Waterloo Region Record
KITCHENER — There certainly is a resemblance to his older brother in his firm handshake and friendly off-floor demeanour.
But Drake Smith is his own man.
A four-year Jr. A lacrosse veteran with the Kitchener-Waterloo Braves, he flirts with his own version of greatness. He is, after all, second in team scoring and a respected team leader.
Although Drake, 20, has been living in his older brother Dhane’s shadow for, well, forever.
Dhane, a former Brave, is now a National Lacrosse League franchise cornerstone with the Buffalo Bandits. Drake wouldn’t mind one bit if he shares that destiny.
“I want to go pro. I hope to go in the draft next year,” said Drake before his Braves surrendered a 10-8 loss to the Whitby Warriors at the Kinsmen Arena on Thursday night.
A couple years ago, Dhane set the Braves’ franchise scoring record, surpassing lacrosse luminaries like Colin Doyle and Ryan Benesch. Dhane was also named the Ontario Lacrosse Association Jr. A loop’s MVP before he moved on.
“He’s left some big footsteps for me to try to walk in,” admitted Drake, a Conestoga College student and Huron Heights grad.
“But Dhane told me to try to step out of his shadow, get my confidence and do my own thing.”
More of a playmaker than his versatile brother, a couple inches shorter and about 10 pounds lighter, Drake collected a goal on Thursday.
He now has 38 points in 13 games, nearly matching his point total from last season in seven fewer games.
But there is still a ways to go.
Braves first-year head coach Chris Driscoll, a former captain for the NLL’s Toronto Rock, doesn’t mince words when he talks about the younger Smith.
“I don’t think (Drake) really understands how good he could be.
“He’s one of those guys who is a really talented player. He just needs to apply himself and he would even be that much better,” explained the coach.
“You either accept (you have a superstar brother). Or you take offence to it. I think he needs to take offence to it and to try to create his own path.”
The Braves trailed 4-1 after one period and 7-4 after two on Thursday. The hosts scratched back to within one goal three times in the third. It was as close as they could get.
Whitby’s Austin Shanks took the league’s scoring lead with a three-point effort on Thursday. He now has 57 points in a dozen games.
For the Braves, Chris Cloutier registered five points, including four goals, giving him the team lead with 40 points.
K-W also got three points apiece from Ryan Willock and Pat Masterson on Thursday.
The Braves have three wins in 13 games this season, good for ninth place in the 11-team loop.
Next action for K-W is Sunday when the Braves visit the league leaders in Six Nations.