Thursday, September 12, 2013

Doyle dons the goalie pads for final 11 minutes of strange 11-7 Six Nations Chiefs win in Game 5 of Mann Cup

Cody Jamieson fought through swarming Shamrocks defence to have a 
9-point night as the Chiefs won Game 5 11-7 to take a 3-2 lead in the
2013 Mann Cup. (Photo: Kevin Light)

Colin Doyle has done a lot of things in his long and illustrious lacrosse career, but until Wednesday night playing goalie in the Mann Cup was not one of them. That all changed when both Brandon Miller and Evan Kirk were ejected for having shin pads a little too wide in the third period of Game 5. Doyle made six saves on nine shots and even earned an assist while playing net as the Six Nations Chiefs held on for an 11-7 win to take a 3-2 lead over the Victoria Shamrocks in the best of seven Canadian senior lacrosse championship series.

Lost to an extent amid the weirdness of Doyle having to go in and play net was another huge night from Cody Jamieson, who had 3 goals and 6 assists to lead all scorers. Stephen Keogh was also instrumental in the Chiefs win. He scored 3 goals, all of them huge ones in the third period.

The Chiefs led 3-2 after the first period thanks to a Johnny Powless goal with 27 seconds to play. Powless then got the first goal of the second period, but it wasn't until the 9:32 mark as both goaltenders, Miller and Matt Vinc, were outstanding. Another late-period goal gave Six Nations a 7-4 lead heading into the second intermission. This time it was Doyle connecting with less than a second to go when he took a pass from Jamieson, who was cutting across the top of the zone to where he had scored the previous goal exactly two minutes earlier, and tucked a shot between the post and Vinc's foot.

When the teams returned for the third period, Victoria asked for a measurement on Miller before play even began. While Six Nations was shorthanded for the ensuing illegal equipment penalty, Keogh fought his way through a pair of defenders and buried a shorthanded goal to extend the lead. Just 14 seconds after that penalty expired, Tom Montour snagged the ball from a rebound off the back boards and put home the goal that seemed to put the game out of reach at 9-4.

After they couldn't score for the next half dozen minutes, Victoria went back to the goalie measurement ploy and it worked for them again. Kirk's shin pads were also found to be a bit too wide and he was tossed from the game. While Kirk was off being measured, Doyle had run down into the Chiefs dressing room to start putting on Miller's equipment.

“It's a just in case thing,” Doyle said of starting to don the gear while Kirk was still in the measurement room. “My understanding was that we only had five minutes to get another goalie ready. I figured I'll go and get the stuff on and if he comes back clean, then I'll take it off. If he's in trouble, then I've got to get ready to go, I've got to talk to the man short, what are we doing. So I just went back and got it on and as it turned out we had a bit more time but I didn't know that at the time.”

Mitch Jones, Rhys Duch and Jeff Shattler all scored on Doyle in a two and a half minute stretch starting during the power play for Kirk's illegal equipment call. It looked like the Shamrocks had a chance to get back into the game, having drawn within 2 goals at 9-7 with Doyle in the net and seven minutes to play.

The Chiefs' defence stepped up in a big way, though, taking away shooting opportunities and even blocking a number of shots with their bodies. Rory Smith in particular looked like a hockey defenceman going down to block shots. Doyle heaped praise upon the defence for their effort. He also singled out Keogh, who took the offence on his shoulders and made a pair of enormous plays.

He drove to the net and got off a shot that hit Victoria goalie Matt Vinc, hit the post, bounced on the concrete near the goal line but went away from the net, then bounced and spun back into the goal before bouncing back outside the line. The ball was clearly over the goal line, though, and stretched the Six Nations lead to three.

Just over a minute later, Doyle looked to be in trouble after he made a save but all the Chiefs near him were covered tightly by Victoria players. Johnny Powless raced back into his own zone and fought off a check to grab a bounce pass from Doyle, who knew he couldn't really throw accurate passes with the goalie stick. Powless threw the ball to Keogh over by the boards in the offensive zone and Keogh went to work again. He fought his way through a couple of defenders, lowered his shoulder to bull his way towards the net, stepped back and skipped a low shot past Vinc to make the lead 11-7.

Asked if the win gives his team momentum heading into Game 6, Doyle said “I like to think we have the momentum, but again if you come out and lay an egg in the first period on Friday that momentum is gone really quickly. We've got to keep our wits about us, come out hard and keep to our work ethic and come out ready to play on Friday.”

As for what he thinks of his stint between the pipes, Doyle said, “When this thing's all over and I have a chance to look back at it I think I'll be like, man, that was neat. Right now, I'm just beside myself. I'll look back at that very fondly. Especially if we're lucky enough to go on and win this, I'll be very proud of that effort. But I can't compliment the guys enough for what they did.”

For more coverage of Game 5 and the Mann Cup as a whole, go to IL Indoor and the Mann Cup web site. Game 6 goes Friday night at 7pm PT/10pm ET.