The Peterborough Lakers have been in this situation before. Backs against the wall, looking like they’re in trouble and having a hard time finding their game. And just like they’ve done many times before, they came out firing and won a critical playoff lacrosse game to keep their playoff run from going onto life support. Last night it was an 11-3 victory over the Brooklin Redmen that pulled them within 2-1 in the Major Series Lacrosse semi finals. And after struggling at times all over the floor in the first two games, Peterborough controlled pretty much all phases of Game 3.
Lakers goalie Tyler Carlson, who did not play well in the first two games and didn’t get lots of help from his defence, looked far more confident and solid in the Lakers goal. “Our defence was playing amazing tonight, the second period was way better,” he said, referring to the fact that the Lakers gave up 8 goals in the second period in each of the first two games. “Personally, I was shaky a little bit but now I’m stepping into the groove and finding myself and we’re going to really finish this thing off with a bang.”
Peterborough controlled the game from the start, leading 6-1 after the first period and 9-1 after the second. They looked like a different team than the one that wasn’t firing on all cylinders through the first game and a half and more like the team that almost pulled out a comeback win in Game 2. Still, Carlson says, “It is only one game. They’re still ahead of us, we’re going to keep coming out and banging and doing what we’ve got to do. Our defence is going to keep playing the way we know we can play, I’m going to play the way I know how to play and our offence is going to do their job. Our defence just wasn’t clicking, we weren’t on the same page. Now, it’s been a couple of games. The third period last night we didn’t allow any goals. We poured it over into tonight. Now we’re going to pour it over into Thursday.”
For their part, the Redmen aren’t too worried about the loss, said veteran forwardGavin Prout, echoing Carlson’s sentiment about it being only one game. “Whether you win 16-1 or 9-8, it’s still only one win and we’re still ahead in the series.” He said his team remains confident in what they can do as a team.
Brooklin was without the service of Kiel Matisz, who was with his family after his grandfather, who had been sick, died in the afternoon. Head Coach Wayne Colley said he told Matisz to stay home and do what he needed to do.
Game 4 now becomes the pivotal game of the series. The Lakers, who trailed 10-6 after two periods in Monday’s game, have only allowed 4 goals since and Carlson is looking more and more like the goalie that played so well in last year’s MSL finals against the Six Nations Chiefs.
Josh Gillam had a hat trick and an assist for the Lakers and Shawn Evans led all scorers with a goal and 4 assists. Zach Higgins was replaced by Steve Fryer in the Brooklin net after giving up 7 goals. Peterborough went 5 for 8 on the power play while the Redmen scored just once on their 8 man advantages.