Both teams’ season mottos are about the numbers.
It’s “10 in 70” for the Victoria Shamrocks, denoting they are striving for the 10th Mann Cup title in the franchise’s 70th season.
For the Peterborough Lakers, it’s simply “threepeat” as the team is looking for its third consecutive Mann Cup, not to mention its sixth in 11 years and 17th in franchise history.
The two historic franchises faced-off in the 2019 Canadian Senior A lacrosse final Friday night with the Shamrocks taking Game 1 of the best-of-seven series 13-6 before about 2,300 fans.
The second game is tonight and third and fourth games Monday and Tuesday. All games are at The Q Centre. 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.
Unless they follow B.C. Senior B lacrosse, the Lakers were unlikely to have much of an in-depth scouting report on the Shamrocks’ upstart goaltender Pete Dubenski. But Dubenski’s magical career comeback storyline continued unabated as the unlikely 2019 WLA playoff MVP was again brilliant in making 61 saves. Mike Poulin made 40 saves for Peterborough.
“They came out firing but our defence limited their quality chances and allowed me to track the ball,” said Dubenski.
Peterborough coach Mike Hasen commented on Dubenski’s performance by saying: “He stood tall.”
The shots read 10-0 for Peterborough when Victoria opened scoring on its first shot of the series by WLA rookie-of-the-year Chris Boushy.
Boushy and fellow young player Connor Robinson led Victoria with hat-tricks while veteran Chris Wardle had two goals.
“This was the first Mann Cup game for several of us and we were excited,” said Boushy.
“We have the hottest goalie in lacrosse right now and the best player in the world in [defensive standout] Graeme Hossack. That allows our offence to just do its thing.”
The Shamrocks received bad and good news pre-series in regards to injuries. Mega-scorer Jesse King, injured late in the WLA final against the Maple Ridge Burrards, is lost for the series and that is a massive blow. Helping ease the situation is the return of fellow-sniper Casey Jackson in the Cup final after he missed all but four early games in the regular season to injury. Jackson knocked off the rust with a first-period goal on a three-point night.
“They had great pace tonight and we were a couple of steps behind,” said Lakers bench boss Hasen.
There is no complacency in the Victoria camp.
“They are going to come out hard in Game 2 and we know it,” said Dubenski.