COLWOOD, BC – It was a rocky start for the Peterborough Century 21 Lakers at the 2019 Mann Cup in Victoria, BC on Friday night as they fell 13-6 to the Shamrocks.
Despite being peppered with 67 shots, Shamrocks’ goaltender Pete Dubenski put on a clinic, making 61 saves. Early on in the game he stopped Josh Currier and Thomas Hoggarth’s subsequent rebound. Later he stacked the pads against Shawn Evans for two saves in a row.
“Dubenski played really well,” said Lakers’ head coach Mike Hasen. “I thought we had a lot of good opportunities and a few second chance opportunities and he stood tall.”
The coaches did their homework prior to the start of the series so neither they nor the players were surprised by how good Dubenski, named the Shamrocks’ player of the game, was.
“We knew they were big on the back end. We knew a little bit about their goalie and that he’d been on fire and has played great,” said captain Robert Hope. “It’s not like we didn’t know; they just played really well and stuck to their game plan and executed on every opportunity that we gave them.”
Conversely, the Lakers didn’t play well in front of Mike Poulin.
“We sat back and did a lot of watching,” Hope said. “Defensively we weren’t good. We left Poulie out to dry a lot.”
The Shamrocks opened the scoring at 7:22 when Chris Boushy got in alone on Poulin. Jake Withers won the ensuing faceoff and handed the ball off to Zach Currier who evened the score six seconds later. Unfortunately, the Lakers were outscored 3-0 the rest of the period and trailed 4-1 after the first.
“It’s hard to have a memorable moment in a loss,” said Currier. “A goal’s a goal so I’m happy to get it but I’m not satisfied by any means.”
Tyler Pace increased the lead to 5-1 in the second before Josh Currier was able to answer for the Lakers. Currier’s goal was initially waved off as it came in and out of the net very quickly (cue the bad flashbacks to New Westminster in 2017), but the referees conferred and declared it a goal.
Connor Robinson and Liam Patten then scored 35 seconds apart. Holden Cattoni scored a power play goal but the Shamrocks potted two more before the second period ended. Boushy’s feet appeared to break the plane of the crease on his hat trick goal but it was counted anyway.
The atmosphere in the Q Centre felt a little bit like Peterborough with the big crowd, and a little bit like Brooklin with the cement floor and high temperatures. It was a different experience having over 2700 fans cheering for the opposite team.
“They have great fans here that support them like we do back home. We understand that we don’t have as many fans out here as they do but that’s not an excuse for the way that we played,” Hope said.
The Lakers started to turn things around in the third period, scoring three times for the most offensively productive period.
Connor Robinson scored on both ends of a five-on-three power play before the Lakers put together a mini-run with Joe Resetarits finding a hole glove side and Jake Withers slipping a sneaky underhand shot in. Chris Wardle broke up the momentum with a shorthanded goal to which Mark Matthews replied on the power play. Tyler Burton found the empty net as the Lakers pulled Poulin for an extra advantage.
“We were a step behind all night long,” said Hasen. “We’re going to regroup and say we want to play to our pace. We want to dictate a few things. Now we know what level we have to bring.”
Currier said it’s only a matter of time before the Lakers start finding the back of the net on a more regular basis.
“We have too much talent up there to be held to six goals. I have full confidence that they’ll start going here in game two.”
And there’s no time to rest; game two goes Saturday night from the Q Centre at 10 p.m. EDT.