On Friday night the wait ended for Lacrosse fans as the Mann Cup finally kicked off as the Victoria Shamrocks hosted the Six Nations Chiefs. Both teams looked to be evenly matched on paper so as the week progressed fans could not wait for the Mann Cup to begin as this Mann Cup has all the makings of a classic.
In the first few minutes of this game it was a back and forth affair as both teams started to generate offensive pressure. The Chiefs would strike first as Cody Jamieson put one in the back of the net beating Matt Vinc. The Shamrocks would begin tightening up their defense and Ben McCullogh picked off a pass and scored in transition to tie the game 1-1 for the Shamrocks. The Shamrocks would continue to pepper Evan Kirk with shots but he was up to the task as he stonewalled the Shamrocks for the rest of the period. The Shamrocks outshot the Chiefs 22-12 in the frame but Johnny Powless and Craig Point would score for the Chiefs to put them up 3-1 at the end of one period of play.
The Chiefs would continue rolling in the second period as Point would open the scoring just a minute into the game to put the Chiefs up 4-1. Kirk would continue to frustrate the Shamrocks offense as he continued to weather the Shamrocks offensive storm. Rhys Duch would eventually solve Kirk in order to cut the lead to two and get the Shamrocks back in this game as the score was now 4-2. After a rough first period Matt Vinc bounced back in the second as he held the Chiefs to just one goal in the period. At the end of two periods of play it was 4-2 Chiefs.
The Shamrocks trailed coming into the third but they were no strangers to trailing as they proved in the WLA final against Langley that no lead was safe as long as there was still time on the clock. The Shamrocks would get help from an unlikely source in the third period as Junior A call up Jesse King would begin to play like a man possessed. King scored two consecutive goals early in the third to tie the game at 4-4. King was not done as just three minutes later he would complete the hat trick to put the Shamrocks up 5-4. Matt Vinc continued his strong play in the third as he stopped all 11 of the Chiefs shots to allow Victoria to hold on for the 5-4 lead.
If game one was any indication goals may be hard to come by in this series as both Evan Kirk and Matt Vinc appear to be on top of their games. The Shamrocks once again proved that they will never give up as they once again overcame a slow start in order to win the game. The Chiefs will need to tighten up their defense in game two as they not allow the Shamrocks to conitue to outshoot them as the Shamrocks outshot them 44-30 in game one. If the Chiefs continue to allow the Shamrocks to fire at will this will be a short series as the Shamrocks are an offensively gifted team and will eventually break any goalie given the time. Game two goes on Saturday Night at 7pm from Bear Mountain Arena.