A Monumental Battle Has The Steelhawks Crowned ALL East Champions

by Gary Groob

The Oshawa Outlaws faced the Whitby Steelhawks in the Arena Lacrosse League East finals on Sunday afternoon at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre. 

The Outlaws have been led all year by John St. John, Alec Simons, Gareth Haigh, Chris Attwood and Austin Murphy.   The Steelhawks have been led by Nikolai Farrus, Trent Boyd, Liam Osbourne, Colton Lidstone, Tyler Goodchild and Devon Pipher.   The goaltending has been equally as spectacular with the tandems of Lukas Coote and Kaleb Martin in net for Whitby, and Jackson Brown and Jake Lazore in net for the Outlaws.

Today's goaltending matchup had Jackson Brown in net for Oshawa facing Kaleb Martin in net for the Steelhawks. 

A brilliantly played first half with end to end action throughout.  Both teams had leads, but strong goaltending kept this game close, with Whitby in front 8-6.  Gareth Haigh (4g,4a) led the way for Oshawa with three goals in the half, while Liam Osbourne (5g,1a) had three for Whitby.

The second half was more wide open but just as tightly played by the goalies, who both were sensational in this game.  By the fourth quarter the game was tied 10-10 and could've gone either way.  The Steelhawks strung together a three goal run in just over 4:00 that would be enough to win.  The Outlaws kept fighting until the final buzzer, but Whitby held on for the 14-12 victory.

To The Game:

Oshawa got on the board first with a wrap around from Josh Gilray off a Gareth Haigh pass at 1:05.  Liam Osbourne tied the game for Whitby off a Colton Lidstone pass at 3:14, then scored on a great individual effort going airborne off a Nikolai Farrus feed at 4:12.

While the teams were playing four on four, Gareth Haigh tied the game diving across the crease off a John St. John pass at 7:31, then on the power-play Haigh fired a laser from in close at 8:32 to give the Outlaws the lead.

Whitby tied the game again when Trent Boyd converted a Colton Lidstone pass at 9:46, followed Nikolai Farrus with a quick stick off a Devin Pipher pass at 12:32.

After one quarter, Whitby 4 Oshawa 3.

Second Quarter:

Tyler Goodchild opened the second quarter scoring for the Steelhawks diving across the crease off a Colton Lidstone pass at 2:09.  Gareth Haigh scored his third of the day to bring the Outlaws within one with a low to low shot at 6:21, but Trent Boyd answered for Whitby with a blast off a Tyler Goodchild pass just 0:21 seconds later.

Josh Gilray scored his second of the game for Oshawa to again bring the game within one goal off a Chris Attwood feed at 9:20, but Liam Osbourne gave the Steelhawks a little breathing room with his second of the game off a Devin Pipher pass at 12:21.

With Oshawa on the power-play, Alec Simons converted an Austin Murphy pass to the shortside at 14:24, but the Steelhawks answered with just 0:04 seconds left in the half when Luke Keenan fired a laser that beat Jackson Brown off a Colton Lidstone pass.

At the half, Whitby 8 Oshawa 6.

Third Quarter:

Whitby opened the second half scoring with Colton Lidstone scoring from in close off a Trent Boyd pass at 3:46 to take their first three goal lead of the day.  The Outlaws came back when Alec Simons scored while falling on his back.  He was able to put it five hole off a Josh Gilray pass at 8:51.  

The Outlaws brought the game within one goal when Josh Toguri scored shorthanded off a Zach Tomkinson pass at 13:34, but Whitby answered on the power-play with Liam Osbourne scoring just 0:32 seconds later off a Devin Pipher pass.  Oshawa scored with just 0:01 second left in the quarter.  Gareth Haigh converted a Chris Attwood feed to make it a one goal game heading into the fourth quarter. 

After three quarters, Whitby 10 Oshawa 9.

Fourth Quarter:

End to end action in the fourth with both teams leaving everything on the floor.

Oshawa tied the game with an unbelievable effort from Gareth Haigh who fed Josh Gilray finding the top corner at 4:48, but Devin Pipher regained the lead for the Steelhawks converting a Nikolai Farrus pass at 5:15.  

Pipher increased the Whitby lead off a Trent Boyd pass at 8:22, then capitalized on an Outlaws turnover when Nikolai Farrus converted an Adam Perroni feed at 9:23.

Oshawa kept fighting, and were rewarded with a power-play goal by John St. John off an Austin Murphy pass at 11:33, but Liam Osbourne scored his fifth for Whitby through the five-hole at 13:07.  The Outlaws scored once more when Austin Murphy converted a Josh Toguri pass at 14:58, but the Steelhawks were able to hold on for the victory. 

Final score, Whitby 14 Oshawa 12.

The Three Stars:

1. Liam Osbourne (Whitby)
2. Kaleb Martin (Whitby)
3. Jackson Brown (Oshawa)

The 2023-2024 Arena Lacrosse League East Champions are the Whitby Steelhawks. 

The MVP was Liam Osbourne