Thursday, September 10, 2015

Shamrocks take Game 5 in overtime to pull ahead three games to two in Mann Cup finals

The Victoria Shamrocks continued to employ a physical approach to defence and held the Peterborough Lakers to 5 goals in Game 5 of the Mann Cup. Victoria won 7-5 in overtime to take a 3-2 series lead. (Photo: Kevin Light Photography)

Both goalies were stopping almost everything they were seeing in Game 5 of the 2015 Mann Cup, so it makes sense that the pair of overtime goals that eventually netted the Victoria Shamrocks a 7-5 win and a 3-2 lead in the best of seven Canadian senior lacrosse championship both came on screened shots.

Victoria came close to getting a pair of goals earlier in the overtime but both were waived off as crease violations. Jesse King was the first to have a goal nullified as his leg appeared to touch down inside the crease before the ball got across the goal line, although it was very close. The second one wasn't close—Scott Ranger drove in from the wing and buried the ball past Matt Vinc but his lead foot was clearly well past the crease line before the ball went in. In CLA play, the foot crossing the cylinder of the crease means it's no goal.

There was no question about Corey Small's goal at 5:15 of the extra frame, though. He took a pass from Dan Dawson and stepped into a low shot between two Peterborough defenders and past the legs of teammate Daryl Veltman. The ball skipped into the far corner and the soldout crowd at the Q Centre erupted in cheers that finally wouldn't be quashed by a referee pointing towards the crease.

In the final half minute, Dawson ended any hopes of a Lakers comeback with a straight overhand past another pair of defenders tied up with teammate Cory Conway that banked in off the far post.

Victoria started off the game looking like they wouldn't need overtime to take the win. They jumped out to a 3-0 lead and were up 4-1 when Rhys Duch drove low to the net for a shorthanded marker 18 seconds into the second period. The Lakers battled back, though, as each team has done all series long when faced with a challenge.

Goals from Cory Vitarelli and Curtis Dickson pulled Peterborough within one, then a Dicksonesque effort from Turner Evans evened things up. Evans fought through a double team along the boards and eluded another defender en route to the net before reaching across and tucking the ball in far side past Aaron Bold.

Scott Ranger's foot clearly crosses the cylinder of the crease, resulting in a no goal after he put this ball past Matt Vinc in overtime. (Photo: Kevin Light Photography)

Ranger made it 5-4 for Victoria before the end of the second period with a goal stemming from yet another drive underneath a defender for a Shamrocks goal. Both teams clamped down big-time in the third, but Shawn Evans scored a power play goal on a brilliant spinning shot after he had stayed behind unnoticed in the Victoria end and took a breakout pass from Nick Weiss.

Dawson said the Shamrocks were glad they had won the game, but they were far from satisfied. “It’s definitely a good feeling right now but you have to have a short memory whether you win or lose,” Dawson said. “We haven’t done anything yet, it’s just a 3-2 lead. We’re going to have to be better.”

Victoria head coach Bob Heyes disagreed with part of what Dawson said. “We have accomplished something,” Heyes said, noting that it was a big step to get the third win of the Mann Cup series after losing the last two years four games to two. He reinforced Dawson's point, though, in saying that the fourth win is even tougher and the Shamrocks know the Lakers have a lot of character and will be coming out hard in Game 6 on Friday night.

Lakers forward Scott Evans, playing in his second straight game after sitting a pair, noted that the Lakers don't have to look back very far to remember what it takes to win when your'e trailing a series after five games. “We’ve been here before. Two weeks ago against Six Nations, we were down 3-2 and won the last two so we're been here before, we know what the expectations are,” Evans said. “We know what it takes to win two games, so we’ll be ready to go Friday-Saturday.”

Evans caught Gary Gait to move to fifth place on the Mann Cup all-time scoring list and said it was nice to do so but he's looking forward not backward. “It’s a good accomplishment catching Gary Gait, but you know what, I’ve got five Mann Cups right now and I want a sixth really bad.”

Victoria 7, Peterborough 5 OT