Shawn Evans had 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists) in
Peterborough's comeback win over Oakville Thursday.
(Photo: Tim Prothero)
The Peterborough Lakers dug themselves out of 7-1 and 12-9 holes to earn a 13-12 win over Oakville in a game that was almost an historic first for the Rock. It would have marked the first time they had beaten Peterborough since joining the league as the Ajax Rock in 2010. They looked like they had a great chance when they jumped out to a 3-0 lead after a first period in which Tye Belanger turned aside all 23 shots he faced, then added 4 of the first 5 goals in the second period.
With Oakville up 6-1, the Lakers felt that Eric Pitre got away with a slash that dropped Josh Gillam to the ground. The Lakers' Mike Thomas immediately went after Pitre and the two fought, leading to fighting majors and game misconducts for both and an extra 5-minute instigator major for Thomas.
Connor Daly connected on the ensuing power play to stretch Oakville's lead to six, but it was while killing that penalty that Mark Farthing got the Lakers started on a roll that pulled them almost all the way back into the game. Farthing grabbed the ball in his own end and burned up the floor after a quick peak towards the bench to see if anyone was coming out to get a breakout pass. He swooped in on Belanger and buried a goal at 12:10 that ignited the crowd of just under 3,000 and seemed to give the Lakers some life. After that, Shawn and Scott Evans alternated on four goals that made it 7-6 for Oakville heading into the second intermission.
“I knew there'd be an opportunity to push the ball up the floor,” Farthing said. “Obviously, we've got a lot of really good players coming out the front door, so being a D guy when I get the ball the first thing I do I'm looking to the bench, but I got an opportunity and I went in and luckily it went in.”
Farthing was quick to deflect a lot of credit to Thomas, who will have to sit out the next game as he receives an automatic one-game suspension for the instigator penalty. “Mike Thomas gave us a big spark just before [my goal],” Farthing said. “He manned up and dropped the gloves for the team and I think that really got the boys going and got guys into it. I'm glad I could chip in and the guys got rolling after that.”
It was far from a done deal that the Lakers' comeback would be successful, though. Oakville got the first three goals of the third, including a pair from Stephan Leblanc, who would up with 4 goals on the night, and they led 10-6. Leblanc's also scored the Rock's final goal, at 13:15, giving them a 12-9 edge.
From there, Shawn Evans played a huge role. He scored a goal and added 3 assists as the Lakers scored four times in four minutes to pull out the win. Evans finished the night with 3 goals and 6 assists, extending his lead atop the league's scoring race with a total of 52 points. His 39 assists are more than anyone else has points.
Scott Evans was also big for the Lakers, scoring 4 goals—all on rockets from outside. He now leads the league with 18 goals on the season. Cory Vitarelli pitched in with a hat trick, Gillam had 5 assists and Mark Steenhuis had 3 assists plus the winning goal.
Oakville assistant coach Blaine Manning said he's proud of the effort his team put out, playing much better than they did in a 13-5 loss to the Lakers on Monday, but that it's tough to keep taking losses in close games. “It's happened three out of four games where we're losing one-goal games and that's the difference between winning and losing in championship games like they are. They found a way,” Manning said.
He added that when the Lakers got rolling in the third period, “We just let little Shawnie [Evans] dictate the play and he's a very good passer and we gave him some passing lanes that we know better and he took advantage. Their offence scored when they needed to. They're little things that are correctible. As long as we have the effort like that going forward we'll be fine.”
In addition to Leblanc, Kyle Aquin (3 goals, 3 assists) and AJ Masson (2g, 2a) each had big nights for the Rock. Connor Daly also potted a pair of goals.
Kurtis Wagar earned the win in net for the Lakers. He replaced starter Tyler Carlson, who was pulled after Oakville's fifth goal. Peterborough outshot the Rock 56-44. Each team went 2 for 4 on the power play and each had a shorthanded goal.
Peterborough is back in action Sunday when they face the Excelsiors in Brampton at 7 pm. Oakville's next game in in Brooklin against the Redmen next Wednesday at 8 pm.