Lakers defeat Excelsiors 13-8
Lakers Back on Winning Track
The Peterborough Century 21 Lakers are back in the win column after a 13-8 victory over the Brampton Excelsiors on Thursday night at the Evinrude Centre. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the club, something they hadn’t experienced since 2015.
They are now tied with Six Nations and Cobourg at the top of the standings with 10 points each but sit in third place due to goal differential. They have a chance to gain ground over the second place Kodiaks this week with meetings against them Sunday and next Thursday.
“I think we accomplished what we wanted to tonight,” said veteran defenseman Bryce Sweeting. “Every game, every period, every five minutes we break it down. I think we’re heading in the right direction. It was a good full 60 minutes from us tonight: our D helped the O get the ball up and our offense helped the reverse transition.”
The Lakers were getting on and off the floor faster which limited the Excelsiors’ transition attempts, and in fact, the turning point of the game was Matt Vinc’s third period stop on one of the few opposing transition attempts. The Lakers’ offense showed a renewed enthusiasm with the addition of rookie Ethan Walker and the return of Joe Resetarits, who had missed the past three games.
“We scored nine five-on-five goals and that’s the way we want to play as an O. We only gave up two transition goals so that’s a win for us,” said Josh Currier. “We’ve been giving up way too much in in transition so the coaches are happy and we’re happy.”
Brampton scored quickly and fans held their breath, fearing the worst early, but less than a minute later Josh Currier fought off a double-team to feed the ball to Turner Evans who was waiting for the quick-stick opportunity at the side of the net. Brampton came back with a pair for a 3-1 lead halfway through the period but the Lakers shut them down after that.
Shawn Evans skipped the ball five-hole before feeding Currier who had a quick-stick of his own which tied the game at 3. Jake Withers then scooped up a loose ball and with Robert Hope running interference down the floor, bounced the ball past Excels’ goaltender Nolan Clayton to give the Lakers a 4-3 lead after the first.
“Everyone was pulling in the right direction, doing the little things,” Sweeting said. “That starts with our effort. [We can’t come] in as back-to-back champs just thinking we’re going to win every night. There’s a lot of good teams now in this league and as tonight showed every game is going to be a battle so you have to show up and want it more than the other team.”
Cory Vitarelli capitalized on a power play 33 seconds into the second. Joe Resetarits then blew the game open, scoring back-to-back goals to up the lead to 7-3. The Excelsiors’ then sandwiched Sweeting’s first goal of the season but the Lakers still lead 8-5 after 40 minutes. Sweeting placed himself right in front of Clayton and buried Chad Tutton’s backhand pass.
“It was a broken play. Tuts (Chad Tutton) tried to feed the offense coming out the front door, but it was broken up and bounced back to him. I was wide open out front and made no mistake, I guess,” Sweeting chuckled.
Peterborough outscored Brampton 5-3 in the final period. After Vinc stoned Dylan Evans on a fast break, Josh Currier stretched across the crease to beat Clayton far-side on the Lakers’ next possession. Ethan Walker scored 44 seconds later, dodging around a defender, to complete the three-goal swing. Instead of allowing the Excelsiors to close the gap to 8-7, the Lakers opened up a 10-6 lead.
Walker’s goal came in his first game with the senior Lakers. The standout Jr. Lakers’ graduate just finished his junior year at the University of Denver. He was the only graduating junior that the Lakers protected.
“It feels pretty good to get that first one,” Walker said. “It took three periods to get it but it feels pretty good, it’s getting the monkey off your back. It’s great to get one in front of a crowd that supports us so much and to get to play with the Lakers who I grew up my whole life watching is something special so I’ll cherish it.”
Corey Small was a healthy scratch to make room for Walker on the Lakers’ left side. When everyone is available, the coaches have tough decisions to make with such a deep roster. Walker felt he fit in well, a thought that was echoed by his teammates.
“Our offense flows as if we’ve played together for years. I know it was only my first game playing with them but we’re going out there and being playmakers, working together as a unit out there on the offensive end so I think that was beneficial for us tonight,” Walker said. “The thing for me is I don’t have any real expectations, I just want to do my part, help the team the best way I can.”
Walker said the team was bolstered by a crowd of kids in the crowd starting “Go Lakers” Go chants. Later in the frame, Vitarelli scored his second goal of the game and both Resetarits and Currier completed hat tricks.
“Coming off of two losses we weren’t happy with it, nor were we okay with it either, so it was good to bounce back. Everyone was firing. It was good to see a team win,” Currier said.
It was a good start to a busy week for the Lakers. After a full week of rest, the coming week sees the Lakers in Cobourg Sunday to face the Kodiaks and Whitby on Wednesday to face the Brooklin Lacrosse Club before hosting the Kodiaks on Thursday at the Evinrude Centre.
“We’ll get some fluids into us and get ready for Cobourg,” Sweeting said. “We owe them one so we’ll gear up for that and head down 28. We have no more games left to adjust, we just have to come out and play.”
Scoring for the Lakers:
Joe Resetarits (3-2)
Josh Currier (3-1)
Cory Vitarelli (2-1)
Shawn Evans (1-7)
Turner Evans (1-0)
Jake Withers (1-0)
Bryce Sweeting (1-0)
Ethan Walker (1-0)
Kyle Buchanan (0-3)
Holden Cattoni (0-2)
Thomas Hoggarth (0-1)
Chad Tutton (0-1)
Matt Gilray (0-1)
(Story compiled by Anna Taylor - Peterborough Lakers Media)