Friday, August 15, 2014

Lakers take opening game of MSL finals 9-7 behind Grant's 7-point night

John Grant Jr. had 7 points to lead the Lakers to a 9-7 Game 1 win in the MSL finals. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
The Peterborough Lakers drew first blood in the Major Series Lacrosse finals, downing the Six Nations Chiefs in a fast-paced and well-played opening game at the Peterborough Memorial Centre Thursday night. The game went back and forth throughout, with neither team taking more than a one-goal lead. John Grant Jr. led the way for Peterborough with 3 goals and 4 assists. Shawn Evans added a goal and 4 assists and Chad Culp a pair of goals, including the game-winner, and an assist. Vaughn Harris posted a hat trick for the Chiefs and Cody Jamieson added 2 goals and 2 assists. Matt Vinc made 49 saves to earn the win as the Chiefs outshot the Lakers 56-40.

Evans started the scoring 2:06 into the game. Colin Boucher tied it up on a breakout with Jesse Gamble at 10:20 and Harris gave the Chiefs what would be their only lead of the game 14 seconds later. Grant scored all three of his goals in the rest of the first period as the Lakers headed to the break up 4-3. 

All the scoring in the second period took place in its first four minutes. Harris tied it up 30 seconds in. Stephen Hoar's holding call 1:53 in was the first penalty of the game and both teams scored on it. Brad Self took a pass from Andrew Suitor for a shorthanded marker then Jamieson notched a power play goal. Matt Crough restored the Lakers' lead just 20 second later when he took a perfect pass from Grant in traffic on top of the crease and tucked it past Evan Kirk

Gamble tied things up again, at 6-6, when he broke away to score unassisted 1:23 into the third period. Culp and Harris traded goals to make it 7-7 before the Chiefs took a too many men penalty to give the Lakers their only power play of the game. Peterborough took advantage of it. Culp took a pass from Grant near the goal line, fired a cross-crease pass to Evans then bounced home the return pass on a quick stick for what would prove to be the winner. 

Mark Steenhuis added an insurance with a little under five minutes to play. The Lakers combined strong defence, great goaltending from Vinc and the help of a few posts to hold on for the 9-7 win.