The Peterborough Lakers did what they do best en route to a 14-7 win over the Victoria Shamrocks Saturday night in front of another sold out crowd at The Q Centre. The best-of-seven series is now tied at one as the two teams take a day off before playing three games in three days starting Monday. All games are at 7 pm PST.
The Lakers utilized quick ball movement and a variety of screens as they overwhelmed Aaron Bold and Victoria’s defence. After being shut out of Game One, Curtis Dickson was at his best, wiring two beauties past Bold and being a terror to cover all night for the Rocks. He finished with seven points behind four goals, while several other Lakers had multiple point nights.
Cory Vitarelli returned to the lineup for Game Two and his presence opened up the floor not just for Dickson, but Adam Jones as well. Teddy Jenner called Vitarelli one of the best off-the-ball players in the game right now and it’d be tough to disagree with him after his nice goal inside that helped Peterborough push their lead to 9-5.
Jones had the opening two goals of the game in part to his ability to get loose and shoot on the run. The challenge for Peterborough now will be how to continue that momentum with Jones potentially out until Game Seven due to work commitments in Ontario. Those concerns should be eased somewhat by the way Chad Culp has produced so far in this series. He has three goals and has been influential in the way the Lakers have moved the ball
Defensively, Peterborough was excellent—they kept Victoria to the perimeter and allowed Matt Vinc to see the ball well all night. Victoria had their chances on the transition but Peterborough played a clean game in that facet as well, winning the loose ball battle and getting their own chances. Brock Sorensen, Nick Weiss and Robert Hope had strong games in that regard, but the whole Laker D came together with a great performance.
Victoria needs to see more from their top weapons in Dawson, Duch and Corey Small. They can take a page out of the ‘Borough’s playbook and wear the Lakers down with quick ball movement That would allow them to get favourable matchups for their isolation and pick-and-roll sets and also get Vinc on the move. That was a clear Lakers tactic in the second game and it worked as Bold wasn’t able to get set on some goals. It wasn’t all his undoing, though, as the Shamrocks were slow in some rotations and ended up being screens themselves on a couple of other tallies.
In Game One, the Lakers resiliency almost paid off, but they set the tone from the opening draw of the game. They attacked Victoria’s defence in waves and were stingy in their own end—they are as complete a lacrosse team as they come. Victoria knows this, and there’s a reason why they handled New Westminster with such ease. They have arguably the best offence in the entire country. But as one Laker succinctly put it after Game One, it’s a game of inches.
The Shamrocks and Lakers will be ready for a Monday night war of their own in a game which has the ability to dictate the final stretch of the series.