Mann Cup Diaries: Day Six


The Trip

Today I met a seal, an otter, and a wooly mammoth. Only two of the three were actually alive. Hopefully you guessed correctly which two! We spent the afternoon at Fisherman’s Wharf, which was an amazing place featuring floating businesses and houses, all painted bright colours. We got ice cream from a floating ice cream parlour and watched people feed two harbour seals. One had a bad eye, but the other had two large, needy-looking eyes. There were also a couple of cheeky otters that weren’t supposed to be fed, trying to steal the fish from the seals. I live in a totally landlocked place, so being out breathing in the ocean air and seeing these beautiful creatures in their natural habitats was just indescribable. Afterwards, we toured the BC Royal Museum. The first exhibit was the gold rush, which honestly wasn’t that interesting, but then went through a climate change exhibit, with lots of dioramas of various wildlife found on the island through history (hence the wooly mammoth). We didn’t have much time at the museum unfortunately, but the Mann Cup is the reason we’re out here so we had to get going for game five!

The Game

The Lakers never seem to do things the easy way, and for the second time these playoffs find themselves on the brink of elimination. The Shamrocks took a 3-2 series lead on the strength of a 7-5 overtime win Wednesday night in game five of the best of seven Mann Cup series. Tied at five, Corey Small was the hero with a goal at 5:15 of the extra frame after the Shamrocks had two goals called back due to crease violations. Dan Dawson added an insurance marker with 35 seconds to go.

While the Victoria fans saw those recalled goals a different way, head coach Bob Heyes was perfectly fine with the calls, and is supportive of the referees in the series.

“I used to be a referee for one year, hated it,” he chuckled. “Refereeing is tough. For a referee to be from the east and have to make those tough calls, you’re going to look at it the wrong way for sure. It’s a tough game to call especially when you’ve got such dynamic players. It’s a game of inches. I’m sure when we go back to the video I’m sure it’ll show that they’re in the crease, that’s my assumption that they’re in the crease and he’s making those calls. We don’t have instant replay and all that stuff, the game doesn’t need to have video replays, it’s too fast, it’s entertaining. We’re just thankful that we won, we’d hate to swallow that pill after that overtime but everything worked out just fine. [The Lakers] are going to play looser, they’re going to play with desperation. We have to be ready for that, for sure. Nothing has been won.”

Games two and three were blowouts (one by each team) but the other three have been low scoring, defensive battles, and the players expect that to be the case the rest of the way.

“Both teams want to win so much and they’re willing to die for it and you saw that type of game out there today,” Lakers goaltender Matt Vinc said. “Everyone’s diving, blocking shots, doing whatever it takes to get the loose ball. You get a good game like that and force overtime so obviously there are some familiar faces but at the end of the day we want to win and we’ll do whatever it takes.”

The Shamrocks outshot the Lakers 46-37 including a 2-0 advantage in overtime. While the game was fairly even in terms of playing time, Victoria was all over Peterborough in the final ten forcing the Lakers into a defensive mode, unable to muster any offense. The Lakers were unable to pull Matt Vinc for a man advantage.

“I told them to shoot. Shoot the ball and we did, and I think we scored a few goals in that period,” smiled Heyes.

The Shamrocks built a 3-0 lead through the first period before Mark Steenhuis scored for the Lakers late in the period. New father Rhys Duch extended the lead to 4-1 before the Lakers rattled off three in a row to tie it, including a shortie from Turner Evans, his first Mann Cup goal. Scott Ranger put the Shamrocks back up 5-4 heading into the third, and Shawn Evans knotted the game at five all at 6:36 as he waited out an offensive rush by the Shamrocks and caught a long pass from Nick Weiss on the turnover to beat Aaron Bold on his doorstep.

The Shamrocks Dan Dawson said the team is pleased with the win but that they are cautious in celebrating too much, lest they get ahead of themselves.

“People are asking me if we’re happy right now, and no, we haven’t done anything yet,” he said. “We haven’t won a series, we’ve still got a long way to go. We have to move on and focus on what’s next. And that’s got to be our mindset. If you focus on [the win] you’re living in the past and they’re going to bury you.”

Lakers coach Mike Hasen said the team will be using Thursday as a rest day.

“Tomorrow’s just a recovery day, a lot of the guys have to take care of themselves and get mentally and physically prepared,” he said.

Scott Evans said that the Lakers are confident they can come back and win the series.

“All it’s going to take is hard work,” he said. “We’re going to have to go to the dirty spots and come out, set hard picks, and go to the dirty spots in the middle of the net. It’s really intense so we just have to battle through it and do what’s in our control and we’ll come out. We’ve been here before, two weeks ago we took Six Nations, we were down 3-2 and won the last two so we’ve been here before, we know what the expectations are and we know what it takes to win two games, so we’ll be ready to go Friday-Saturday.”