Shamrocks One Win Away! Defeat Lakers 7-5 in OT.

The Victoria Shamrocks took a massive step toward claiming their ninth Mann Cup title Wednesday night.

A 7-5 overtime win over the Peterborough Lakers — played before another jam-packed, vocal crowd at The Q Centre — gives the locals a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven national lacrosse championship.

One big win will now secure the ultimate prize which has eluded the Shamrocks and it could come Friday night at 7 after a day off today. The last time Victoria won the Mann Cup was also at home in 2005 over these same Lakers.

Corey Small and Dan Dawson scored in overtime after goals from Jesse King and Scott Ranger were disallowed, called crease violations by the Ontario official, who was heavily booed by Shamrocks’ fans. Scott Ranger had also hit the post before Small and Dawson finally got to Lakers goalie Matt Vinc.

“It’s a good feeling right now, getting the win, but we have to stay even. We can’t get too, too excited,” said Small. “We have to enjoy it, but the next one is going to be the hardest one to win of them all. We’re focused for that one, we’ll have some fun tonight, but focus for Friday for sure.”

The Shamrocks finally got to Vinc (who faced 46 shots overall and 16 in OT) after being shut out in the third period. Victoria had two three-goal leads disappear in the game, up 3-0 and 4-1.

“He’s a phenomenal goalie. Between him and Boldy [Shamrocks goalie Aaron Bold], you’re looking at the two best goalies in the world right now. Going into the series we had a feeling it would be tight games. We just have to keep chiseling away,” said Small.

It was another incredible performance by the Victoria defence, which was without Rory Smith in the lineup.

“I have to say hats off to the defence for coming out and playing our game,” said Bold, who stopped 32 shots and shut out the Lakers in overtime after allowing just one goal in the third. “We were out on the shooters and we denied some swings and got into shooting lanes. They let me see the ball when they needed to.”

Rhys Duch, Steve Priolo, Cory Conway, Ranger and Mitch Jones (who was real good early) also scored for Victoria. Mark Steenhuis,Turner Evans, Curtis Dickson, Cory Vitarelli and Shawn Evans replied for the Lakers, who were also solid on the back end.

Bold and defender Ryan Dilks are looking to add the Mann Cup to the National Lacrosse League title they won earlier this year with the Edmonton (now Saskatoon) Rush. Smith (out with an injury) could record his third straight Mann championship, having won the last two with Six Nations against Victoria. Lakers backup goalie Evan Kirk is in the same boat.

No team has won two straight in the rugged series.

Published Times Colonist - Sept 10, 2015

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