What a night for the Peterborough Century 21 Lakers! Not only did they take a 3-0 lead over the Maple Ridge Burrards with an 11-6 win in game three of the Mann Cup, they also won a city council decision in favour of getting a second opinion on the state of the Memorial Centre floor.
And, in addition to their double win, Shawn Evans broke John Tavares’ all-time Mann Cup assists record. Tavares’ record was 111; Evans smashed through that with eight assists in the game to put the record currently at 116. It remains to be seen what the record will be at the conclusion of the tournament.
“It’s huge. Credit to Shawny. He’s one of the special ones out there for sure. He makes us go,” praised head coach Mike Hasen.
Curtis Dickson dodged a check at 4:44 to put the ball low on Evan Kirk to open the scoring. Zach Currier responded by dunking Robert Hope’s outlet pass past Frankie Scigliano 1:04 later. Cory Vitarelli put the Lakers up before the parade to the penalty box started. Riley Loewen scored four-on-four before Adam Jones slammed home Kyle Buchanan’s pass on the power play.
Maple Ridge’s Loewen said it’s been difficult to play through all the penalties the last two games, but recognizes that the refereeing has been consistent.
“I think they’ve been calling it both ways. It hasn’t been one or the other,” he said. “We have to set the tone early and see what the refs are calling and play through it.”
Corey Small put the Lakers up 4-2 eight minutes into the second. Vitarelli’s power play goal at 10:50 increased the lead to 5-2.
Evans’ pass to Vitarelli was the assist that broke Tavares’ record.
“I’m truly honoured,” Evans said. “He’s a guy I looked up to. I loved his play, loved his style. I’m honoured to play with him and to be coached by him (in Buffalo). “To have this moment tonight in front of fans and my family and my teammates, it’s pretty special.”
Ben McIntosh scored on a power play at 16:42 but Kyle Buchanan got that one back for the Lakers 15 seconds later, ringing the ball in off the post. Owen Barker scored on a transition break to close out the period with a 6-4 Lakers’ lead.
“We hit some posts early,” Evans said. “We had some chances and didn’t find the back of the net but we kept going and we got the ball moving and buried those chances. We’re controlling the tempo, controlling the extra loose balls and finding the back of the net when we need to.”
Early in the third, the Lakers scored three-straight goals in a span of 38 seconds for a 9-4 lead. Buchanan, Currier and Jones all scored their second goals on similar low shots. The run was broken by a power play goal from Jean-Luc Chetner as he and Ben McIntosh had to double-team Robert Hope in the Lakers’ end to knock the ball loose.
Midway through the period, Dickson earned the ire of the Lakers’ fans as he dumped Jake Withers along the boards by the Burrards’ bench. The whistle also disrupted a chance for a Josh Currier from Zach Currier goal.
Buchanan and Vitarelli each completed hat tricks later in the period, while Loewen also added a goal. Buchanan’s goal was a highlight-reel no-look behind-the-back spin-a-rama.
Backstopped by Evan Kirk’s 23 saves, the Lakers held the Burrards to two goals per period. Frankie Scigliano was forced to make 35 saves.
Though the Lakers are happy with the position they’re in, they’re also cautious. They were up 3-0 on the Brooklin Redmen in the first round and it took them four tries to get that fourth win. So they know that anything is possible on Tuesday night.
“It feels okay right now but we know there’s still a lot of work left to be done,” Hasen said. “We’ll take it for what it is. We worked hard for tonight but tomorrow’s going to be even harder so we just have to take care of ourselves tonight and be ready to go.”
For their part, the Burrards plan on being tough to dispose of.
“We’re not going to give up,” Loewen said. They’re an experienced team but we have to battle through… We have to play a full 60 against these guys because anytime you take your foot off the pedal they’ll capitalize on it.”
Prior to the game, the lacrosse community held a rally outside city hall before council’s meeting. After a long debate and presentations by Jr. A Lakers president Tim Barrie and city staff, the motion to move ahead with floor reconstruction without a second opinion was defeated 9-2. Without a second opinion the Lakers were in danger of being ousted from the arena in 2019 while the floor was ripped out and replaced.
Game time Tuesday is 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the Memorial Centre box office, online at www.memorialcentre.ca or by phone at 705-743-3561.
Cory Vitarelli and Curtis Dickson were named the players of the game.