Let’s face it, if you missed the first two games of the Mann Cup, you’ve missed two excellent battles between two very worthy teams.
The Victoria Shamrocks let one get away on Saturday night, dropping a 10-8 decision to the Six Nations Chiefs at a sold-out and loud Bear Mountain Arena.
Down for most of the evening, the Shamrocks finally grabbed an 8-7 lead on Nolan Heavenor’s power-play goal at 7:38 of the third period.
But, as the crude sports term goes, the Shamrocks took their foot off the throats of their opponents and allowed them back in the game.
Johnny Powless obliged with the tying goal midway through the third and then Cody Jamieson wired his second of the night from a long way out to record the game-winner at 16:30.
Veteran Colin Doyle added the insurance marker at 19:44 and the best-of-seven Canadian Senior A lacrosse championship series is now even at 1-1. Game 3 goes Monday.
Kedoh Hill scored three goals to pace the Chiefs, playing his first game of the series, replacing Billy Dee Smith, who coach Rich Kilgour said tweaked an ankle in Game 1.
Hill was coming off a concussion he sustained in the Major Series Lacrosse playoffs.
“I just tried to stay focused,” Hill said of his performance in a penalty-filled game that didn’t have the flow of Game 1.
“Emotions were flying. There were a lot of penalties. I just tried to stay level. I kept telling myself to go out, play hard and stay focused," added Hill.
“I was lucky to get a couple of chances … .”
Luck had nothing to do with it. Hill was fabulous, finding holes in what was a stubborn Shamrocks’ defence, until Saturday night.
The second period was all about power play chances as the Shamrocks had three 5-on-3 opportunities over a span of 2:46 while the Chiefs had two two-man advantages for 1:30.
In the end, the Shamrocks were 4-of-15 on power plays and the Chiefs were just 2-of-11.
The game had it all, plenty of goals, two wicked no-look backhand goals from Jeff Shattler, big-time saves, all-around nastiness (cheap shots galore) and intense play. The only thing missing was a scrap and you likely won’t see that as players attempt to remain in control.
Six Nations was tagged for 17 infractions for 34 minutes in penalties on Saturday and Victoria took 12 penalties for 27 minutes. Shamrocks defender Jon Harnett was fingered for 11 PIMs.
Shattler finished with three goals and three assists for Victoria. His third tally came short-handed as he snuck behind the Six Nations defence to tie it 6-6 at 13:55 of the second period.
The teams were tied 4-4 and 6-6 by periods before the Chiefs scored four goals in the third, equaling their total output from the night before.
The win means there will be a Game 5 on Wednesday and tickets go on sale Sunday morning in person or Monday on-line.
This promises to b a long battle that resumes Monday, Tuesday and now Wednesday as stamina will become an issue.