LAKERS WIN 8-6 TO LEAD MANN CUP SERIES 3-1
For the second night in a row, the Peterborough Lakers depth proved to be too much for the Victoria Shamrocks. The Lakers built up a 5-2 lead in the first period they never relinquished. The win gives Peterborough a three games to one lead in the best of seven series and increases the likelihood they will win their third Mann Cup championship in a row.
The game opened well for Victoria as Chris Wardle scored a power play goal on a quick stick on the crease at 5:23. The lead was short-lived as just 14 seconds later Jake Withers won the draw and drove hard to the net tucking the ball in the corner. Kyle Buchanan put the Lakers ahead (a lead they would never lose) with an outside rocket shot down the middle that flew over the stick side to the top left corner of Victoria goaltender Pete Dubenski. Just over two minutes later, Cory Small scored on the power play unloading a laser shot beating Dubenski high on his glove side. Just 32 seconds later at 12:22, Kyle Buchanan from behind the Shamrocks’ net fed Turner Evans who found the mesh giving the Lakers a 4-1 lead. At 14:23 Casey Jackson scored Victoria’s second goal when he beat Lakers goaltender Mike Poulin on his stick side with an outside shot. Again, the Lakers responded quickly – this time 15 seconds later when Jake Withers came from behind the Shamrocks’ net, cut across the crease and popped the ball in the net. At this point, trailing 5-2, Victoria pulled goaltender Pete Dubenski (he had given up 5 goals on 14 shots). Relief goaltender Cody Hagedorn made a couple of sensational saves before Dubenski returned to the Victoria net with 4:15 left in the period. In a period where there were bodies flying about on every loose ball competition, the Lakers out shot the Shamrocks 19-8 and led 5-2. Peterborough’s defence did a great job containing the frustrated Shamrocks’ offence.
The second period began with Lakers’ Mike Poulin making two huge saves in the first two minutes. Play was a bit scrambly and it appeared that some players were a bit tired as they were dropping catch-able passes. That aside, Peterborough scored their sixth goal of the game as Chad Tutton on a solo effort drove to the net to beat Dubenski. The Lakers made it 7-2 at 8:49 when Mark Matthews free wheeled to the net spinning like a top and snapped the ball on the short side. The Shamrocks scored their third goal at 12:39 when Larson Sundown unleashed an underhand shot down the middle that Poulin was screened upon. Despite closing the margin to 7-3, the frustration of a good portion of the Shamrocks fans was evident as they began chanting, “Ref – you suck” when Steve Priolo was assessed a penalty for roughing off the face-off.
Goaltender Dubenski made a number of solid saves to keep his team in the game. However, at 16:32, Shawn Evans fired a bullet beating the Shamrock goaltender stick side off the hip. Shortly after, Poulin made a huge save off of Chris Wardle to end the period with the Lakers leading 8-3. Peterborough outshot Victoria 17-16 in the period for a 36-24 advantage after two frames.
Trailing by 5 goals after having lost the previous two games, one could wonder - were the Shamrocks finished? The answer - a definite “No”. They did not win the Western Lacrosse Association Championship by quitting. And it showed in their play in the third period wherein they outscored Peterborough 3-0. Less than four minutes into the period, Chris Boushy beat the Lakers Mike Poulin with a shot down the middle on the glove side making the score 8-4. The Shamrocks followed this up with a power play goal at 7:34 as Tyson Gibson scored on the five-hole making the score 8-5. Chris Wardle narrowed the gap even closer with his second goal of the game at 11:40 when he made a nifty shift driving to the net and tucked the ball in the goal on the short side. Game now 8-6 with Victoria having plenty of momentum.
The teams continued to take their turn on offence as the home town crowed cheering the Shamrocks on. Victoria pushed hard to score again and with 2:20 left in the game, Mike Poulin made a huge save during a scramble of activity in front of his net. He repeated the feat with 1:40 left on the clock. Victoria pulled their goalie with 1:06 left, but could not overcome the Lakers lead. Final score of the game was 8-6 Lakers, giving Peterborough a 3-1 lead in the series.
Victoria outshot Peterborough 15-13 in the period (the only period in the series so far), they have done so. Goaltender Cody Hagedorn played the entire third period for Victoria and gave up no goals putting on a solid performance making some tough saves. Total shots at the end of the game were 49-38 for Peterborough (the closest margin of the first four games of the series).
Other significant statistics from the game reveal that Peterborough won 13 of 18 face-offs. The Lakers were 1 for 4 on the powerplay with Victoria going 2 for 4.
Of note, the Lakers Shawn Evans with 3 points tonight, became the second leading scorer in Mann Cup history passing his long-time teammate John Grant Jr. Only the legendary John Tavares is ahead of Evans in total points in Mann Cup play by an individual player.
The question going into Game 5 – Can the Shamrocks come back and win Game 5 to prolong the series? Many observers are suggesting that Cody Hagedorn has earned the right to start Game 5 as he stopped all of the 17 shots he faced.
Without question having to come back and win three straight games to capture the Mann Cup is a formidable task for any team. But all the games have been close. A couple of more big saves, a scoring chance converted, a loose ball battle won can make the difference. It takes four victories to win the Mann Cup. This series requires at least one more game. After that, we shall see.
The game stars:
Peterborough = Kyle Buchanan
Victoria = Steve Priolo
Top Point Players:
Jake Withers – 2 goals
Kyle Buchanan – 1 goal; 3 assists
Shawn Evans – 1 goal; 2 assists
Turner Evans - 1 goal
Corey Small – 1 goal
Mark Matthews – 1 goal
Chad Tutton – 1 goal
Chris Wardle – 2 goals
Casey Jackson – 1 goal; 1 assist
Larsen Sundown – 1 goal
Chris Boushy – 1 goal
Tyson Gibson – 1 goal
The next game of the Mann Cup series is Game 5 to be played on Wednesday, September 11th. Game time is 7:00 p.m. (10:00 p.m. East)