Lakers tie Mann Cup 1-1 with OT win

Shawn Evans may have missed his sister’s wedding yesterday, but his Peterborough Century 21 Lakers brothers were very glad he was on the floor with them in Victoria.

With his sister Laura on his mind, Evans put the Lakers on his back in the third period, scoring a natural hat trick to rally the team from a 9-6 deficit. They went on to win in 12-10 in overtime to tie their Mann Cup series versus the Victoria Shamrocks 1-1.

“This was special for me,” said Evans after the game. “My sister got married today and I missed it so to win that one, this one was for her.”

Make no mistake, the Lakers are a family and they’re fighting for something that is important to each and every one of them. They play for each other, and that was something they were reminded of prior to game two.

“Shawn Evans said it best: we stick together as a group,” said Kiel Matisz, whose goal 54 seconds into overtime gave the Lakers a much-needed lead. “We just have to focus on our game and focus on the task at hand with our collective group. We did a better job doing that rather than an individual play here or there. We did it as a team tonight and it felt good.”

Matisz credited Jake Withers for setting a good screen on his goal that allowed him to sneak an underhand shot past Pete Dubenski.

“I got overtop and shot the ball. Lucky enough to get that one in to give us a bit of momentum.”

Withers had an exceptional night at the faceoff dot, winning 18/25 draws.

Corey Small scored the game winner, earning even more ire from the Shamrocks’ fans. Small had appeared to fall out of favour with the green and white crowd after he was called for interference on Greg Harnett earlier in the game.

Joe Resetarits, who hit two posts in the game, added an insurance marker.

The game was reminiscent of the Lakers vs. Six Nations Chiefs MSL Final series, with no team having more than a one-goal edge for over 40 minutes.

“It’s a good matchup,” said Matisz. “It’s a fans’ series to watch. We played a lot of close games all season long so that helps a bit but credit to the Shamrocks, too. We were lucky to get this one in overtime.”

Victoria led 3-2 after the first on the strength of three power play goals. In the second, two shorthanded goals powered them to a 6-5 lead. Josh Currier tied the game at six early in the third period with a pretty backhand goal. The Shamrocks then rattled off three in a row until Evans stepped up to lead the Lakers.

There were some tense moments as Matt Gilray was assessed a delay of game penalty with 4:09 left in the third as he shot the ball from the Lakers’ end into the far netting to kill the rest of a possession. (CLA rule 41C).

“That was a tough one,” said head coach Mike Hasen. “He was just trying to get the ball down to the other end of the floor and it goes out. It is what it is, and we managed to kill it.”

Once they were back to full strength, Evans scored goals 32 seconds apart to tie the game.

“It was an important game for us,” Evans said. “We never quit; we never gave up. It’s 1-1 and we get a day off to rest.”

Games 3, 4 and 5 will be played Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. All games begin at 7 p.m./10 p.m. EDT.

Tyson Gibson led the Shamrocks with a pair of goals and four assists. Connor Robinson and Casey Jackson each scored twice and assisted twice. Pete Dubenski stopped 62 of the Lakers’ 74 shots.

Mike Poulin made 40 saves for the Lakers.