John Grant Jr. got off a plane at 4 pm, made his way to the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre for an 8pm start and proceeded to fill the net with three goals in the first 25 minutes of play to lead the Peterborough Lakers to a 9-7 win over the Oakville Rock Monday Monday night. Grant scored the first two goals of the game and the opening goal of the second period as the Lakers jumped out to a 5-1 lead.
After that, Oakville started to find their game in their season opener and outscored the Lakers 6-4 the rest of the way. The Rock made it all the way back to within one goal at 8-7 when Stephan Leblanc scored his third goal of the game at 15:40 of the third period. Mark Steenhuis gave the Lakers some insurance with two and a half minutes left when he bounced an off-speed shot past Nick Rose to reach the final score.
Grant, who scored on his first two shots of the game, arrived from Denver in the afternoon. He'll be back in the Lakers lineup Thursday when they play the Brooklin Redmen then will be heading back to the United States for a month. “I shot till my arms got tired then I was pretty much useless after that,” Grant said. He gave credit to teammates Scott Self, Brad Self and Shawn Evans for playing after being in the National Lacrosse League championship game Saturday night but pointed out that they may have been a bit tired as the game went on as well. Matt Vinc was also in the lineup but served as the backup to Tyler Carlson.
“That is a young, athletic group and they ran, so we had to run,” Grant said. He expects to be in better form on Thursday. “I'll be rejuvenated when I get to play in the Mem Centre and hopefully there's a lot of people there. What can I say? That's why I come back to play in the summer to play at home. I'm really excited.”
Leblanc, meanwhile, was pleased with the performance of his team in their first game of the season, although he was disappointed they didn't get the win. “We've got a lot of new faces in this dressing room and it's going to take some time,” Leblanc said. “This is a good game to build off of. Obviously you want to come out top in those games but it's definitely something to build on and the team looked good.”
Oakville is off till next Monday when they play host to the Six Nations Chiefs.
Peterborough 9, Oakville 7 (Box score)