Peterborough Lakers fend off Victoria Shamrocks to take series lead; Game 4 tonight

That whooshing heard Monday night in Colwood was the sound of the momentum shifting.

The Victoria Shamrocks lost the loose ball, face-off and defensive battles — while committing several questionable penalties — in a 9-8 defeat at the hands of the Peterborough Lakers.

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It’s the latter category, penalties, which irked Shamrocks coach Bob Heyes the most.

“All three referees were horrible,” he said.

“They have to be better. It’s not acceptable. The referees need to be held accountable. We were getting screwed. Let us play the game.”

Peterborough went 3-7 on the power play and Victoria 2-5.

“We’ve got to play through it,” said standout defender/transition player Graeme Hossack, named Victoria’s performer of the game.

The two-time defending champion Lakers have won two straight games to lead the best-of-seven 2019 Mann Cup final 2-1 as they look for Ontario’s 13th Canadian Senior A national lacrosse championship in 14 years, a run interrupted only by the Shamrocks in 2015.

“It was a battle tonight,” said Cory Vitarelli, who scored twice for Peterborough.

“We’re one step closer to where we want to be. That’s all. It’s going to be a close series.”

The Shamrocks played well enough in spurts to keep it close in Game 3, rallying from a 4-1 first-period deficit to take a 5-4 lead in the second period, but the Lakers always had an answer.

“We pride ourselves in playing a complete game and a full 60 minutes,” said Vitarelli, named Peterborough’s player of the game.

There certainly needs to be 60-minute efforts by Victoria, too, tonight and Wednesday in the fourth and fifth contests. If required, the sixth and seventh games would be Friday and Saturday. All games are being played at The Q Centre.

Heyes said only a “bad [combined] 30 minutes over the last two games” has cost Victoria the series lead.

“We made a lot of mistakes tonight but still played well enough to win,” he added.

Chris Wardle, Tyler Pace and Chris Boushy scored twice for Victoria. Kyle Buchanan recoded the hat-trick for Peterborough.

Peterborough has won 16 Mann Cup championships, second only to the New Westminster Salmonbellies’ 24. The Shamrocks are looking for the 10th Mann Cup title in the franchise’s 70th season.

This is the 13th Mann Cup matchup between Victoria and Peterborough, with the Lakers holding a 7-5 edge, although the Shamrocks won the last meeting in 2015.

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