|Evan Kirk and the Six Nations Chiefs turned aside the Peterborough Lakers in Game 4 of the MSL finals to put themselves|
on the verge of returning to defend their Mann Cup title. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
The Six Nations Chiefs have put themselves on the verge of heading back to the Mann Cup to defend their title, downing the Peterborough Lakers 9-7 in Game 4 of the MSL finals to take a 3-1 series lead Monday night. Six Nations started strong, taking a 5-1 lead after the first period and extending that to 6-1 when Roger Vyse scored 7:25 into the second. The Lakers fought back to make it a close game thanks largely to the sharpshooting of John Grant Jr., who had 4 goals and added an assist.
The Lakers were denied a potential momentum-shifter at the end of the second period. Six Nations pulled goalie Evan Kirk for an extra attacker with over 30 seconds to play. When a rebound ricocheted up the floor, Brad Self ran it down and fired the ball into the empty net what looked and sounded like just before the final buzzer. The goal was waived off and rather than going into the locker room on a high, the Lakers trailed 7-3.
They still came out with a flurry in the third, though. They scored three times in the first three minutes to pull within a single goal. Despite plenty of pressure, though, they couldn't get the tying marker. Eventually the Chiefs responded, with Craig Point and Kasey Beirnes firing home goals that put the game away for Six Nations.
Cody Jamieson led the way for Six Nations with 2 goals and 3 assists, Colin Doyle had 4 helpers and Jeff Shattler had a goal and 3 assists. Shawn Evans added 4 assists for the Lakers.
“The boys on the bench just said let's take a deep breath, get back to what we were doing, get back to packing it in and they're going to work for anything they get,” Chiefs coach Rich Kilgour said of his team's response to the Lakers run in the third period. “That's what our defence has done all year and that's what they did tonight.”
The one thing he'd like to change for Game 5, tonight at Peterborough's Memorial Centre, is better discipline. “We had them 6-1 and had an undisciplined four-minute penalty. We had them 7-3 to start the third and we took a penalty there,” Kilgour said. “We talked about, why give them a chance. We gave them a chance, the refs called it and we let them right back in it, they got rolling a bit. If we get them down a bit we have to be more disciplined and then keep the run going. That's the only thing I want to work on.”
Lakers coach Joe Sullivan also stressed discipline as a key factor in his team's chances for success as the series continues. “Early in the game we fell into discipline problems again, something that's really bitten us hard in the last two and a half games,” Sullivan said. “The sense of urgency now has got to be that we're going to have to take whatever they throw at us and turn the other cheek. That's exactly what they're doing. They've got a big, tough, smash-mouth type defence that aren't going to the penalty box a whole lot. They're playing within the rules and we're not. Our offensive guys are getting frustrated and taking behind the play penalties and our defensive guys are extending themselves out so much that they have to hook and do the wrong things to keep their man in check.”
The Chiefs have their chance to advance to their second straight Mann Cup when the teams reconvene in Peterborough tonight. The Lakers will look to hold them off and force a sixth game back in Six Nations on Friday.