|Billy Dee Smith checks Turner Evans during Six Nations' 7-6 Game 3 win in the MSL finals. (Photo: Six Nations Chiefs)|
The Six Nations Chiefs did what they needed to do, edging the Peterborough Lakers 7-6 in Game 3 for their first win of the 2015 Major Series Lacrosse championship series Friday. Stephen Keogh scored the winning goal just past the midway point in the third period of a game that reverted to a defensive struggle like Game 1 after the Lakers had beaten the Chiefs 18-14 in Thursday night's Game 2 shootout.
Dhane Smith had a hat trick, Randy Staats 2 goals and an assist Colin Doyle 4 assists for the Chiefs. Curtis Dickson had 2 sensational shorthanded goals and an assist for Peterborough and Shawn Evans chipped in a pair of goals.
Both goalies were excellent. Brandon Miller made 29 saves on 35 shots for Six Nations and Peterborough's Evan Kirk stopped 33 of the 40 shots he faced.
Miller said he was focused on the basics after struggling when he replaced Dillon Ward in Game 2. “I just tried to come in with a fresh start, see the ball and react,” Miller said. “If you're worried about that Dickson kid, who's something else, and this Evans that someone tells me about...if you're worried about where those guys are going to shoot you'll get beat, because they go everywhere. So it's just get back to seeing the ball and trying to react.”
As a team, Miller said the Chiefs recognized they had to put in a stronger effort after losing the first two games. “Desperation, just a compete,” Miller said of the difference in Game 3. “You watch last night, I saw some of the highlights, Peterborough just wanted it more. It was evident. Tonight, it was backs against the wall time, time for us to want it a little more and I think we matched them.”
The two-time defending Mann Cup champions got out to an early lead for the third straight game when Smith scored 1:28 in. Evans and Chad Culp put Peterborough in front but a pair of Randy Staats goals returned the Chiefs to the lead. The first of Staats' goals was a beauty. He spun to catch a breakout pass from Rob Marshall with his back to the Peterborough crease, spun the rest of the way and tucked the ball home for a shorthanded marker.
Each team scored twice in the second period. Six Nations started the third on a power play and took advantage to stretch their lead to 6-4 when Smith scored 25 seconds in. Peterborough fought back, getting goals from Dickson and Adam Jones to tie it up before the midway mark of the period.
Then at 10:26 Keogh connected to put the Chiefs ahead and they were able to make the slim lead hold up to pull within 2-1 in the series.
Kirk pointed out no one figured they'd be ahead 3-0 at this point in the series so they're not going to hang their heads about being up 2-1. Asked about the key moments that allowed Six Nations to win the game, Kirk said, “Personally, I think it was the fifth goal for Dhane Smith and the seventh goal for Keogh. That's the thing, these teams are so good it's a couple of letdowns. A little mistake costs us a goal and it's a one or two goal game. It's tough, it's tight.”
The teams get a day off before resuming the series Sunday night in Peterborough with a 7 pm ET start. You can watch the game live via JVI Sports Network webcast (or go back and watch any of the games in their archives).