Lakers finally get chance to raise Mann Cup banner
Story by Anna Taylor | Photos by Clifford Skarstedt
After 1,113 days away, the Peterborough Century 21 Lakers made a triumphant return to the Memorial Centre on Thursday night, raising their 2019 Mann Cup championship banner and winning 11-9 over the Cobourg Kodiaks.
“It was a great feeling, having our fans there supporting us,” said Lakers star Shawn Evans, “especially for the banner raising. Being back in this arena, after being a child here and growing up … in this building for so many years, it was something special tonight and it was good that we got the win for the fans and for ourselves.”
It was a sigh of relief for the Lakers after the start of the Major Series Lacrosse season was delayed due to a conflict between the league, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, Brampton and Owen Sound.
The Lakers began their season on the road on Sunday, defeating Cobourg 15-11 after weeks of uncertainty about whether the season would go ahead or not.
To finally be back with his teammates made the night extra special for Evans.
“We have a special bond in this room and you can see that over the years,” he said. “To see our buddies and play with [them] and have some fun and throw that ball around in front of our families and friends… it was a great memory.”
Evans had two goals and three assists. Thomas Hoggarth led the team with four goals.
“Hoggarth and Evans work well together, especially at home,” said head coach Mike Hasen. "They feed off the crowd.”
Hoggarth scored twice in the opening frame as the Lakers led 2-1 after 20 minutes. His hat trick goal came 49 seconds into the second period.
“I was seeing the ball well,” he said. “Playing with Shawny again is a good feeling. Our offence is buzzing. I know we don’t have all our defence but other guys have stepped up.”
The Kodiaks tied the game 3-3 before the Lakers rattled off three in a row from Holden Cattoni, Evans on a power play and Kiel Matisz shorthanded. Cam Milligan and Evans traded goals before the period was out. The Lakers led 7-4 heading into the third.
Mark Matthews started off the third period with a laser. Hoggarth followed that up by accepting a pass from Evans and slipping it underhand past Kodiaks’ goaltender Steve Orleman. Cobourg responded with a four-goal run highlighted by Colton Armstrong’s third transition break of the game.
Cobourg was within a goal until Austin Hasen ripped a shot in, followed by a goal from Turner Evans, who tucked the ball overtop of Orleman.
The Lakers missed their usual face-off unit of Jake Withers, Robert Hope and Kyle Buchanan, winning just three of 19 faceoffs. Hope and Buchanan are playing against each other in the NLL final, while Withers is currently playing in the Premier Lacrosse League.
“We’re going to do it a little bit by committee for now,” said Hasen, but he did admit that the team is looking at some new players to possibly bring in to shore up the position. He credited Cobourg face-off man Ryan Haigh with a good game.
Hasen also praised the senior B call-ups that joined the Lakers’ defence, including Cam Crowe, Ryley Martinell, Dalton Hill and Mitch Ogilvie.
“They were physical, in the right lanes and doing the right things,” he said.
The Lakers do not know yet when their next game will occur as the MSL is finalizing new dates.
NOTES: Ted Higgins, whose singing voice has been weakened by Parkinson’s disease, wasn’t planning on singing the national anthem live, as has been tradition at the Lakers’ home opener. However, the audio of a past performance did not play at the Memorial Centre, so Higgins sang anyway, helped along by the crowd.... Corey Small left the game in the first period after getting caught in the turf and limping off the floor. Mike Hasen said Small will be evaluated but he doesn’t think it’s anything serious.