustrations picking up the shots from Toronto early on. He wasn’t alone in his frustrations, however. Whitby struggled offensively through the first frame. The ball was moving well enough, but Kidd was able to find the shots easily, in part because Whitby was being forced to use the entire shot clock duration. The Warriors trailed 4-2 at the end of the first period.
The third period saw the beaches keep Whitby at arms length. Though they out-scored Toronto 4-2 in the third, the four goal deficit at the start of the period proved too large of a hole to overcome. Final score 11-9 Toronto.
Notes: Whitby rookies Treysen Stewart, Robert Baxter and Ryan Langille all notched their first goals of the season. Lucas Littlejohn, Riley Knox and Jake Darlison provided the other scoring....Jack Budway and Gabriel Sorichetti remain away with school commitments.....Mitch Wilde will seek his first Head Coach win on Thursday night in the back half of the season series.
Note the game is being played at the Pickering Rec Centre not Scarborough Centennial Arena. Address is 1867 Valley Farm Rd, Pickering, ON L1V 6K7
Game time is 8:00 PM May 18
August 29, 2022
Whitby Captures it's Eighth Minto Cup Title!
As would be expected, Game Three was an even tighter defensive battle than Game Two, as both teams had to scrape and claw for every inch of floor space and territory on their way to a thrilling 6-5 final score.
Parker Pipher scored the eventual game and Cup clinching winner with 9:48 to play in the third period, and Edmonton missed a penalty shot with under 30 seconds remaining in the third period to tie the game and potentially force overtime. Brock Haley and Adam Poitras each had three points, Pipher had an assist to go along with his goal, and Whitby got help from depth scoring which they have not seen in some time from Owen Tapper and Jack Budway. Poitras was named the MVP of the tournament after finishing tied for second in tournament scoring with Brock Haley at 29 points in six games.
Defence was the story tonight, and even with the loss in Game 2, Whitby still had not lost a third period since the second game of the first round of the Ontario playoffs. This was a shut-down core of defenders and great team defence.
Congratulations to all the players and staff of the team!
August 28, 2022
Edmonton Wins 9-8 in Overtime to Force a Deciding Game Three
The Edmonton Miners made sure the Whitby faithful went home disappointed that the Minto Cup was not hoisted tonight with what has to be considered their best game of the tournament so far. With a determined display of aggressiveness, formidable defence, solid goaltending from Keegan Melenychuk, and timely scoring, Edmonton gave themselves the chance to hoist the Cup themselves Monday night.
This one was a tense, terse game. The largest leads of the game was Whitby's at 3-1 in the first period and 6-4 in the second. Edmonton bent at times but didn't break, battling back to even the score each time they trailed. Although Whitby still did not lose the third period, they didn't win it either, despite a frantic final 12 seconds of regulation time as they tried for the Cup winning goal following a timeout. As the teams entered the third period tied 6-6, they would trade goals to get to Overtime at 8-8.
The overtime period was Edmonton's best 10 minutes. Their defence prevented Whitby from getting inside on almost every possession, and Melenychuk was able to stop anything shot from the outside. Offensively, the only goal of overtime came just past the 5 minute mark, on a nice spin move off the Whitby check and slick finish to beat Kaleb Martin on the short side. During overtime, one thing which was noticeable was the noise level in the crowd. There wasn't one. Not because the game was boring, but because the fans were so engrossed in the game they didn't make a sound. Coupled with artificial turf naturally absorbing sound off the floor, it was like the game was being played in a library. The tension was palpable and the Edmonton fans could finally exhale as they controlled the ball in the final thirty second after calling a timeout, beat the Whitby press, and managed to run out the clock.
The final game of the 2022 season and the presentation of the Minto Cup starts at 8:00 PM Monday night.
August 27, 2022
Whitby One Win Away From The Title
The Whitby Warriors are within one game of winning the National Championship following a solid performance in all categories, led by goalie Kaleb Martin's 37 saves and Gabriel Sorichetti's five points, and a 12-8 victory. The Warriors are now positioned to close out the Minto Cup with a win tomorrow evening and finish the tournament with a perfect 5-0 record.
For the Edmonton Miners, the task of defeating Whitby became an increased struggle as starting goaltender Keegan Melenychuk allowed five goals in just under fifteen minutes, and was replaced by Jace Simington-Lesanko for the duration of the game. Just as Toronto Beaches' Will Johnston struggled in the Semi-Final game, Melenychuk seemed to have difficulty with Whitby's offence at an inopportune time. For Edmonton, it was only Game One and Melenychuk has been perhaps their best player throughout this tournament. It would seem unlikely, unless he is injured, that he doesn't start tomorrow night and perform at his typically high level.
Whitby led the game in all statistical categories, but perhaps the most important one is rest. The team with the bye into the Finals is 11-4 in those Finals in the last fifteen contests, and the Warriors appeared to be fresher than the Miners. As has been Whitby's signature, certainly in the last half of the regular season and throughout the playoffs, they improve their team defence as each game gets further along. The only third period they have lost during the Ontario Playoffs and Minto Cup Tournament and Finals was Game Two of the opening round of the Ontario playoffs versus St. Catherines. That takes a lot of pressure off their offence knowing the defence, made up of Scott Reed, Kobe Handsor, Ben Macdonnell, Carter Schott, Owen Tapper, Jake Darlison, Peytin Wallace, Jake Doolittle and Michael White can shut down the opponents in high-leverage minutes.
Edmonton has shown they can score in bunches, and Melenychuk has shown he can be a shutout-style goaltender. Can they force a third and deciding Game Three? Get out to the CAA Centre in Brampton or watch online on YouTube or the TSN App to see. Game starts at 7:00PM EST.
August 25, 2022
Edmonton Miners Advance to First Ever Minto Cup Final
A seven-goal run stretching from the first into the second period was the difference in the game as the Miners turned a 3-1 deficit into an 8-3 lead then quickly to a 10-4 lead, and chasing Toronto Beaches starting net minder Will Johnston from the game.
Led by Mathieu Gauthier's nine points and Keegan Melenychuk's 48 saves, the Miners led at the end of all three periods, 4-3 after one, 13-9 after two, and a final score of 20-12 to make history for the Alberta Junior A lacrosse programs. The Miners focused on playing five-on-five lacrosse in the final game of the Round Robin against Victoria, and again tonight against Toronto after having some early penalty troubles in the first two games of the tournament. Showing some excellent ball movement and shooting, coupled with a troubling night for Johnston who had his roughest start of the tournament, Edmonton made the most of their opportunities and once they opened up their lead in the second period they simply kept Toronto at arms length the rest of the way.
Toronto was led in scoring by Willem Firth and Cam Acchione with eight and five points, respectively, and Andrew Kidd stopped 11 of 12 shots in relief in net. The Beaches first visit to the Minto Cup was an excellent one. As the results of the Round Robin games showed, all these teams were so closely matched any of them could be winless or undefeated. For Head Coach Reilly O'Connor and staff, this sets a new bar for the Beaches organization, and they will look to return to the Minto Cup tournament as soon as possible.
The Finals begin Saturday at 7:00 PM EST.
August 24, 2022
Warriors will play for their Eighth Minto Cup Championship
Kaleb Martin made 45 saves on 50 shots, Parker Pipher had a four point night and Player of the Game honours, and the defence shut out the Toronto Beaches in the third period. The Whitby Warriors now have the right to rest for two nights and watch the Semi-Final between the Edmonton Miners and the Toronto Beaches tomorrow night. On Saturday they begin the process of adding to the legacy of this franchise with their first Minto Cup victory since 2013.
With the victory the Warriors are 3-0 in the Round Robin, 6-0 in their last six games going back to Game 5 of the second round of the playoffs, and 11-2 in the Playoffs overall.
The Finals begin Saturday night at 7:00PM, with Game 2 of the Final Sunday at 7:00 PM, and Game 3 on Monday at 8:00 PM if necessary.
August 24, 2022
Minto Cup Playoff Teams Finalized Tonight
The final games of the Round Robin should be the most meaningful games of the Round Robin format at the Minto Cup. This year they set up to be absolute gems. The first four games of the tournament have been nail-biters, with two of the outcomes determined in Overtime, and the other two by one goal differentials. The teams are all so evenly matched the standings could easily be flipped at this point, or all teams could hold the exact same record.
Game #5: Edmonton versus Victoria
As it happens, the Toronto Beaches and the Whitby Warriors have both punched their tickets to at least the Semi-Finals, and await the winner of the Victoria-Edmonton game at 5:00 PM tonight in Game #5 of the tournament. The winner moves onto the Semi-Finals, the loser sees it's Minto Cup hopes end this evening. The motivation level for both sides will be through the roof as both have every right to say they deserve to be in the Semis.
Edmonton has been the front-runner all season in the RMLL posting impressive numbers of a .800 winning percentage in the Regular Season and .888 in the Playoffs, with an 8-1 Playoff record. Victoria also led their Regular and Playoff Seasons, going 11-3 in the Regular Season and 7-4 in the Playoffs. Both squads have the talent and experience to advance to the Semi-Finals, and perhaps win it all, but tonight they have to figure out the other one. Unlike the final Game of the Round Robin between Toronto and Whitby, who have played one another four times already this season, Edmonton and Victoria will be facing one another for the first time, and in a loser-goes-home sweepstakes.
Based on the two games played so far, Special Teams may be the key to the outcome headed into the tilt: Edmonton leads the tournament in penalty minutes with 42, have the lowest Power Play output with two goals, and have allowed the most Short-Handed Goals. If Edmonton can play the majority of the game five-on-five, they may just be playing on Thursday night. Victoria is powered by Casey Wilson and Captain Patrick Dodds who sit third and sixth, respectively, in tournament scoring. If Victoria is to advance, these two have to continue their offensive production.
These two are fighting for their lacrosse lives tonight. This game could give lacrosse fans chills.
Game #6: Toronto versus Whitby
The battle for first place in the Round Robin and the coveted Bye into the Minto Cup Finals will be decided starting at 8:00 PM tonight when The Beaches and the Warriors square off for the fifth time this season. They split the Regular Season series 1-1, with Whitby winning in Overtime in Whitby and Beaches winning in regulation time on their home floor, and Whitby sweeping the Best-of-Three Ontario Final 2-0.
Ontario Finals MVP Adam Poitras continues to roll as he leads the tournament scoring with 13 points, and Brock Haley has 10 points, while the Beaches are led again by Willem Firth and Matt Collison. All four players are averaging at least five points per game. The balance of the rosters, then, are the deciding factors. Jack Oldman has been dominant at the face-off dot for Whitby, and Will Johnston has been excellent in net for Beaches. Lucas Littlejohn has seen his play improve more and more as the playoffs have advanced this summer for Whitby, and David Anderson has added great depth and support scoring for the Beaches.
Nothing gives a team more confidence than to say they beat everyone in the tournament and earned the pass directly to the Final. The extra rest and the right to just watch the Semi-Finals and await their opponent goes to the victor. The losing team plays tomorrow night in the Semi-Final, and their fourth game in four nights. Toronto and Whitby could put on a show tonight.
Get to the CAA Centre in Brampton if you can tonight, or watch live online on YouTube or the TSN App. This could be a special evening of Junior Lacrosse.
August 23, 2022
Warriors win second game of Round Robin play to clinch spot in the Semi-Finals
Tonight the Whitby Warriors moved another step closer to the ultimate goal of securing the Minto Cup with a hard-fought win over the Victoria Shamrocks 11-10 in Regulation Time to secure a berth in at least the Semi-Finals on Thursday night. Whitby is tied with the Toronto Beaches atop the standings, each with perfect 2-0 records. The team with the best Round Robin record gets a bye to the Finals while the second and third place teams battle in a one-game Semi-Final. Whitby can finish no lower than second place in the Round Robin standings, so the play at least on Thursday, but ideally not play at all until Saturday when the Finals begin, as the number one seed.
The score line from each of games one and two show two very evenly matched teams and competitive lacrosse at its best. The overall standings emphasize that point as no one team has separated itself from the pack, nor has one team fallen off the pace of the pack. The differences in the outcomes of the games is the timing of the goals when needed the most. The balance of the teams is immediately noticeable, with the top two teams being only +3 in goal differential, and the bottom two (winless) only -3. Some key points so far further is that only three Short-Handed Goals have been given up by the teams collectively, which means they don't lessen the success of the power play by allowing the penalized team to score. Whitby leads the pack in Power Play efficiency, going 7/12 (.583). Victoria is 4/10 (.400), Beaches 4/11 (.363) and the Miners so far are 2/11 (.181).
Adam Poitras currently leads the Minto scoring race with 13 points, while Will Johnston of Toronto leads goalies with 7.19 Goals Against Average. The final day of the Round Robin play should prove to be spectacular lacrosse. Watch is on Youtube or on the TSN App.
August 3, 2022
Whitby Sweeps Beaches to win Ontario Junior A Title; Poitras named Finals MVP
With a berth in the Minto Cup National Finals already secured by both Whitby and Toronto, the rights to claim the Ontario title were still to be determined. Game One in Pickering on Tuesday night resulted in a Whitby win and offered them the chance to close it out on home floor, and push their season record to 15-1.
The first period saw the home side open up a 3-1 lead by the first intermission with goals by Brock Haley (2) and Adam Poitras (1) for Whitby, and Willem Firth for Toronto. The defences were the stars of the period as both sides were limited in the opportunities and the goal tenders were up to task, so a low scoring opening frame was an expected result.
The second period was a different story. With goals from Whitby's Parker Pipher and Lucas Littlejohn to make it a 5-1 lead, it looked like perhaps this was going to be a one-sided affair. Toronto is not in the Finals by accident, answering Whitby's goals with three of their own, then four more after Whitby scored twice again. In total eleven goals were scored in the period, Whitby starter Kaleb Martin was chased from the game, and Toronto held an 8-7 lead headed into the dressing room.
The final frame saw the return of defence normalcy as the Beaches were held to only one goal, and the four added (one empty-netter) by Whitby's offence was more like the typical Beaches defence of the series and the season.
Adam Poitras was selected as Finals MVP and now looks to continue his playoff form into the Minto Cup Finals in Brampton August 22-29.
July 29, 2022
Whitby defeats Orangeville to Advance in Playoffs
If anyone ever wonders whether fans of Junior A lacrosse are paying attention, tonight in Whitby over 1000 people packed into Pad #1 of IPSC to witness the deciding game of what has been a tremendous series, and over 1000 more watched the live feed online. Despite the fact that Whitby plays host to the Ontario Lacrosse Festival Minor Lacrosse Provincial Championships, many of the spectators tonight had no affiliation with that event, and traveled to Whitby just to watch Game 5.
Whitby has enjoyed a fabulous season on its home floor this year, carrying a record of 14-1 at IPSC into tonight' game, and planned to add to the win column tonight. They opened the scoring early in the first period and added another, playing with poise and emotion and clearly had some momentum going, when a facility issue caused an almost 20 minute delay in the action. For Whitby fans the fear of losing that momentum would have been understandable, but the home side would come out of the delay to add one more before the end of period, while Kaleb Martin and the Whitby defence would throw a shutout at Orangeville and head into the first intermission with a healthy lead.
This series has proven, if anything, that five goal leads are not safe, let alone three goal leads. For the fourth game this series, the home squad built at least a three-goal lead in the first period, with the visitors shut out three times in the same time. Every time the visitor closed the gaps entirely, or at least to within one goal. Tonight Orangeville would do the same thing, though it would take some time.
The Northmen scored quickly to open the second period, then would not score again until the final second of the session. The defences of both squads were the story of the second period, as Whitby was held to only one tally, and Orangeville trailed headed into the second intermission, 4-2.
As befitting this series, Game Five was a tense affair with every possession causing the crowd to hold it's collective breath in anticipation of something special. A goal, a save, a hit, a turnover, a breakaway. There were many Orangeville fans in attendance, and when they finally gained their third goal at the 17:04 mark of the third period, the whole arena edged slightly forward in their seats (for those who could find seats). Five-and-a-half minutes later Whitby scored it's first of three goals in under a minute to make it 7-3. With ten minutes to play Trey Deere made it 7-4 for Whitby, but that would be as close as they would get as Jack Budway and Adam Poitras would add insurance markers to make the final 9-4.
The Whitby Warriors now face the Toronto Beaches in the Ontario Final, with both teams already advancing to the Minto Cup August 22-29 in Brampton. Schedule of the Ontario and Minto Cup Finals will be posted as soon as they are available.
July 25, 2022
Whitby defence dominates at home in Game Three to take a 2-1 Series lead.
As in Game One, the Whitby defence proved to be too much for the Orangeville Northmen, holding them to six goals. The Warriors now are one win away from advancing to the Ontario Finals, and an automatic berth in the Minto Cup Final.
Sunday night the Warriors got down early to the Northmen, and came up one goal shy in a 10-9 loss at Tony Rose Arena. But Iroquois Park Sports Centre has been very friendly to Whitby, who now are 13-1 on the season at home with tonight's 13-6 win. The Whitby defence was led by starter Liam Wright, and while all season long the spotlight has been on Brock Haley and company up front with the offence, the defence has now become a star in it's own right. In nine periods of action, Orangeville has been shut out in three and scored three or less goals in three other periods.
Brock Haley (6 G, 2 A) and Adam Poitras (1 G, 7 A) again led the Whitby attack, and all but three players on tonight's roster registered at least one point. Liam Matthews (0 G, 5A) and Jameson Bucktooth (2 G, 2A) were Orangeville's lead offensive threats, but needed much more help than they received from the remainder of the team to crack the Whitby defence.
The full intensity of the series game to a boil mid-way through the third period as a line-brawl broke out, which ended up including both goalies. Whitby's Jake Darlison has been a thorn in the side of Orangeville all series with hard defence and strong transition play. Darlison plays with an edge, and following a hit on the edge on an Orangeville offensive player following a shot, the other Orangeville players jumped into the fray, and soon everyone had a partner.
The win puts Whitby one win away from the Minto Cup Finals in Brampton later in August. By virtue of being the host province, the two Ontario Finalists gain automatic entry into the Minto Cup Final, regardless of who wins the Ontario Championship.
Game Four goes Wednesday night in Orangeville.
July 22, 2022
Whitby takes Game One of the Ontario Semi-Final
Brock Haley, Kaleb Martin and the Whitby defence were too much for the Orangeville Northman as they posted 10 goals to Orangeville's 5 and took a 1-0 series lead in the Ontario Best-of-Five Semi-Final.
After allowing three goals quickly in the first period, Whitby starting goaltender Liam Wright was replaced by Kaleb Martin, and from then on he and the Whitby defence would allow only two more goals, with all of Orangeville's scoring coming in the first period. Haley would have five goals on the night, with Adam Poitras adding three, to lead the Whitby offence,. Whitby posted five in the first period, and was held to only two in the second frame, then added three more in the third. Two of the those goals would come late from Haley and Poitras to seal the contest.
Game Two goes Sunday evening in Orangeville with Game Three back in Whitby at IPSC.
July 17, 2022
Whitby eliminates St. Catharines in series sweep.
After a tense Game One 12-11 win in St. Catharines, Whitby came home looking to continue their home dominance and go for the series sweep. The Warriors were 9-1 on home floor this regular season, and made it 11-1 after eliminating the Athletics with a 12-10 win.
The second game was never in doubt as Whitby opened quickly and had a 7-2 lead into the intermission. The game was essentially over as they never looked back and just kept scoring, finishing the game 18-5. The Athletics attempted some engagement in fights and altercations with the Warriors, but to no avail as they maintained their discipline and sought to stick to business and finish the game.
Game Three looked like a playoff game with one team facing elimination. All the elements were present as both teams played with pace, focus and intensity. St. Catharines stuck to their game plan of focusing on Brock Haley, trying to neutralize him as well as possible, For Whitby 5-on-4 power plays became 4-on-3 power plays as Haley would stand behind the Athletics net, and St. Catharines would commit a player to stand with him. Athletics' Head Coach Steve Toll felt Whitby would have to beat his squad on the power play without Haley, who would finish the night with one goal and four assists.. Whitby would only score twice in eleven PP opportunities, so the plan worked.
Those two goals, however, would prove to the be turning point in the game. With 13:38 to play in the third period, Athletics' Davis Langelade and Whitby's Tristan Dempers were each assessed Roughing minor penalties as part of an altercation instigated by Langelade and was clearly the aggressor. Dempers maintained enough discipline that Langelade was also assessed a five minute major for roughing and a ten minute unsportsmanlike misconduct penalty. The Athletics trailed 10-7 at that time. By the time the Major penalty was over the score was 12-7 and the Athletics now needed at least five more goals with only 8.5 minutes to play, and still hold Whitby to scoring zero goals. They accomplished the second task, and in outscoring Whitby 3-2 in the third period climbed to the 10 goals they would have needed to tie the game had the penalty not taken place. Whitby managed to keep the Athletics at arms-length, run out the clock, and secure the victory.
The Warriors await their next opponent in the Best of Five Second Round. Their opponent is yet to be determined as two Quarter-Final Rounds still continue. The schedule will be posted as soon as it is available.
July 5, 2022
Whitby falls short in Overtime to Mimico 15-14
The Mimico Mountaineers avenged their home loss to Whitby with a win in Whitby tonight. Carson Moyer netted his fourth goal, and fifth point of the night, with the winner at the 7:41 mark of the OT period on an outside shot which Whitby netminder Liam Wright stopped, mostly. The ball found it's way through Wright and slowly rolled over the line despite the efforts of a diving Ben Macdonnell to retrieve the ball before it found the mesh.
This contest had the potential to be either a defensive gem, or an offensive display. It turned out to be the latter of the two as the the teams would put up 29 goals on the evening, in large part due to the tremendous speed of the game. The constant high pace led to numerous forced turnovers, quick attacks, rebounds and transitions, and scoring opportunities. Led by league leading scorer Finlay Thomson, who would finish with six goals and two assists, Mimico was firing quickly and on target, racking up seven goals to Whitby's four in the first period. Whitby's scoring was led by Brock Haley (5 G, 3 A) and Adam Poitras (1G, 5A). Gabe Sorichetti notched five points on the evening for Whitby.
The Mountaineers netted two more goals in the second, which motivated Whitby Head Coach Shawn Williams to make a goalie change. Starting goaltender Kaleb Martin left after Mimico's ninth goal at the 6:59 mark of the second period. The move seemed to spark the team as they would battle to a tie in the period at five goals each, leaving them trailing by three headed into the final frame.
The third period displayed a tough Whitby defence as they would hold Mimico, who along with having the league leader in scoring is also the team with the most goals scored, to only two goals through the frame. Outscoring Mimico 5-2 in the third, Whitby managed to force overtime with a final goal by Parker Pipher with 2:11 to play and some key stops by Wright in the final minute of the period.
Overtime saw a couple of chances for each side turned away by Wright and Mimico starter Owen Drew, then the eventual winner by Moyer would finish the game.
The loss drops Whitby to six losses on the season, and depending on how their final two games play out, they should remain in the top four of the league headed into the playoffs, securing home floor in the first round. Updates will be provided on the playoff schedule once it becomes available.
July 5, 2022
Whitby in control of their own playoff fate with game tonight
With all the teams having played at least 17 of their scheduled 20 games this season, the final two or three games will decide the final playoff positions as no one has pulled away from the pack, and five teams are within range of the top seed. Tonight in Whitby the first place Mimico Mountaineers visit the third place Warriors in the back half of their season series, which Whitby won on the road in Mimico.
Mimico currently sits atop the standings with 26 points through 17 games. Whitby has 24 through 17, and sits behind Toronto Beaches who have 26 through 18 games played. Whitby has the ability to position itself very well with a win tonight as the remaining schedule after tonight for Whitby are both on the road, in Six Nations and finally in Kitchener-Waterloo. Both of these squads are below .500 and Whitby has defeated both this season.
Mimico's path to first place is by far the most difficult. Facing Whitby tonight, then the Orangeville Northmen (22 points through 17 games) and finally the Oakville Buzz (24 points through 17 games).
Toronto Beaches have the easiest remaining schedule as they face only K-W in a home-at-home finale. With only one win on the season, K-W remains a team in rebuild mode.
The Oakville Buzz face Mimico in their final game of the season, which may be their most important for determining their playoff seeding. They face the two-win Brampton Excelsiors before Mimico, so will be looking to secure those two points before the Mimico tilt.
The Orangeville Northmen are a little bit behind with 22 points in 17 games, and have three remaining games against teams with a record of .500 or better. Theirs is an uphill battle to secure home floor in the first round of the playoffs.
Adding to the intensity of tonight's battle in Whitby is the scoring race as it nears the finish line. Finlay Thomson of Mimico is the current league leader with 106 points. Willem Firth of Beaches is second with 101 and Whitby's Brock Haley is third with 91 points. Adam Poitras of Whitby is fourth in league scoring with 84. Both Poitras and Haley have played fewer games than Thomson or Firth, and with the schedules the way they are, the final results of the league scoring race will be very interesting to watch. Will tonight showcase a battle of offence with Whitby, or will the defences key on these top scorers to prevent any major point accumulations?
After this evening, the playoff picture will be much clearer for one of Mimico and Whitby. Game time is 7:30 Pm at IPSC.