|Brandon Miller made 43 saves to lead the Six Nations Chiefs to a 7-4 Game 1 win in the Mann Cup. (Photo: Tim Prothero)|
The Six Nations Chiefs got off to a good start on the defence of their Mann Cup title, beating the Victoria Shamrocks 7-4 in Game 1 Friday night at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena. Brandon Miller was named player of the game for the Chiefs after making 43 saves. Cody Jamieson led the Chiefs with 2 goals and 3 assists. Craig Point and Colin Doyle also had 2 goals each for Six Nations. Dhane Smith had a goal and an assist to lead the Shamrocks and was named their player of the game.
The Shamrocks came out pressuring the Chiefs early and created some good chances but dropped a number of passes when they had found their way inside the Six Nations defence. The Chiefs responded with a string of goals on outside shots to take a 4-1 lead after the first period.
The Chiefs scored twice more to in the second to take a 6-1 lead. The Shamrocks got a power play from Chris Wardle during a five-minute man advantage in the second, but Doyle responded with a shorthanded marker to maintain the Chiefs' lead. Victoria scored the only 2 goals of the third period but the Chiefs held on for the win.
Jamieson said they expect to see a better effort from Victoria as the series progresses. “By no means do we think that was their best game. They had a heck of a season for a reason. We expect them to come out a lot better than they did tonight,” Jamieson said. “I think with the crowd and the [pregame] smoke dance we jumped on them early and we just kept our foot on the pedal. But they won the third period. They got better as the game went on. We're fortunate that we got that big lead at the start. We kind of cruised our way to the end but we've got to be better because we expect them to be better.”
Six Nations coach Rich Kilgour said he didn't mind too much that his team was outshot 47-37. “You don't like getting outshot but after those early looks the D was keeping them to the outside and I wouldn't say they had the highest quality shots. You're going to give up a shot almost every 30 seconds and as long as we limit where they get their looks we'll be alright.”
What Kilgour didn't like was the way his team let the Shamrocks get back into the game in the third period. “We kind of sat back in the third. I really didn't like that. You get someone down you've got to kick 'em and make sure they don't get back up.”
Kilgour also pointed out that the Chiefs lost Game 1 of last year's Mann Cup in Victoria before coming back to win in six games, so the message to his team was that the series is far from over.
On the other side, Victoria forward Rhys Duch said his team needs to handle adversity better than they did in Game 1. “We need to stay a little more positive when things go wrong. We're not used to facing a lot of adversity out west,” Duch said. “We weren't communicating well. We were trying to call plays on the floor when you should know what you're doing when you get out there. I think that just goes with the atmosphere we were creating on the bench. We weren't communicating because we're all frustrated with ourselves or each other.”
Duch said the Shamrocks will take the positives from the game and get ready to play better in Game 2 Saturday night. You can watch all the Mann Cup games via live PPV webcast. Just click on the Webcast Sports link in the right-hand column of this web site and follow the instructions to purchase the games.