Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Lakers even up Mann Cup with 8-6 win behind 4 Curtis Dickson goals

Curtis Dickson went around and through Shamrocks defenders for 4 goals to lead Peterborough to an 8-6 Game 4 win at the Mann Cup. He was named Peterborough's player of the game. (Photo: Kevin Light Photography)

The Peterborough Lakers have shown the ability to bounce back before, so it should come as no surprise that they rebounded from a dismal Game 3 defeat to down the Victoria Shamrocks 8-6 in Game 4 of the 2015 Mann Cup Tuesday to even up the series at two games apiece.

As has been their habit in the playoffs this year, the Lakers surrendered the first goal early in the first period. This time it was Rhys Duch connecting on an outside shot at 1:55 of the opening period. The scoring was spread out but the Lakers responded with a goal each of the five times the Shamrocks took the lead.

Scott Evans stepped back into the Peterborough lineup after being a healthy scratch for the last two games and he contributed some valuable work banging around in the offensive zone as well as chipping in with the Lakers' second goal and an assist. Curtis Dickson was the offensive star for the Lakers, though, scoring 4 goals and adding an assist after getting just a single assist before being kicked out of Game 3.

The Lakers didn't take a lead until the 18:37 mark of the second period when Mark Steenhuis put them up 6-5. The next goal was a critical one and nobody could find it for eight and a half minutes. It took a spectacular effort from Dickson to make it happen. He drove hard to the net and was eventually touched by each of the five Shamrocks defenders by the time he fired the ball past Aaron Bold from in tight.

Jesse King tightened things up when he got his second goal of the game on the power play with just over eight minutes to play to make it 7-6 for Peterborough. Both teams had chances and the 50 or so Lakers fans who have made the trip out to see the series faced plenty of tense moments when the Shamrocks rang a handful of shots of the iron in the third.

Brad Self celebrating his first of two goals Tuesday. (Photo: Kevin Light Photography)
They suffered an instant more of tension when Brad Self broke away with the ball and only King between him and the empty net. Self took his time, took aim and fired the ball past King, off the inside of one post, across to the other post and in for his second goal of the game and the insurance Peterborough was looking for.

It was a tough win, but a win nonetheless for the Lakers, Self said. “A win's a win, we'll take 'em however we can get 'em,” Self said. “It was nice after last night being that bad, then showing back up tonight and battling the way we did. We've got to do it again tomorrow. We didn't show up for Game 3 so we have to learn from that and make sure we're ready to go for Game 5.”

Steenhuis is happy to be playing after suffering what at the time appeared to be a season-ending knee injury in Peterborough's fourth game of the regular season. He returned for the final three games of the MSL finals against Six Nations and his effectiveness has grown as he's gotten more comfortable at game speed.

“That's a character win for our team,” Steenhuis said. “We got a goal, they got a goal...they seem to have always answered the last three games when we scored. So breaking through there, getting the lead and keeping the lead...Obviously I took a pretty dumb penalty at the end [an interference call for running into a Shamrocks player near the bench that led to King's goal], but what a fantastic third period by our defence. Tip our hats to them. We're working our tails off on offence, scratch and claw for whatever we can. We've got a good team we're playing against over there. We've got to take advantage of every one of their mistakes and that's what we're trying to do.”

Peterborough head coach Mike Hasen said his team didn't play as badly as it appeared on Monday night so they were confident they'd be able to come back Tuesday. “When we were watching film last night, it's not that we were playing bad defensively, they were hitting their shots well and [goalie Matt Vinc] had an off night. We said just stick to the process and make sure we're doing what we need to do and we did that and V made the stops he needs to make.”

Bob Heyes said it was a fine line between being tied and taking a stranglehold on the series. “We were a little apprehensive and we didn't have that free flowing in our offence or our transition. It's part of the maturation of our team. We want to go to that next step. Maybe we've got to put our foot in and get in there. I think they realize that there's not a lot of difference between the game tonight, between going up 3-1 and being 2-2. There's not a lot between us.”

Enjoy the rest of the series, Heyes encouraged, because it doesn't get any better than this. “These next three games, two games, are going to be the best lacrosse you're going to see this year in the world. I don't care if it's NLL, anything, you're seeing guys playing for the love of the game. That's what it comes down to and the fans in Victoria and the fans in Peterborough are going to love this.”

In those final two or three games, everything means just a little more. “Every little thing, every save, every penalty, every penalty kill, every post, everything is going to be magnified and you just don't want those to be those maybes or woulda coulda shoulda moments in the series,” Heyes said.

He added that winning and losing will come down to who steps up in a given game. “You're seeing the best players in the world out here now and it's a treat to be a part of it. You get to see superstars out here playing and you're going to see great performances. Peterborough had two great performances—the goaltender and Curtis Dickson—tonight. Tomorrow [Wednesday] night there's going to be a couple other guys who are going to stand up and hopefully they're going to be our players.”

Game time is 7 pm PT (10 ET) again and once again you can watch the game live on PlayFullScreen.