Monday, June 20, 2016

Lakers blow out Kodiaks for second straight game, 15-7

Stephen Hoar was none too pleased after being attacked by Cobourg's Broedie Birkhof. (Photo: Anna Taylor)
It was closer but no cigar for the Cobourg Kodiaks. Three days after being annihilated 15-2 by the Lakers in Peterborough, Cobourg was able to hang with the visitors for a period but ultimately fell to Peterborough 15-7 in a game marred by an ugly incident in the second period.

Cobourg enforcer Broedie Birkhof attacked Lakers defender Stephen Hoar, ripped off his helmet and continued to throw punches at the back of Hoar's head while Hoar was prone on the concrete. Hoar had to leave the game early and is suspected to have suffered a concussion. Birkhof received major penalties for fighting and instigating, the latter of which comes with an automatic game misconduct. He was not given a match penalty, which comes with an indefinite suspension pending league review.

While the Cobourg coaches and management felt they were getting the short end of the stick from the officials in the game, Lakers GM (and head coach for the day in the absence of Mike Hasen) Paul Day made it clear how he felt about the situation.

“I think the refs controlled a situation that could have got out of control,” Day said. “The only thing I'm disappointed in is a guy beating a guy on the floor with his helmet off when the two refs are trying to save him. We don't want to see that in our game. I'm sure nobody wants to see a guy getting beat on the floor by a guy who's in the offensive end who's basically an egg-and-spooner. He's basically a pizza delivery guy with a stick.”

Cobourg enjoyed three one-goal leads in the first period, but each time the Lakers responded and they had pulled ahead 5-4 by the end of the frame.

Peterborough took control in the second period, much to the delight of the Lakers fans in attendance, who appeared to make up about half of the announced crowd of 1,111.

One of the keys was limiting the Kodiaks transition game, which had accounted for a pair of goals in the first period. “In between the first and second we really talked about stopping the transition. We did a good job on that,” Day said. “I thought we did a good job in the second period really controlling the game and controlling our emotions,” he said of his team's response to what he called the Kodiaks gritty play.

Peterborough, with several players not available, called up Jr A Lakers Jake Fox and Brett Coons. Fox, a forward, spent his first couple of shifts setting a pick on any Cobourg uniform he saw but eventually overcame his nerves and scored his first two MSL goals.

“My first thing was, just give it to Shawnie [Evans] and he'll do his magic and just try to get him open,” Fox said. “As the game went on, I felt a little more comfortable with the ball in my stick, trying to play more like I do in junior. That first goal on that first shot really kind of made me relax, settle down and try to play my game rather than just being a body pushing guys around.”

Fox couldn't contain his smile after the game. “This is very exciting for me. I was very happy that I was given the opportunity to come play for them and I just took advantage of the opportunities I was given,” enthused. “It's pretty hard not to play well when you've got those guys you're out there playing with, Shawnie and all those guys.”

Evans led all scorers with 2 goals and 8 assists to extend his lead atop the MSL scoring race. Mark Steenhuis added 3 goals and 3 assists and Turner Evans had a goal and 4 assists for Peterborough.

John St. John had 2 goals and an assist to lead the Kodiaks. St. John, the first overall pick in this year's MSL draft, was happy with what he agree was his best game in the league to date, but disappointed that Cobourg was unable to sustain its early success.

“Yeah, I thought today I played really well and I thought as a team we started out playing well and then we just got into a lot of penalties and yelling at the refs and kind of lost focus. But definitely a better game than [Thursday] night,” St. John said.

“I just feel like we come out working hard every game, then all of a sudden we shut it off for a period. Then in the third period we're trying to kick it back on and by that time it's too little, too late,” said St. John. “I feel like we're lacking a 100% full game. Right now we're just playing like 60% of the game and the other 40 we're just doing nothing.”

Both teams are off until Thursday, when Cobourg travels to Brampton and the Lakers play host to the Six Nations Chiefs in a rematch of last year's MSL finals.