Monday, July 13, 2015

Excelsiors take lesson from loss to Chiefs, pull out 16-15 overtime upset of Lakers

The Brampton Excelsiors knew they had to do it as a team and they succeeded, downing Peterborough 16-15 in overtime.
(Photo: Melissa Boufounos)

Last Thursday, the Brampton Excelsiors suffered a tough loss to the first-place Six Nations Chiefs, falling 22-14 after trailing by 14-13 and 15-14 midway through the third period. They showed Sunday night that it didn't take them long to learn their lesson in how to respond late in a close game. Brampton scored four of the last five goals, including Mike Burke's tying laser with 20 seconds to play, and outscored second-place Peterborough 3-2 in overtime to earn a 16-15 win over the Lakers in a thrilling MSL matchup at Brampton's very hot and humid Memorial Arena.

Ethan O'Connor scored his second transition goal of the game to open the overtime and Burke added his fourth goal to make it 15-13 after 3:18 of the extra frame. Nobody scored for a few minutes after that, but when they did it was Brady Heseltine skipping home his third goal and what would prove to be the game winner.

The Lakers weren't done. They pushed hard to get back into it and made a start when Shawn Evans scored his fourth of the game at 7:11 with goalie Evan Kirk pulled for an extra attacker. Tyler Carlson was excellent in the second half of the third period and overtime, and he needed to play right to the final whistle after Scott Evans pulled Peterborough back within one with 25 seconds to play.

The Lakers got a chance to even things up. They won a possession with 10 seconds to play and had the ball on its way towards Shawn Evans and Curtis Dickson—who scored 5 goals—but Chad Culp's pass skipped off a stick and Brampton got the ball and took a timeout with 6.3 seconds to go. Chris Corbeil stood in the crease with the ball for a few seconds upon the restart then adroitly sprinted to the corner and just rolled the ball away as the buzzer sealed Brampton huge win.

Burke wound up with 4 goals and 4 assists and Joe Resetarits had 4 goals and 3 assists for Brampton. O'Connor scored twice and added 2 helpers, Heseltine had the hat trick and Tyler Fereira chipped in 5 assists. Shawn Evans had 4 goals and 4 assists and Dickson 5 goals and one assist to lead the Lakers.

Brampton head coach Paul Stewart was thrilled with the way his team applied what they had learned against the Chiefs in Sunday's game. “We knew what we did wrong against Six Nations. We died after 10 minutes [of the third period],” Stewart said. “We know Peterborough, again they're a championship team, they were going to keep their composure, they were going to get their chances. We just had to keep going, we had to believe in ourselves. We came close the other day. We built off it rather than having a letdown and we came through.”

"The only way we're going to win games is if everyone contributes," Stewart added. "We don't have that one guy that can score five or six. Dickson had a bunch, Shawn Evans had a bunch. We don't have that guy, so the only way we're going to win games is as a team and we really did tonight."

Burke echoed Stewart's thoughts that the Excelsiors knew what they needed to do when they found themselves in another tight game with one of the league's elite teams. “Last week I thought we put together a strong 40. Definitely with a team like that if you have any lapses they're going to fill the net and that's what happened,” Burke said. “Tonight, we showed again we can stick with them for 40 except the last 20 we really came together and put together a solid period and then in overtime we just carried the momentum.”

Lakers head coach Mike Hasen agreed with the assessment that his team took its foot off the gas and had a tough time pushing the pedal back down. “I think that's a little bit of what happened tonight,” Hasen said. “We're not used to the heat but both teams are fighting through it. We have the luxury of playing in a nice cool place. Credit goes to them. They kept fighting and they deserved it.”

Hasen would like to see his team play a safer style than they did Sunday. “Our chances were there. Our decision-making has to be better. I said to the guys high risk, high reward. We went for the high risk and it came back to bite us. We need better decision making.”