Photo Credit: Vintage Lax
Once again the lacrosse community in southern Ontario was treated to another incredible MSL final.
On one side you have an offense led by Cody Jamieson, Jeff Shattler and Colin Doyle going against the defense of Stephen Hoar, Darryl Gibson, the brothers Scott and Brad Self. On the other side John Grant Jr, Mark Steenhuis and Shawn Evans battling with Sid Smith, Billy Dee Smith and Rory Smith (no relation).
It’s safe to say that this final had a lot of names you would expect to see in an NLL All-Star game; pitted in a best of 7 series. As has been described to me by many players who have partaken in the journey to a Mann Cup; there is nothing like having to figure out a way to mentally and physically defeat the opponent 4 times.
It was eventually the Six Nations Chiefs claiming victory over the Peterborough Lakers in a series that could have gone either way; but in the end the Chiefs’ ability to put up runs of unanswered goals made the difference.
However while that may have made the difference; defense made up the backbone of the series with only 1 game where a team was able to score double digits (but needed to get 2 goals in overtime to do it).
The series started off looking like it was going to be all Peterborough until Six Nations went on a 5 goal run (in 3:33 seconds) in the final period of Game 2 to come back and tie the series at 1-1.
In Game 3 the Chiefs had 4 goal runs in the 1st and 3rd winning 9-5; and started the 4th game with a 5 goal run in the 1st; enough to carry them to a 9-7 victory and a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.
It was then Peterborough winning Games 5 and 6; with both games seeing a superhuman performance/effort from Shawn Evans… and John Grant absolutely shooting the lights out from downtown late in Game 6; for the first time in the series figuring out a way to get it by Evan Kirk with the long shot.
This tied the series backup at 3-3 with Game 7 in, a packed to the rafters, Peterborough Memorial Center. Yes, 3,780 box lacrosse enthusiasts packed in to the Peterborough barn for the marquee matchup.
In all 3 games that Peterborough won, they were able to cap the explosive Chiefs’ goal runs at 2 goals; and only one run of 3.
Game 7 started in Peterborough’s favor as they carried a 3 goal lead until 16:12 of the 2nd period; but Six Nations caught them too far back on their heels scoring the first of a, 25 minute, 7 goal run that ended the contest 9-5 Chiefs. (Cody Jamieson 3,3; Jeff Shattler 2,2)
The Chiefs will host the 2014 Mann Cup against the WLA’s Victoria Shamrocks whom bring with them a fast and mobile offense. The Shamrocks will have to work hard to open up seams within this punishing, rock-solid Chiefs defense that limited the Peterborough Lakers to only 5 goals in 3 of the 4 games they won.
The Chiefs’ D have given up very little within the dotted line and are content to rely on Evan Kirk and Brandon Miller to stop shots from the perimeter.
While I heavily favor the Six Nation Chiefs, the Victoria Shamrocks are well rested and if they can make the best of the transition opportunities, that teams with this sort of speed create, this could become a very interesting series.
This is the Shamrocks’ second trip back to the Mann Cup in as many years; that experience is a huge plus and the desire to win is twice as great.
It can also be said that the desire to win for Six Nations is twofold also as the Six Nations Arrows won the Minto Cup verses Coquitlam (4-2) a couple weeks ago.
This would bring both the ‘crown jewels’ of box lacrosse to a First Nations community that would be more than deserving to have them.
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Unfortunately we couldn’t embed the Game 7 highlights, but you can check out the video here!