Monday, June 17, 2013

Peterborough Lakers move atop Major Series Lacrosse standings with 8-5 win over Brampton Excelsiors

Mark Steenhuis had two goals and an assist to help lead the
Peterborough Lakers to an 8-5 win over Brampton. 
(Photo: Tim Prothero) 

The Peterborough Lakers took over the points lead in Major Series Lacrosse with an 8-5 win over the Brampton Excelsiors Sunday night. Brampton shut the Lakers out for the first 19:25 of the opening period and controlled play for most of that 20 minutes. Momentum swung in Peterborough's favour when they connected for a goal just before the shot clock expired. Mark Farthing threw a floor-length pass to Matt Crough, who had to reach down below his knee to catch it on top of the crease and immediately whipped a behind the back shot past Anthony Cosmo in the Brampton goal.

The Lakers took control in the second period and scored the frame's first three goals, including two in the first three and a half minutes. The Excelsiors refused to go away, though, and when Joe Resetarits scored late in the period, they pulled to within a goal at 4-3, which was the score after 40 minutes.

Scott Evans connected a long-distance bomb just 25 seconds into the third period to stretch Peterborough's lead, but when Shane Scott and Resetarits each buried their second of the game, it was all tied up at 5-5.

Both goaltenders were great in the game. Cosmo stopped 42 of the 49 shots he faced, including several spectacular saves and plenty where he was just perfectly positioned. At the other end, Kurtis Wagar came on in relief after Tyler Carlson gave up two goals on the first four shots he faced and appeared to have hurt his left leg. Wagar made a sharp shoulder save on the first shot he faced and just kept rolling, making 39 saves on 42 shots.

Something had to give at some point, though, and what proved to be the game-winning goal came at 8:26 while the Lakers were shorthanded. Crouch didn't get a point on the play, but he was the catalyst that made it possible. He ragged the ball into the corner and was surrounded by three Brampton players plus eventually Cosmo as Crough drifted behind the net fighting to get and then regain control of the ball. The ball eventually popped out to Pat Saunders, who flicked it to Shawn Evans, who in turn ripped a cross-floor pass to Josh Gillam. Gillam threw a few fakes as he tip-toed the crease line perfectly, then slammed the ball home.

Mark Steenhuis extended the lead when he buried a breakaway chance after receiving a perfect lob pass from Brad Self, scoring with 1:30 to play. Crough rounded out the scoring with an empty netter.

Lakers' Assistant Coach Joe Sullivan said Peterborough was glad to get the two points, but was concerned that “We started to play lacrosse when we had to, which is something that we want to get away from. We want to play consistently for the entire game and not turn it on when we have to because in tight games that's tough to do. To create the consistency is what we're trying to do here.”

Sullivan pointed out that, while it's good to allow only 5 goals, “For us to not box out and do the small things that sometimes win you those tough games is what we need to work on. We didn't do that consistently enough. They only got 5 goals and that's a credit to our goaltending and our offence was able to put them away, but still some issues to work on.”

Brampton Head Coach Clem D'Orazio admitted that being short a runner to start the game and then losing newly signed defender John Rae (who had a very strong game in his first outing with the team) midway through the second period made it tough for them to keep pace in the third. “It's huge,” D'Orazio said of Peterborough having an extra couple sets of legs. “It gives you an extra push in the third period to push the ball up the floor or have guys chasing transition where they were able to push moreso in the third.”

D'Orazio said he was pleased with the effort his team put out, even though he was disappointed in the result. “Effort hasn't been a problem with this team all year. We're consistently happy with that and we're going to stay happy with that cause there's a lot of character guys in that room.”