October 6, 2016
by Anna Taylor
Josh Currier can finally stop worrying about whether he’ll be drafted to the NLL this year.
The 23 year old, who just finished a spectacular sophomore season with the MSL’s Peterborough Lakers, expressed before last Monday’s draft an uncertainty that any team would want him despite mock drafts placing him as high as seventh at one point. It’s not that he didn’t believe in himself. He’s just a truly humble kid.
He’s so humble that he won’t be the one to tell you that he scored 226 points in 71 games with the junior A Lakers from 2011-2014. In two seasons with the senior Lakers he has 56 points in 28 games, including 45 points this past season, when he finished fourth in team scoring.
He’ll deflect the attention to his teammates or coaches if you ask him about his head-turning play at Virginia Wesleyan College, where he finished as the ODAC’s all time leading scorer with 353 points in 65 games over the course of his NCAA career. He was the rookie of the year, player of the year twice, and was All-American all four years.
A week before the draft, the Peterborough native hadn’t spoken to many teams, least of all the Peterborough-connection heavy Rochester Knighthawks, but that’s who took him early in the draft at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville, exceeding everyone’s expectations at sixth overall.
“I’m super surprised,” Currier said. “I hadn't really talked to them much so I didn’t see it coming at all. I thought I was going to be a second round guy but I’m really happy about this. Sixth overall, I could never have imagined that.”
Lakers GM and Knighthawks assistant coach Paul Day said the team knew days before that Currier was going to be their pick at number six.
“We need speed and we need someone who plays well without the ball,” Day said. “He makes everyone else better around him with his constant movement. He will also help get us loose balls and extra possessions.”
With four veteran righty forwards already on the Knighthawks roster, Currier might not crack the lineup right away, but when he does fans will be thrilled with his creative plays around the net and ability to score highlight reel goals.
“We have a lot of skilled offensive players and we will have an opportunity for Josh to get comfortable in the system and play his game,” Day said.
Advantages for Currier are already knowing what Day and head coach Mike Hasen will be expecting, and familiarity with a good portion of the lineup hailing from, or playing for, Peterborough.
“Knowing the coaches is really good. I love playing for them in the summer so I’m really happy that I get to play for them again,” Currier said. “I’m starting to train pretty hard already so I’m just going to keep that going. I want to be a big contributor on this team and help them win games so I’ll be working hard for that.”
He scored a lot of pretty goals for the Lakers in the summer but also showed a new toughness that no doubt helped raise his draft stock. He took on veteran agitator Billy Hostrawser in the first round of playoffs, and gave as much abuse back to Billy Dee Smith as he was getting from Smith in the second round. Clearly Currier’s strength is offense but having an all around skill set will only work in his favour.
He hasn’t fully discussed with management what his role will be for the Knighthawks, but, “They mentioned something - I think they’re expecting me to score some goals for them!” Currier chuckled. “So I’m hoping the bigger nets can help out and I can do that.”
He’ll also be good for the Knighthawk’s off-floor image. The team does a lot of work in the Rochester community and runs three outreach programs - Anti-bullying, Healthy Hawks, and Lacrosse101. Currier’s already shown he’s a perfect lacrosse ambassador in Peterborough for the Lakers, working summer camps and winter leagues. He’s a fan favourite among little Lakers fans for the time he takes to interact with them around the arena.
Currier had a lot of support with him on draft day, accompanied by his dad, mom, step-dad, grandfather, and sister. The Currier family is a close bunch and it was a special moment to share together.
“Look how many of them came,” he said happily. “It shows how much support I have back home so it’s easy to do well with that kind of support system. My brothers weren't able to make it but they texted me right away. I have so much support.”
Brother Zach is finishing his senior year at Princeton and is already expected to be a first round pick in the 2017 NLL draft.
Even more special for Currier was sharing the day with a best friend he considers family.
Dan Michel, a 21 year old from Clarington, was drafted 38th overall by the New England Blackwolves. He and Currier have been friends since Michel moved to Peterborough to play for the junior Lakers at age 16.
“Josh really took me under his wing and welcomed me to Peterborough,” Michel recalled. “Being an outsider coming in he made it really easy for me and I grew really close with him and Zach. Some guys on the team used to joke around and call me the third Currier brother because we spent so much time together.”
“We are close,” Currier said of Michel. “It was awesome sharing the experience with one of my brothers.”
Being drafted “has been something I’ve been dreaming about since I was a little kid, so to actually be here and get selected is a dream come true,” Michel said.
Michel had 24 goals and 24 assists for the junior Lakers this year and one assist for the senior Lakers in two games as a call-up. He graduates from the junior program as a three-year captain. He’s currently studying business administration at Trent while co-captaining the men’s lacrosse team, scoring 15 points in 7 games. The Excalibur are in the middle of a so-far undefeated season.
Michel participated in the combine prior to the draft where he was able to interview with several teams and show them his skills. He said his best interview was with the Blackwolves, and is happy he gets to be coached again by the Lakers Tracey Kelusky.
“He coached me my first three years of junior so I got to know him pretty well and I get to see him around the rink in Peterborough so it’s nice having him there,” he said. “I think New England is going to be a good fit for me. I’m just going to play my game, try to win every battle and every loose ball and give it my all in training camp and see what happens.”
Currier and Michel have nothing but praise for each other’s lacrosse game. It’ll be a new experience competing against each other, though.
“Dan’s a really hard worker and great teammate so he would do well no matter where he goes,” Currier said.
“It was a really special moment watching Josh being selected and being able to share that experience with him,” Michel said. “I know how hard he's worked to get there and it's awesome to see that hard work pay off.”
However far Currier is able to go in his lacrosse career, he’ll have his whole family - Michel included - as well as all the fans he’s already endeared himself to, cheering him on. They’ll make sure he stays that kind, humble guy from Peterborough.
Story originally published at http://inlacrossewetrust.com/rochester-knighthawks-josh-currier-sets-sights-on-nll/
September 19, 2016
by Anna Taylor
One week from today the annual NLL entry draft will take place at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville, ON.
This year two Lakers are eligible to be drafted, and both will be high picks. Holden Cattoni and Josh Currier are two of the Lakers young, rising stars who are getting ready to begin their professional careers.
Cattoni had 16 goals and 15 assists in his first full season with the senior Lakers. He had management salivating over him after his first game with the juniors, where he starred for two seasons after ripping up the Rocky Mountain Jr A league. The native of De Winton, AB, just outside of Calgary, was convinced to come to the Lakers by Tracey Kelusky, who Cattoni got to know when he was a ball boy for the Calgary Roughnecks. He just finished his NCAA D1 career at Johns Hopkins with 96 points.
Unfortunately Cattoni won’t be present when his name is called at the draft; he is back home in Alberta for the year and it’s too far to fly, but he is looking forward to finding out which team he’ll be part of to start his NLL career.
He doesn’t know who will draft him, although he says he’s spoken to multiple teams so far. Early predictions from ILindoor.com have the Roughnecks taking Cattoni 5th. It makes sense for them to draft a hometown boy, especially one they’ve known forever.
Whomever drafts Cattoni is getting a special player. “I will bring good athleticism, speed, shooting and scoring abilities to the team that drafts me,” Cattoni says. “I look forward to competing for this team and being an impact player for them.”
Currier just completed his sophomore year with the Lakers, breaking out with 23 goals and 22 assists for 45 points and finishing fourth in team scoring after recording 11 points in his rookie campaign. Currier finished a four year collegiate career this spring at Virginia Wesleyan College, an NCAA DIII school, where he broke record after record and won award after award, finishing as the Old Dominion Athletic Conference’s all time leading scorer with 353 points in 65 games.
Currier will be at the draft next week and says he is already preparing for NLL training camps by getting back in the gym and running to a nearby school to play wall ball.
He hasn’t yet spoken to any teams but is looking forward to the draft so he can finally stop worrying about whether he’ll be drafted at all. He could go anywhere in the first or second round depending on the needs of each team drafting.
“I’ll honestly just be happy if I get drafted. I’m going to be a very hard worker and earn a spot by doing whatever the team needs me do,” Currier says.
Also eligible for the draft are junior Lakers grads Henry Elmhirst, Dylan Hutchison, Dan Michel, and Kyle Trolley. Elmhirst, Hutchison and Michel each suited up for a couple of games for the Sr. Lakers this season while Trolley played with the Ennismore James Gang. The draft can be watched live on NLL.com starting at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, September 26.
September 3, 2016
by Anna Taylor
PETERBOROUGH – Everything good ends too soon. But if you’re lucky, you have your family to help you through the bad times.
That’s who the Century 21 Lakers are leaning on today - their family. Biological and adopted. Everyone involved with the team (fans, too!) is part of the #LakerFam and today we’re all feeling the sting of Saturday night.
The Lakers season came to an end with a 10-7 loss to the Six Nations Chiefs in game seven of the MSL final series. The Chiefs will host the 2016 Mann Cup starting September 9th versus the Maple Ridge Burrards. The Lakers last hosted the national championship in 2012 when they defeated the Langley Thunder in six games. They were defeated in Victoria, BC, last season in six games.
“I would have loved to have hosted the Mann Cup, we’ve had four here, in 04, 06, 10, and 12, and they were awesome,” captain Scott Self said. “For me to be able to go through that again and for the young guys that haven't been through it, it’s really special. That’s the biggest disappointment, is not getting that shot. I have to wait two years for the opportunity to bring it back here. There’s always the Mann Cup out west but it’s a totally different experience than being at home.”
There was shock and disappointment around Peterborough on Saturday evening as the Lakers blew a 3-0 series lead and allowed the Chiefs to complete what they began calling “the reverse sweep.” Five out of seven games in the series were close. Lacrosse is a game of runs and momentum, and whoever has it last will always win the game.
“We had them going into the third and they just surged at the right time. We weren't able to answer and its unfortunate, and very disappointing,” Self said.
The Lakers looked good for forty minutes - they took the lead in the first and although the Chiefs answered every goal, in the second the Lakers pulled away with a two goal lead. However, that lead was cut back to one by the end of the period. That goal by Randy Staats sparked a five goal run from the Chiefs which the Lakers couldn't recover from.
“Two years ago they did the same thing,” Shawn Evans said. “We couldn’t battle back, but when all is said and done the outcome is the outcome. I think we had the energy to win tonight. We had the lead for two periods and we just couldn't close the game.”
In 2014 the Lakers also had a lead; they were up 5-4 until Six Nations scored six straight third period goals. 2016 marks the third year in a row that home floor advantage hasn’t been lucky, with the Lakers taking game seven 6-5 last year at the ILA.
Dillon Ward was awarded the Johnny Shooter Davis award as the MSL playoff MVP as voted by the media in attendance. Ward made 298 saves over the final series and held the Lakers to 21 goals over the last four games. The Lakers had a lot of good shots in those games but Ward became a master of the toe save, kicking out shots from sharpshooters like Grant, Jones, and Evans. He was, to use a cliche, a brick wall.
“They were better. They won the series,” Self said frankly. “It was a very fine line and I think they just had a slight edge at the end of the day on us, and that’s why they won.”
Cory Vitarelli scored first on the game’s only power play, picking up a rebound from a Shawn Evans shot and putting in past Dillon Ward quick-stick style. Dhane Smith rang the ball off the inside post to tie the game at one. Adam Jones and Smith traded long bombs for a 2-2 tie. Chad Culp put a bouncer past Ward and Cody Jamieson scored on a probable offensive too many men situation for the Chiefs that wasn’t called for a 3-3 tie at the end of the first.
John Grant Jr. scored one of his beautiful trademark behind the back goals to open the second. Austin Staats bullied his way to the front of the net for a 4-4 split. Grant answered right back 32 seconds later; Ward got a piece of it but it jumped in.
“He’s one of the best players in the world, you see that backhand tonight, he can still put the ball in the net,” Evans said of Grant’s last MSL game.
Mark Steenhuis put the Lakers up 6-4 but Randy Staats’ late second period goal started the Chiefs run.
Jamieson tied the game at six 3:51 into the third. Subsequent goals from Dan Dawson, Austin Staats, and Dhane Smith sunk the Lakers. Steenhuis scooped up a rebound to get one back at 16:17 with Vinc on the bench for an extra attacker but Randy Staats beat three Lakers defenders to score five hole at 17:29 for the 10-7 lead.
“We weren't doing offensively what coach Kelusky asked us to do and that’s on us,” Grant said. “We were asked to do certain things and we were all trying to win the game. It’s not like we weren’t trying, we just weren't doing what we were asked to, and that starts with me. When you don't stick to the game plan against a good team that’s the result, so we’re all going to have to really think about that.”
Grant took responsibility for the loss after the game, although none of his teammates (or anyone, actually) would agree he is to blame. In fact, the 2016 Lakers may have been the most cohesive unit we've seen in awhile. But Grant is the consummate competitor. He came back to help the Lakers win a Mann Cup. He is not returning to the MSL. It was a hard decision to make, but he has played his last game in a Lakers uniform.
“You try to go out with a win and we didn’t,” he said, fighting tears. “We didn’t do what we needed to do. I didn’t do what I needed to do to help this franchise win a game and it’s going to haunt me forever… It’s time to hang them up when you can’t do what you need to do to help your brothers win.”
Everyone on both teams put everything they had on the floor.
“We should have had it and we didn’t and those are the ones that sting and come back to haunt you,” Evans said. “It definitely hurts right now and the more I keep talking it hurts a little bit more.”
The Chiefs’ biggest spark was Cody Jamieson, who is awaiting knee surgery, strapping on a brace and playing games four through seven, picking up 11 points. He was visibly limping while accepting the gold medals as CLA senior champions. His return in game four was nothing short of inspiring for the Chiefs who used his example of perseverance to rally around.
The Lakers were injured too - Grant has a yet to be diagnosed knee injury; Joel Matthews played game seven with torn oblique muscles; and craziest of all, Robert Hope played most of the series with a broken hand after blocking a shot in game two.
Everybody wanted to win and they did all they could to make that happen. You can’t fault our players. Six Nations is just that darn good. It just hurts so much more when you go to battle with your family and end up on the losing side. But, at least, even if you don’t win, your family will still love you. We still love our Lakers.
“We are a family,” Grant said. “That’s part of the reason why everyone wants to come here and that's why the guys who play here stay here. From the fans all the way down to the water guy, we’re all in this together. It’s the best place to play in the world. That’s why I kept coming back and we just left it out there tonight.”
John Grant Jr., in his final Lakers game, was named the Wiser's 1st Star of the Game. Stephen Hoar was named the One Eighty Hunter Street Defensive Player of the Game.
September 1, 2016
by Anna Taylor
OHSWEKEN - Seven, again.
Let’s hope that seven is the Century 21 Lakers lucky number. For the third year in a row, the Lakers and Six Nations Chiefs will play a seventh game to decide which team is the best in Major Series Lacrosse.
After a 10-7 loss Thursday night at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena, the Chiefs are close to coming all the way back from a 3-0 series deficit. The Lakers won the first three games before the Chiefs won the last three, the Lakers stumbling badly in game four before losing two close games in four and five.
Positively, though, the Lakers played their best lacrosse of the series in the third period of game six, scoring four goals in the period. In fact, the Lakers outscored the Chiefs 7-4 in the last 32 minutes of the game.
Turner Evans, seeing his first action of the series, scored just 37 seconds in to the third which pumped up the Lakers bench. Five goals were scored in the first 4:37 of the period including markers from Shawn Evans and Dylan Evans for the Lakers, and Randy Staats completing a hat trick and Dhane Smith with his second of the game for the Chiefs.
Scott Self and Austin Staats traded goals later in the third period.
Josh Currier appeared to score with 2:15 remaining, bouncing the ball into the right side of the net which Ward had left uncovered. The goal would have pulled the Lakers within two, but the referees denied the goal. Whether Ward pushed the net off (which still should have counted), or the ball didn’t cross the line, it was a blow for the Lakers.
“We were up 3-0 and I think people expected us to close it in four,” Brad Self said, “but before the season started and even going in to the series everyone thought it would go seven. It’s not exactly the way we thought it would play out but we’re in the game seven we thought we’d be in.”
Four out of six games in the series so far have been close, with each team winning only one game handily.
“A couple of bounces here and there,” Self said. “We played solid D, but a bounce and it ends up in the back of our net, that’s the game of lacrosse. The first period wasn't our best, but it wasn't our worst, and throughout the game we got better and we have to play with the same energy.”
The Chiefs led 3-0 after the first on a pair of goals from Randy Staats and one from Dhane Smith. The first two were outside shots while Staats’ second came as he sat on the doorstep of Evan Kirk.
They increased their lead to 6-0 in the second with Cody Jamieson scoring a pair and Stephen Keogh recording one. Adam Jones got the Lakers on the board at 8:04 squeaking a ball past Dillon Ward. Dhane Smith replied a minute later before Mark Steenhuis and Nick Weiss sparked a two goal run for the Lakers to end the period. Weiss took a long pass from Self and fought off a check in front of Ward.
“Our communication is getting better with the defense and offense we’re starting to move the ball, get it working, and letting it do the work,” Dylan Evans said.
Tensions between the clubs continue to boil over as increasing familiarity breeds contempt. Weiss received a boarding major after coming in to support Evan Kirk who was knocked down by Austin Staats, who received a roughing major. Jeremy Thompson took an unnecessary roughness major later in the game after he knocked down Zach Currier, who didn’t have the ball. Shawn Evans came off the bench support the Lakers rookie. While he didn’t get a penalty for it, Brodie Merrill grabbed Brad Self and sucker punched him in the back of the head after Self laid a routine check on Merrill along the boards. Both only received two and ten for unsportsmanlike conduct. Stephen Keogh fought Eric Shewell after being called for an illegal pick. Shewell, in his first game of the series, got Keogh’s helmet off first landed a good punch before Keogh took him down with a couple of bombs to the right temple.
If the Lakers couldn’t quite catch up on the scoreboard, at least they’re still playing as a team and sticking up for each other. Even after the game, you could hear the camaraderie in the dressing room as the team had a long talk, ending with their traditional “Lakeshow” cheer. This team has far from thrown in the towel. Make no mistake, they want to win a championship together.
“I think we just played with desperation. We started to push the pace a bit, play hungry, play aggressive, and we have to continue to do that,” Self said.
The Lakers outshot the Chiefs 53-38. 18 of those shots came in the third period when the Lakers turned on the heat. Evan Kirk made 28 saves.
“Whether you want to call it momentum, whatever it is, that’s the way we want to play and that’s the way we played all year long and it’s the way we played the first three games and the Oakville series so we have to continue to play that way and remember how we played and play with fire and passion,” Self said.
Saturday will be all about momentum - who has it, who can get it, and who can keep it.
“We feel good about how we finished the game tonight but there are a lot of things we need to correct along the way and we’re looking forward to Saturday,” Evans said. “These two teams, in the Ontario finals, you’re betting on it to go seven. That’s what we prepared for going in to this and that’s what we got.”
August 30, 2016
by Anna Taylor
PETERBOROUGH - Those pesky Six Nations Chiefs just won’t go away.
The Century 21 Lakers squandered a second chance to win the MSL final Tuesday night at the Memorial Centre, dropping an 8-6 decision to the Chiefs, who now trail the Lakers only 3-2 for the MSL title. The Lakers had a 3-0 series lead before dropping games four and five.
Fans got excited with a 3-0 lead but sweeping the Chiefs was never a realistic goal. The last two series the Lakers and Chiefs have played both went to seven games. It’s not that the Lakers are playing poorly - it’s that the Chiefs are just as good as the Lakers. They built their team to compete with us.
Their defense has been beyond words in the past two games. They’ve limited the Lakers shots and kept them outside, when many of the Lakers are best in close to the goaltenders.
“They have a bunch of big bodies out there and they’re taking up lanes and being very physical,” head coach Mike Hasen explained. “They’re taking away the passing lanes, and the shooting lanes and they're doing a great job. If they’re doing that the Ward can see the ball and he’s going to stop it.”
Losing 8-1 on Sunday was a bitter pill for the Lakers. They were much improved Tuesday and the game was more like the first two of the series, both one goal, tightly contested games.
“We dug ourselves a hole so we only had one option, we just had to win,” Chiefs goaltender Dillon Ward said. “It started with our last game at home, we had to take care of our home floor and then we wanted to steal one here to take it back home.”
Matt Vinc started a second consecutive game for the Lakers which the team hadn't done yet in the playoffs. Vinc and Evan Kirk had been alternating every other game.
“Vinc played great the other night and we just wanted to keep the momentum going on that side of things,” Hasen said. “He played great there again tonight and we’ll see what we’ll do Thursday.”
Vinc made 36 saves. Ward made 38.
Vitarelli opened the scoring at 3:40 firing a shot past Ward off the bench. Ward knocked him down after but the goal counted. Vitarelli fought off Dan Coates to put the Lakers up 2-0 at 14:49 but Dhane Smith cut the lead in half at 15:51 after a spectacular penalty kill by the Lakers.
“I think we had a better effort tonight and they caught us in that second period tonight with their tranny and our slips and we really couldn't stop it there,” Hasen said. “We just have to move the ball and move our feet. We just have to pass and get through as opposed to pass and watch and hope it’s going to come back to us.”
Cody Jamieson bounced a power play shot past Vinc at 3:39 of the second which started a four goal run for the Chiefs. Randy Staats, Dan Dawson, and Smith with his second put the Chiefs up 5-2. Zach Currier stopped the run picking up a rebound from an Adam Jones shot at 11:42 after he came out of the box from a questionable goaltender interference call. Ward knocked his own net off on the original shot and Currier scooped up the ball just outside the crease and twisted to stay out of the crease himself as he jumped to put it over the sprawling Ward. Ryan Benesch answered that goal less than a minute later to silence the Lakers fans. Shawn Evans got one back late in the period as the Lakers trailed 6-4 after two.
“As long as we move the ball, move our feet, we’ll get good chances and at times tonight we looked a little slow-footed,” Vitarelli said. “When we play at home we seem to have a bit more jump; that’s due to our fans and playing in front of them. We’re getting looks; it’s just a question of burying at the right time.”
Austin Staats gave the Chiefs a 7-4 lead early in the third. Staats, who dislocated his shoulder in game three but returned to play, has been nearly superhuman for the Chiefs. In game five, he left early in the first after twisting his ankle on the carpet.
Chiefs head coach Rich Kilgour is awed by the 18 year old junior call-up.
“That kid is a warrior, I’ll tell you that much,” he said. “The trainer came and said he rolled his ankle really well and might not be back and [Staats] said throw some tape on it and he went back out there… He’s a crash test dummy. He just keeps getting up and going right back in the seat. Great kid, man.”
Staats dislocated his shoulder again at the end of the game but he’ll probably play in game six.
Mark Steenhuis gave the Lakers a spark with a classic power play bomb but as tends to happen, the Chiefs had a near immediate answer for the goal and Randy Staats put them back up three. Vitarelli scored one for the Lakers with Vinc on the bench for the hat trick but it wasn’t enough.
“We know where we’re at, no one’s fooling anyone,” Ward said after the game. “We’re still down 3-2 in the series. I did my part and we came out of here with the victory and that’s what we wanted.”
By game five teams are overly familiar with each other and they know who to key on to stir things up. The whole game was chippy but things nearly boiled over in the third. Vinc was hottest under the collar, getting his hands around Stephen Keogh’s throat at one point after Vinc, Nick Weiss, and Ian Llord combined to take down Dhane Smith behind the net.
With four seconds left, Shawn Evans intentionally bumped Ward behind the Chiefs net. Ward slashed him back so they went at each other with everyone else on the floor coming in to help. Paul Dawson wrestled Evans to the ground while Lakers captain Scott Self grappled with Keogh. Brodie Merrill exchanged punches with Brad Self and Zach Currier while Ward tried to hold Chad Tutton at bay.
The scrum continued out towards centre floor and Tutton emerged fighting Dawson. Tutton got some good shots in but the taller Dawson got the takedown.
Ward exchanged some words with Currier as he collected the strewn Lakers equipment with Dan Dawson coming in and shoving Currier away from his goaltender.
Vinc then started slowly walking towards Dillon Ward, intent on sticking up for his teammates, making it about three quarters of the way before the referees realized his intentions and held him back. Vinc ended up verbally jawing with assistant coach John Tavares on the Chiefs bench.
Six Nations replaced Ward with backup Doug Jamieson for the last four seconds of the game.
While Ward assumed that the Lakers coaches sent Vinc towards him on purpose, Hasen said that wasn’t the case.
“Everyone’s all fired up and the emotions are going through, and sometimes [stuff] happens,” he said.
“Vinc obviously didn't come down with very much urgency so that’s not what he wants to do…I just have to control what’s going on in my end,” Ward said.
Kilgour chuckled about the end of game festivities.
“Just like we did the other night, you get down and you get mad at someone. I’m sure Evy thinks he’s going to get in Ward’s head or something by doing that at the end but they’re men and no one got hurt. It was fun,” he said.
The Lakers know they play better five on five so the goal for game six will be to control their emotions as they look to close out the series. Whichever team has the better work ethic will be the winner.
“We didn’t expect it to be a four, five, six game series so we know it’s going to be tough going back up there,” Vitarelli said. “We know the fourth one is the hardest to win so we’ll go up there with the mentality that we want to get the win but we don’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves.”
“At the end of the day we worked hard to get home floor advantage and we still have it,” Hasen said. “We’re up 3-2 in a series that was expected to go seven so there’s really no panic in our room.”
Game six is Thursday at 8:00pm at the ILA. Game seven, if necessary, will be back at the Memorial Centre 7:00pm Saturday, September 3.
- Attendance was unannounced at the PMC
- Scratched for the Lakers were Turner Evans, John Grant, Bryce Sweeting, Eric Shewell, Josh Gillam, and Joel Matthews. Holden Cattoni and Jake Fox, who now has his name on sweater #7, drew back in.
- The Wiser’s Player of the Game was Cory Vitarelli (3-1). The One Eighty Hunter Defensive Player of the Game was Robert Hope.
August 28, 2016
by Anna Taylor
OHSWEKEN -It’s okay. Winning on home floor will be even sweeter.
After a dominating game three effort, the Century 21 Lakers faltered in game four on the road, going down 8-1 to the Six Nations Chiefs. The Lakers still lead the best of seven MSL final series three games to one. Game five is Tuesday at the Memorial Centre.
Last season, the Lakers won game seven of the finals at the ILA. Of course, there were three buses full of Lakers' fans there to celebrate with them, but that’s nothing like having the 3000 fans who usually pack the Mem Centre there. Now the Lakers have the chance to reward their fans with a home-floor celebration.
Head coach Mike Hasen wasn’t willing to talk about that fact after the loss, though. The team needs time to reflect on the mistakes they made and how best to correct them for Tuesday.
“We gotta play 60 minutes before we even think about that. We just have to worry about the face-off and then roll from there. We just have to come back home and use that crowd to give us a little energy.”
The Lakers and Chiefs were well-matched in the first period, tied 1-1 after 20 minutes. Stephen Keogh got the Chiefs on the board first, returning after a game-three absence. Cory Vitarelli replied for the Lakers on a quick stick cross crease pass from Josh Currier.
The Lakers didn’t fare so well in the second period as the Chiefs built up a 6-1 lead.
Cody Jamieson, who is battling a knee injury that may need surgery, returned to the Chiefs lineup to give them a spark.
“He’s a gamer,” said Shawn Evans. “I had a feeling he might be in the lineup, he’s hurt already so he’s going to be pushing it… They played well, they hit their shots when they needed to, and I don’t think we did a good job.”
Jameson got the Chiefs on the board 51 seconds into the period, and goals from Keogh and Ryan Benesch quickly gave them a 4-1 lead. Austin and Randy Staats both had power play goals later in the period.
“They played extremely well right from the get go. We just couldn't find that jump, couldn't find anything there tonight. They pushed the tempo on us that second period and we just got stuck in the quicksand a little bit and couldn't find that extra little bit to get back in it. We have to be motivated to play a little better.”
Austin Staats scored early in the third period and Benesch added a shorthanded goal. The Lakers were unable to get anything more by Dillon Ward, who made 40 saves including a couple of difficult right toe saves on his Colorado teammate John Grant Jr.
“They switched up their back end a little bit,” Hasen said. “Ward came out like a man possessed, we did have a lot of looks, we hit six or seven posts in the third. It’s not that we didn’t have our chances, they just played extremely well.”
The Lakers got a little frustrated in the third period, spending the last five minutes shorthanded. A number of players on both teams received ten minute misconducts as the referees tried to prevent the game from getting out of hand.
Chiefs head coach Rich Kilgour wasn’t surprised that the Lakers lost their cool a little bit. It happened to the Chiefs at the end of game three. It’ll probably happen again the next time one team gets a big lead.
“If you’re mad at someone at the end of a man’s game sometimes you’re going to go say hi and let him know you’re not happy,” KIlgour said. “It’s a man’s game, it’s a playoff game. It’s not overly dirty, but if someone makes you mad and you’re down 8-1 you might as well go tell him you’re mad.”
Power play chances were even at six, with the Lakers' only goal coming on the man advantage. The Chiefs had two power play goals.
Keogh led with five points, while Jamieson and Dan Dawson had four points each.
Kilgour was practical in talking about the win.
“We’re still down 3-1 so it’s not like we’ve beaten them or anything. We have a lot of work still in front of us. Before you get the second one you have to get the first one so mission accomplished tonight. We had to win one up there sooner or later so it might as well be Tuesday night.”
Evans said that Tuesday will be a different story.
“I don't think we showed up tonight,” he said frankly. “Guys thought the Chiefs were going to roll over and it was going to be easy, but the hardest one to close out is game four. We have to be ready Tuesday, be ready and focused and come to the rink raring to go.”
Josh Currier: "We haven't won anything yet."
August 25, 2016
by Anna Taylor
PETERBOROUGH – The Century 21 Lakers were absolutely on fire Thursday defeating the Six Nations Chiefs 15-9 and taking a three games to none series lead in the best of seven MSL final series.
The winner of this series will hoist the Everett Coates Memorial Trophy as Major Series Lacrosse champions, and will also host the Western Lacrosse Association’s champion in the Mann Cup starting September 9th.
The Lakers built a 7-0 lead by the 13:14 mark of the first period and led 9-3 after the first. Mark Steenhuis led the Lakers with five goals and four assists. Dan Dawson tried to spark the Chiefs with four goals but inconsistent defense was their downfall.
“That was a nice surprise to say the least, usually we’re battling for every single goal we get,” Zach Currier said. “It was nice to get seven quick ones. Their goalie was shaky off the start so we just kept throwing the ball on net and it kept going in, so it was awesome to get off to that good start. Evan Kirk shut it down as always on the back end and we just stayed steady for the rest of the game and it worked out for us.”
The Chiefs were without Johnny Powless, who sat out again with a concussion after playing the first two games. Powless missed the Chiefs first round series versus Brooklin. Throughout the game they also lost Rob Marshall and Dhane Smith to injury and their status is unknown. The Lakers were without Chad Culp and Joel Matthews which allowed Holden Cattoni to stay in and call-up Jake Fox to dress. Both Cattoni and Fox had a goal and two assists each.
Veteran Steenhuis is in awe of the Lakers core of young talent. Josh Currier sits fifth in team scoring and Zach Currier impresses every game with hard nosed defense and quick transition opportunities. Jake Withers continues to be dominant in the face-off circle, Thursday winning 11 of 16 draws against Jeremy Thompson, one of the best in the world. It’s easy to forget that Chad Tutton, Nick Weiss and Robert Hope are only in their 2nd, 3rd and 4th years on this team because they’ve turned into three of the best defenders in the game.
“These young guys on this team, you can’t say enough about them,” Steenhuis praised. “They’re swarming the ball every draw, working their tails off. Our D, our goaltending has been unbelievable all three games and it was really nice for our offense to step up this game and put a few more balls in the net, take some tension off them at the back because they’ve been incredible. I’ve never seen so many blocked shots, shots hitting sticks. It’s remarkable watching those guys play and it gets us excited and it was nice offensively for us to give them a little bit of a cushion because you can see what they can do when you get up by a few goals.”
Both Currier brothers had physical games, with Josh recording a goal and three assists. Zach’s second period shoulder check on Austin Staats was a highlight. Both Curriers were targeted by the Chiefs defense, drawing penalties all game long. Both had multiple chances in front of the net to score as well.
Early in the second period, Randy Staats slashed Zach Currier on the arm, giving the Lakers a power play. Later, Austin Staats laid a slash to Jake Withers. Shortly after that Currier took down Staats, who looked to separate his shoulder as he hit the ground. Staats would return for the third period. Chiefs defenseman Billy Dee Smith slashed and shoved Zach to the ground in retaliation later in the period.
Currier explained the hit from his point of view.
“I was just going hard, going for the ball and the hit was there so I took it,” he said. “It’s not like I was trying to hurt him or get a cheap shot on him but I hit him as hard as I could and tried to get a clean hit on him... I’m not complaining if they’re coming after me, they have to switch something up down 3-0 in the series but it’s a good sign for me that I’m getting under their skin.”
Smith went after Josh Currier in the third period, taking a two minute illegal cross checking penalty and later an elbowing major on separate plays, in addition to multiple pushes and slashes. Currier also took a cross check to the head from captain Sid Smith.
Both Dan and Paul Dawson tried to engage the Curriers at separate points in the game, Paul and Josh taking roughing penalties in the first before Dan went after Zach in the third. Brothers taking on brothers was a highlight of the game. There are four sets of brothers in the series.
“I don’t know what’s going on there. I don't know whether it has anything to do with the last name or just being in playoffs and just getting each under each others skin,” Josh Currier said. “That’s just what happens in playoffs, the tempers flare and it’s just the way she goes.”
Josh, in his second year in the MSL, is a scorer, and doesn’t usually get involved in extra-curricular stuff, taking only a single penalty in the regular season. He’s been playing with more confidence lately and was in a fight in the first round versus Oakville and spent time mixing it up with a few Chiefs Thursday night.
“You have to take the bumps and bruises to get the wins,” he said.
Shawn Evans opened the scoring on a delayed penalty just 2:18 into the game. Cory Vitarelli followed it up less than a minute later. Brad Self picked off a pass at 6:08, running three on zero with Zach Currier and Nick Weiss before leaping over Currier who had been knocked down by Austin Staats. It was one of Self’s all-time prettiest goals. Self passed to Mark Steenhuis on the next possession and Steenhuis unloaded a hard shot that chased the Chiefs starting goaltender Dillon Ward. Replacement Warren Hill let Cattoni score before Ward came back in, allowing goals from Shawn Evans and Josh Currier as the Lakers built their lead. Hill finished the rest of the period. Ryan Benesch, Dhane Smith, and Dan Dawson added goals for the Chiefs but John Grant Jr. and Steenhuis added goals for a 9-3 lead after the first.
“Our offense was shooting the ball really well,” Josh Currier said. “We were getting off the floor and our D was playing great so shutting them down to zero was just as impressive as getting the eighth.”
Ward was back in goal for Six Nations in the second. Dan Dawson sandwiched a Steenhuis marker before Steenhuis flipped the ball to Self who scored on a quick stick for an 11-5 Lakers lead after two.
Jake Fox scored his first of the playoffs early in the third before Steenhuis scored his fourth. The Chiefs went on a short three goal run from Dawson and the Staats brothers to bring them to 13-8. It was as close as they could get.
Cattoni had the assist of the game, losing his stick and kicking the ball right into Vitarelli’s stick. Vitarelli buried it for the Lakers 14th goal at 14:52. Steenhuis capped the game with a power play goal as Craig Point scored shorthanded. Things got ugly towards the end as the Chiefs frustration became evident.
Randy Staats knocked down Evan Kirk with just over three minutes left. Ian Llord tried to retaliate but was tied up by Brodie Merrill. Dan Dawson threw down Zach Currier who had also been trying to get at Staats. Dawson took his own helmet off, ready to fight, and continued to try to instigate things even after referee Ian Garrison had stepped in. Currier then pointed at the scoreboard as Staats and Benesch berated him as he left the floor.
The Chiefs started with a full roster but with two injuries and six misconducts they finished the game with just eight runners. Both Dawsons, Brodie Merrill, Billy Dee Smith, Dan Coates, and Jeremy Thompson all took ten minute misconducts in the third period.
The Chiefs looked disorganized and at times disinterested but Zach Currier expects them to rebound hard on Sunday at the ILA. The Lakers gave the Chiefs no power play opportunities but they won’t count on that happening again. The Lakers were 2/6 on the power play.
“In their barn they always get a lot more chippy especially with their crazy fans behind them,” Currier said. “They’re really energetic with that stuff as well so we just have to stay away from it as much as we can. We want to stay five on five rather than going four on four or three on three, so we just have to stay disciplined like we did tonight and just keep playing the way we’re playing.”
Steenhuis said the Lakers can’t be complacent.
“You’re looking over at their bench at the players they have and how talented they are so you can’t really start smiling and laughing on the bench because with three or four shots they can get three or four goals real quick and they’re right back in the game… Everyone kept their heads, kept going the right way, doing the right things, saying the right things, playing the right way which is most important and the final result went our way.”
Josh Currier echoed some words familiar to Lakers fans who followed their journey to Victoria last season. Dan Dawson said basically the same thing after the Victoria Shamrocks went up 3-2 in the 2015 Mann Cup. We know how that worked out for them.
“We haven’t won anything yet,” Currier said. “Even when we were up… our mentality was just to keep pushing. Being up 3-0 we haven't won anything so we’re just going to keep pushing until we get to four games. Game four is going to be really hard to win. They’re not just going to give it to us so we’re going to have to come out and play just as well or better than what we did tonight.”
- Attendance was 3537.
- Mark Steenhuis was named the Wiser’s Player of the Game, while Zach Currier was named the One Eighty Hunter Street Defensive Player of the Game.
- Also scratched for the Lakers were Turner Evans, Eric Shewell, Bryce Sweeting, and Josh Gillam.
- Dylan Evans was 9/10 on face-offs and Nick Weiss 1/1.
- Olympic bronze medallist in rugby sevens Hannah Darling participated in the ceremonial faceoff and greeted fans in the Hall of Fame prior to the game.
Game four is this coming Sunday in Six Nations. A full fan bus is going. Game five, if necessary, will be on Tuesday, August 30 at the Memorial Centre.
August 23, 2016
by Anna Taylor
OHSWEKEN - Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, as the saying goes. It means don’t get ahead of yourself. But, a 2-0 series lead in the best of seven MSL final for the Century 21 Lakers should have fans cautiously optimistic.
After a 7-6 win in game two at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena, Lakers' defenseman Brad Self expects the Six Nations Chiefs to come back hard in game three.
“They have winners on their team,” Self said. “We expect nothing less. It’s only going to get harder as we go. We know that, so yes it’s nice being up 2-0, but we have to continue to get better because we know they’re going to continue to get better.”
The Lakers have been able to pull it together late in the third periods of both games one and two. The Chiefs and Lakers have been evenly matched for years so whichever team wins, it will come down to the one that makes the fewest mistakes late in games.
“I’m blessed with a veteran defensive core that knows how to win and they're bringing along some rookies and second year players to what we need to do to win so I'm lucky to be able to do that,” assistant coach Bobby Keast said.
“We’re very very strong as a group,” Self said. “When we get set up five on five with goaltending like Kirky and Vno it makes our job a whole lot easier. Our offense is getting off the floor and we can all get on and pick up and it’s nice to watch.”
In both games one and two, the Lakers' goaltending has been outstanding late in the game. Tuesday, after giving up a 3-1 lead after the first, Vinc become a man possessed allowing just three more goals in 40 minutes, including two from Dan Dawson, whose nickname isn’t “Dangerous” for nothing - he’s dangerous with the ball and rarely misses his mark.
Vinc made 37 saves in the win, all quality stops. He was square to all the shooters. He and Evan Kirk continue to rotate one game each, but it’s a strategy that continues to work, not allowing shooters to get used to a goaltender.
Self says the team has all the confidence in the world in both their goaltenders.
“How can you go wrong, right? Both those goalies are unbelievable world class goalies. They've had our confidence all year and we know they’ll continue to do that for us,” he said.
Tied at four heading into the third, the game was back and forth. Dawson gave the Chiefs a 5-4 lead until the Lakers scored three straight for a 7-5 lead. Cory Vitarelli tied the game at five scoring a beauty over his shoulder. The game remained tied until 15:23 when Vitarelli parked himself on Dillon Ward’s doorstep and fired a pass from Evans into the net. Cattoni scored the game winner, getting in alone and boosted by the “Let’s go Lakers!” chants, at 16:44. It had been an insurance marker, but Brier Jonathan scored with 39 seconds to play to draw the Chiefs within a goal.
“Thats huge for him,” Self said of Cattoni’s goal. “I’m sure for some of these younger guys and even veteran guys who occasionally get out of the lineup, it says a lot about their character when they’re on one of the better teams… sometime you have to sit and then it’s nice when they get back in the lineup and get some goals for us. We count on everyone in our lineup, whether they're in it one night or the next.”
Self opened the scoring, wrestling the ball from Ryan Benesch on a power play. The Chiefs had pulled Ward to even things up while they killed the penalty and Self beat Ward back to the open cage. The Chiefs then went on to score three in a row for a 3-1 lead after the first, with Dhane Smith sandwiching a Ryan Benesch goal.
Cattoni spun off a check to open the second period scoring to pull the Lakers within a goal. Mark Steenhiuis then scored a pair of power play goals on passes from Shawn Evans, one of those a neat little behind the back flip, to put the Lakers up 4-3. Dawson faked out Vinc to tie the game at four before the period was over.
The Lakers lead the Chiefs two games to none in the best of seven series. Two more wins and the Lakers will play for the Mann Cup. If they play like they did in the last 40 minutes of game two, that possibility will become a reality.
Keast said that it’s all about recognizing when a mistake is made and working to correct it.
“We were really fortunate to be able to watch the game tape from last game and make minor adjustments and that’s all we needed to do, minor adjustments to not need to go to overtime to pull out a victory,” he said.
Cattoni took the place of John Grant in the lineup. Zach Currier sat out while Bryce Sweeting drew back in. Also scratched were Turner Evans, Eric Shewell, Jake Fox, and Josh Gillam. Keast says the Lakers have a defensive rotation in order that everyone sees playing time, and so far it’s been working.
Game three is Thursday at the Memorial Centre at 8:00 p.m. Game four is back at the ILA on Sunday, August 28. If necessary, the Lakers will host game five on Tuesday, August 30.
August 21, 2016
by Marla Taylor
PETERBOROUGH - If you were one of the 3197 fans at the Century 21 Lakers vs Six Nations Chiefs opening game Sunday evening, you’ll know the game was one of the most entertaining, nail-biting, whacking and slashing events anywhere that night. If you weren’t there, and would like to be, c’mon down Thursday August 25 to the Peterborough Memorial Center at 8 p.m. Game three of the MSL final will get underway.
The Lakers defeated the Six Nations Chiefs 12-11, doing so in double overtime periods. The score wasn’t actually that close all the way through. For the first two periods, the Chiefs led both frames, 3-1 in the first and 8-5 ending the second. The Lakers weren’t getting many inside shots as the opposition defense was simply too strong. That was borne out in the first period, but things were changing in the second even though Lakers still trailed in the score. The most obvious change was the number of goals our guys scored. Four. After Shawn Evans’ lone first period marker, Adam Jones, Chad Culp, Jones again, and Mark Steenhuis all descended on Dillon Ward and fooled him with close-in, over-the-shoulder, even standing alone and unnoticed at the side of the net (that was Jones) shots.
Six Nations replied with equal brilliance. Ryan Benesch, an eighteen-year old Junior call-up Austin Staats, and Dan Dawson, whose stick is held so high (he’s 6’5”) that he scores easily, opened the first period scoring. David Brock, Dhane Smith with two, Craig Point and Austin Staats again, replied in the second.
The play was back and forth, little stopping, although it got rough especially in the second as eight penalties were assessed. When the third period began, it picked up where it had left off in the second, with Staats scoring his third goal and making the title “hat trick” his own for awhile. Zach Currier absolutely flew through the side of the crease, but outside enough that his goal counted. The score was 9-6 Six Nations. Staats threw in another for good measure, giving the talented player four goals and one assist. 10-6 for Six Nations.
Anyone who has followed the Lakers for even just a few years, knows that being down by four goals is never the end, but a challenge, and thus, a beginning. John Grant Jr. saw that and began a comeback that was infectious. At 11:25 in the third, he accepted a pass from Robert Hope, dashed across the front of Ward’s net, separated the defense, and scored! 10-7.
Adam Jones aimed a shot over Ward’s shoulder and increased the score to 10-8. He wasn’t finished. A minute later, at 14:22, Jones again ran through the crease and sent a bolt of lightning from outside the crease that fooled Ward again. 10-9. Momentum was very high.
A backhand shot from Grant almost scored. Only by sliding to the floor could Ward get a piece of it and prevent a tie….But, it was coming. You could feel it in the air. At 17:14, Shawn Evans planted himself in front of the Chiefs’ goalie, but taunted him by keeping his back to him. Ward didn’t know when Evans would move, or to which side. Suddenly, Evy flew around and faced him and let the shot rip right by him. Ward had no chance. 10-10 and on to overtime.
The first ten minute period was all action, no penalties, just hard work and concentration. Adam Jones scored his fifth of the game with an overhand shot aimed low to the ground. 11-10 Lakers (their first lead of the game). At 7:27, Craig Point tied it up with a shot so hard that it went in the net and right back out again. Not everyone knew a goal had been scored, but it had! The period ended 11-11.
The second overtime was ‘sudden death’. Jones accepted a pass from Zach Currier and aimed another wicked overhand shot low to the net and that was it. 12-11 and the Lakers had won!
Sock Trick player Jones stopped by after the game to visit with press. When asked if the Lakers were flat and took awhile to get into the game, he replied that “both teams are planning on a long series, as usual, so I think there’s more feeling out the other team, and I think that kind of caught us, put us down a few goals unfortunately. You see who they have, and how they’re playing, and you get adjusted to the series. I’m sure next game we’ll make some changes and maybe have a little better start, and hopefully we can take game two.”
Was there a turning point? To that Jones commented “I think they had a couple of power plays, and Kirky made a couple of big saves near the end and I think that kind of gives you a boost. Anytime a transition guy or a D guy gets a goal like Zach Currier did tonight, you feel like a weight is lifted off you as an offensive guy so I think that goal may have been the spark for us.”
To win a game the way they did, inch by inch, goal by goal, he said “I think a lot of teams will say they’d rather win a game like that than a blowout. It builds character and gives us confidence for the rest of the series if we’re down a few goals late, there’s always hope that we can come back.”
John Grant Jr. also stopped by and was essentially asked the same inquiries. As to the change in the team’s fortunes in the third, he surmised they responded to “a sense of urgency. I think it was a chess match for most of the night. I think we were trying to feel each other out, and sometimes everyone’s a little passive and our backs were against the wall. I think our D stepped up huge and Kirky played incredibly well down the stretch, so we were able to get some balls down to Dillon Ward. He’s an excellent goalie. To go into two overtimes with only a couple of goals scored, that’s all defense right there, so our offense has to get better, and we can’t rely on Jonesy to get a sock trick every night…We need to be better. That’s a great team across the floor there-we’re going to step up on Tuesday and the boys will take care of business.”
He added “We showed a lot of heart. We came back. Both sides of the floor had to step up to get that win. Game one is now ours and we have to go and try to get game two on Tuesday.”
As to Grant being a big part of the comeback (he had three points in the third) he said he didn’t “remember getting any. I was awful. These might be the two worst days ever (MLL final rain delayed, airport delays all made him arrive very late, tired and hungry. He was honored Sunday at 5:30 and given the key to the city, by the mayor.) I think I have to give the key back the way I played tonight…but it was a long weekend, mentally draining, and I’m glad we got this win or that would have been a long long flight home tomorrow. I’m just happy that this team allows me to come around and help out and hopefully we get some more wins.”
Adam Jones was named the Wiser's 1st Star of the Game. Stephen Hoar was named the One Eighty Hunter Street Defensive Player of the Game.
Game two is this coming Tuesday, August 23 in Six Nations. Call Sammi at 705-874-5615 or 705-768-2669 to get on the fan bus. The Lakers return home on Thursday, August 25 to host game three.
August 20, 2016
by Anna Taylor
For the third year in a row, the Century 21 Lakers have a date with the Six Nations Chiefs in the MSL final.
The Lakers defeated the Oakville Rock Monday night 6-4 to win their semi-final series four games to two. The Chiefs defeated the Brooklin Redmen also in six games.
“It seems like we can’t get away from playing them,” said Lakers goaltender Matt Vinc.
Each of the past two series between the Lakers and Chiefs have gone the full seven games. In 2014, the Chiefs defeated the Lakers at the Memorial Centre in game seven. They subsequently hosted and won the Mann Cup. Last year, the Lakers beat the Chiefs at the ILA in game seven with Turner Evans breaking a 5-5 tie in the third period. The Lakers won the right to visit the Victoria Shamrocks in British Columbia where they lost the Mann Cup in six games.
The Lakers finished first in the MSL and the Chiefs second, so the Lakers hold home floor advantage for the final. Games 1, 3, 5, and 7 will be at the Mem Centre. Game one is Sunday, August 21, so the Lakers have a few days off to rest and recoup themselves from their hard fought Oakville series.
“We’re expecting this series to go the distance,” Mark Steenhuis said. “We’re going to prepare ourselves. We have to prepare our bodies, have to prepare our minds and get on the right track.
Definitely the last couple games we played against Oakville really helped us getting our mindset where it needs to be.”
The Lakers were 2-1-1 against the Chiefs this season, winning both games at the Memorial Centre. They lost once and tied once at the ILA.
“They’re [in the final] for a reason, they’ve got star power top to bottom,” Vinc said. “We’ve played them tough, we’ve tied them, we’ve had one goal games throughout the regular season. They’re going to be a good team, they’re going to be playing hard and we can’t give them good looks like we did with Oakville and let them get on runs because they have experience. They have a lot of championship guys on their team looking to get another ring on their finger.”
While Oakville was tough, the semi-final was nothing like the final will be. The Chiefs are deeper and more experienced than the Rock were and have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to talent.
“They’re an all star team in any league whether it’s the MSL or NLL,” Steenhuis said. “They have a boatload of talent. They have so much talent, all star guys are sitting in their lineup. It’s going to be physical, it’s going to be rough, its going to be dirty, you know how Lakers against Nations goes.”
Game 1 – Sunday, August 21 7:00pm Peterborough Memorial Centre
Game 2 – Tuesday, August 23 8:00pm Iroquois Lacrosse Arena
Game 3 – Thursday, August 25 8:00pm Peterborough Memorial Centre
Game 4 – Sunday, August 28 7:00pm Iroquois Lacrosse Arena
Game 5 – Tuesday, August 30 8:00pm Peterborough Memorial Centre**
Game 6 – Thursday, September 1 8:00pm Iroquois Lacrosse Arena**
Game 7 – Saturday, September 3 7:00pm Peterborough Memorial Centre**
August 15, 2016
by Anna Taylor
OAKVILLE - It might have taken one more game than everyone wanted, but the Century 21 Lakers emerged victorious from their MSL semi-final series versus the Oakville Rock. The Lakers defeated the Rock four games to two, taking game six by a score of 6-4. The Lakers scored four unanswered goals and Matt Vinc had a third period shutout on Monday evening at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre.
The Lakers will now face the Six Nations Chiefs in the MSL final. That series begins Sunday, August 21 at the Memorial Centre.
All season long the Lakers had been rotating their two all-star goaltenders and the strategy had been working. However, in the series versus Oakville, prior to game six Evan Kirk was 3-0 and Vinc was 0-2. The Lakers coaching staff has all the confidence in the world though in both their goaltenders and kept up their back and forth rotation. The move paid dividends as Vinc had perhaps his best game ever in a Lakers uniform. He stopped 42 shots, only allowing four goals over 60 minutes. Just FOUR goals.
“It just looks better because there were only four on there,” Vinc said. “Oakville was doing such a good job on us on transition. I think we really bought in and really took that part of their game away and allowed the defense to do what they’ve been doing all year, making it tough on a lot of offences.”
The Rock scored most of their goals on transition in the early part of the series so the Lakers defense focused on shutting that down, and in game six, turned the tables. Three of the Lakers goals were scored by defensemen running up the floor.
“It was great for us to build as the series went on,” Vinc said. “We felt a little adversity there after game four and I really liked our push back and the way we responded in game five. Coming here hasn't been too good to us. We played a solid game all around, not really giving them a lot of looks. We took their strength away in that transition game.”
Dan Lomas scored the only goal of the first period on a power play, bouncing a shot far side past Vinc.
Nick Weiss cut across the crease to even the game 6:06 into the second period. Mark Steenhuis scored a power play goal that Nick Rose only got a piece of three minutes later for a Lakers 2-1 lead. Wesley Berg tied the game again after Jason Noble grabbed a ball that had bounced off some out of bounds glass and back into the arena. Berg cut to the net and put it in stick side. Jeremy Noble scored from a sharp angle at 13:44 and Lomas scored his second on a quick stick through a screen at 17:57 for a 4-2 lead. Steenhuis potted his second almost jumping over Rose to cut the Oakville lead to one goal at 19:30.
The third period was where the magic happened. Vinc blocked every shot he saw and the Lakers defense withstood two power plays by the Rock and an extended period of time with an extra attacker towards the end of the period. The Lakers defense played their best game of the series.
Bryce Sweeting said it was an intense game to be a part of.
“It really came down to all the little things,” he said. “We worked together as a five man unit - really a six man unit with Evan Kirk helping on the bench - giving them the shots that Vno wanted to see, forcing them into the right shots. Just playing lockdown, playing defense first and then worrying about offense later.”
Chad Tutton tied the game early in the third throwing an over the left shoulder shot into the net. It was Tutton’s second shot of the shift. The Lakers had three in a row on the possession with Cory Vitarelli also hitting Rose’s pads. At 5:56, Chad Culp whipped a shot through a screen, that goal proving to the be the game winner. Jake Withers then won the ensuing face-off which allowed Stephen Hoar to add an insurance marker ten seconds later.
Steenhuis, who sparked the Lakers with that late second period goal, said the win feels great.
“This was a tough fought series,” he said. “We knew we were going to be in tight. They're a good team, they run, their style kind of contrasts ours so it’s always a tough matchup. They play every point, they play 100 miles an hour and it was a big series win for us. It brought the guys together, facing some adversity. They said a few things in their locker room that really sparked us in ours so it was nice to come out on top and obviously being the winner it’s a little sweeter that you can give it back to them.”
Without Billy Hostrawser, the Rock lacked any toughness. Hostrawser was suspended after a match penalty in game five. Super pest Mitch Desnoo didn’t have his role model in the lineup, so he mostly stuck to clean lacrosse. It was the most even game of the series in terms of special teams although Oakville had eight power plays compared to Peterborough’s four. The Lakers kept the Rock to one power play goal thanks to hard nosed penalty killing from Zach Currier, Nick Weiss, and Jake Withers who took a lot of abuse along the boards all game.
“We took some penalties so anytime they're going to be on the power play they're going to get some good looks,” Vinc said. “But we were down 4-2 and we were able to come back with a huge push and not give them any looks late in the game and I like the way our transition game woke up and I think that was the difference tonight.”
The Lakers will spend the week preparing to meet the Six Nations Chiefs. The winner of that series will host the 2016 Mann Cup.
Sweeting echoed the thoughts of all the players when looking forward to the final.
“They’re going to be a tough battle. its going to be a long, hard fought series.”
August 11, 2016
The Century 21 Lakers are proud to announce that long time Laker, and now assistant coach, Tracey Kelusky today has been named to the National Lacrosse League's hall of fame.
Kelusky grew up in the minor Lakers lacrosse system, starring for the junior and senior Lakers. He also starred in the National Lacrosse League and is now an assistant coach.
Former Laker player John Tavares was also named to the hall along with present Oakville Rock GM Josh Sanderson.
August 13, 2016
by Anna Taylor
PETERBOROUGH – There will be another Century 21 Lakers game at the Memorial Centre this season. The Lakers ensured that next game with a 10-7 game five win over the Oakville Rock in their best of seven MSL semi-final series which the Lakers now lead three games to two. Game six is Monday night in Oakville. If necessary, game seven will be back at the Memorial Centre on Thursday, August 18. If the Lakers win Monday, the next game at the Mem Centre will be the first game of the league final versus the Six Nations Chiefs, who defeated the Brooklin Redmen four games to two in the other semi-final.
Midway through the second period the promise of another game was in doubt with the Lakers down 5-3 with a Joel Matthews tally called off for too many men on the floor. The game was a seesaw battle with little momentum and a restless crowd screaming at the referees.
Adam Jones scooped a loose ball in the crease and rolled it past Nick Rose to start the comeback at 13:23. Shawn Evans bounced a shot into the net at 17:29 on the power play to tie the game. It was his first goal in six games.
“The game was a game of runs. They had their runs and we had to respond,” Lakers head coach Mike Hasen said. “Shawn's our leader. He stirs our drink and makes things go.”
Evans had missed game four with an upper body injury and missed part of the second period in game five after taking a few high hits.
On the next face-off, captain Scott Self got in alone on Rose off the scrambled draw and potted his first of the season over Rose’s left shoulder for a 6-5 Lakers lead. Half the Lakers came off the bench to celebrate with him.
“The boys seemed pretty excited,” Self chuckled about his goal. “Ian Llord made an awesome play. He was stepping on the ball, nobody knew where it was including myself. We made eye contact and he just kind of kicked it to me, the seas parted, and I was able to bury it. It was a big goal. I was pretty excited to be able to contribute in a different way than I usually do.”
Hasen was happy to see the captain score.
“It was a big battle, four guys battling for the ball and it squirted out to Silky and away he went. It was a great play and it was a turning point for us as well, it got a little more energy back in our step.”
Joel Matthews and Cory Vitarelli staked the Lakers to a 2-0 lead halfway through the first period. Oakville rookie Ryan Lanchbury scored on a power play to cut the lead in half at 14:48. Holden Cattoni faked out Rose for the Lakers third goal at 15:36. Brad Gillies picked off a Lakers pass four on four and scored on a fast break at 16:34 to pull Oakville back within a goal after the first period.
Stephan Leblanc, Jeremy Noble, and Brendan Thenhaus had the Rock up 5-3 by the 6:24 mark of the second period.
The Lakers fired an astounding 71 shots at Nick Rose, who made 61 saves. They had 28 in the first period alone, compared to Oakville’s 10. Oakville finished with 41 - 34 saves for Evan Kirk.
“I knew [our shot count] was high after the first period… our offense was awesome tonight just the way they were moving the ball,” Self praised. “You felt bad for them, you could tell they were getting frustrated because Rose was playing so well. But we know eventually any goalie is going to wear down. As the game went on, the more we got to him. He got tired and we finally found the back of the net.”
“They play their system and let Rosey see the ball and when he sees the ball he can stop it,” Hasen said. “We were good. I like our job tonight. We had a lot of quality shots. [Thursday] we were just shooting the ball to shoot sometimes. Tonight we were a little more patient, a little more methodic and we took the shots we wanted to.”
The Lakers took advantage of a lot of rebounds, often getting three shots in a row on resets.
Josh Currier scored just over a minute into the third period to extend the Lakers lead to 7-5. Dan Lomas got one back for Oakville at 3:36 but Evans bounced another shot past Rose for his second of the game at 8:39. The Rock pulled Rose with over three minutes left for an extra attacker.
Late in the period, Nick Weiss blocked a shot that Brad Self scooped up. They ran down two on one and Weiss beat Rose who was barely back in his net for a 9-6 lead. Jeremy Noble scored at 18:56 for the Rock but Zach Currier iced the game with an empty netter at 19:46.
The game was rough all the way through. Scott Self said they’ve hit the point “in the series where everyone hates everybody.”
Joel Matthews and Mitch Desnoo squared off late in the third period with Desnoo leaving bloody. Nick Weiss, Mark Steenhuis, Bryce Sweeting, Damon Edwards, Glen Bryan, and Eric Fannell all received ten minute misconducts in the last 30 seconds and Brandon Slade received a slashing major. The third period had actually been penalty free until the 19:24 mark.
Super pest Billy Hostrawser was ejected from the game just 7:44 into the first period. On his way to help celebrate Vitarelli’s goal, Shawn Evans gave Hostrawser a shove, and as he tends to do, Hostrawser overreacted a little, pulling Evans helmet off, pushing him to the ground, then throwing the helmet at him. He received a match penalty for unnecessary roughness. Match penalties usually carry suspensions.
The Lakers took their emotions and used them to their advantage.
“We were a team tonight,” Hasen said. “We had 18 guys with a lot of emotion and we played with it which was good to see. We hate to say it but we don't want to come back here (for a game seven). We have to bring that same emotion tonight for Monday and do a road game like that.”
“We hadn't played the first four games with enough emotion and enough oompf,” Self reflected. “They were beating us in that department. They were very hungry to prove themselves… We finished first during the year and we were a little bit complacent. I think tonight we kind of said ‘okay, enough’s enough’, we have to prove ourselves again and I think that was big for us, playing with that emotion and playing on that edge but not over it.”
- Shawn Evans was named the Wiser’s Player of the Game. Brad Self was named the One Eighty Hunter St Defensive Player of the Game.
- Attendance was 2742.
- Sam Meek, the Canadian Junior Boys golf champion, participated in the ceremonial face-off.
- Scratched for the Lakers were John Grant, Josh Gillam, Jake Fox, Eric Shewell, Turner Evans, and Dylan Evans, who was stung near the eye by a bee earlier in the day and is experiencing swelling in the area. Turner Evans has a lower body injury and is day to day. Wesley Berg was out for Oakville.
August 11, 2016
by Marla Taylor
PETERBOROUGH – The Century 21 Lakers dropped an 8-6 decision to the Oakville Rock on Thursday night at the Memorial Centre in game four of their best of seven MSL semi final series. The series is now tied at two games each.
The Lakers and Rock are very evenly matched and are fighting the series with everything they have. Adam Jones led the Lakers with two goals and one assist. Matt Vinc made 44 saves in a losing effort.
Scoring for the Lakers:
Adam Jones (2-1)
Mark Steenhuis (1-2)
Turner Evans (1-1)
Cory Vitarelli (1-1)
Brad Self (1-0)
Jake Fox (0-2)
Josh Currier (0-2)
Two thousand eight hundred and eighty-seven hot and excited fans crowded into the cooled confines of the Memorial Center Thursday evening, with most hoping, and daring to even expect, a victory by their beloved Century 21 Lakers over the steady, and always ready, Oakville Rock. It’s had to be put off only until Saturday August 13, when we’ll do it all over again.
With some still taking their seats or greeting fellow fans, buying 50/50 tickets, not everyone saw the uprising of the Rock, going up 3-0 by the 2:45 mark of the first period. Stephan Leblanc winged a shot to the bottom corner of the net, that quickly slipped in past Matt Vinc, 44 seconds in. Mitch Desnoo made it 2-0 at 1:21 and at 2:45, Wesley Berg aimed a big shot over Vinc's shoulder and it too found the back of the net.
Lakers recovered for the most part and ended the period, down by one, at 4-3. Cory Vitarelli, Mark Steenhuis and Adam Jones, on a power play, all scored and gave the home fans loads to cheer about. The brilliance of Vitarelli’s goal was his positioning; usually on the left, he was helping to fill in for Shawn Evans (upper body injury) on the right. He took a quick pass from Turner Evans and Jake Fox and hey presto, in the net.
The second period ended in a 6-6 tie. The third didn’t. Only Oakville increased its score, although not until halfway through. Play continued back and forth, but was clearly stalled, until Mitch Desnoo accepted a pass from Leblanc and Kozak, and slipped it by Vinc. Almost two minutes later, Dan MacRae did the same. Billy Hostrawser and Nick Rose assisted. Oakville 8, Peterborough 6.
There was plenty of rough stuff and lots of penalties. Some of it may have been remembrance of Evan Kirk flipping Mitch Desnoo over his body and Desnoo landing roughly on the rug in game three. He may have had that in mind in the first period when he went on a crusade against Vitarelli, attacking him at 14:14 just as Steenhuis was scoring (Desnoo's subsequent slashing penalty was erased by the goal). He wasn’t finished by any means. At 18:39, Desnoo charged Vitarelli into Nick Rose and may have continued the punishment except that Joel Matthews flew into Desnoo and threw him to the ground, inflicting real punishment. Matthews received a five minute roughing major; Desnoo two minutes for roughing and three others, Weiss and Cole ten minute unsportsmanlike conduct misconducts, and Hostrawser two minutes unsportsmanlike conduct.
Head coach Matt Sawyer of the Rock is very pragmatic in his approach to, and attitude regarding the Laker team. He says “We try not to worry too much about our opposition. Obviously, we’re getting to know Peterborough well playing here in the playoffs, but we’re big believers in that we need to take care of our own house, and we need to take care of ourselves. We also need to have our game at its peak. We realize we’re playing a great team here, and it’s a team we’ve struggled against, especially up here in Peterborough. We’re not naive to know we’re behind in the series (interviewed prior to game) and we need to find a way to win a game up here. The best way to do that is to be performing at the top of our abilities and have our game tuned in and go. We try to worry about ourselves and not worry too much about Peterborough.”
Lakers general manager Paul Day tackled one of those awful excuses for a question, but I truly wanted to know what was the mindset of the players and coaches, with the possibility of something big happening. What was going through his mind? Just then, the gate flew open, hair flew all over and Mark Steenhuis flew by, answering as he did, “NOT TOO MUCH!” Paul went into peals of laughter, before righting ship and reflecting how “it’s funny coming here on a Thursday night. Sometimes it depends on work and travel, and a long week in September is tough to get here for a lot of the guys. (Last night) was a good traffic night; people wouldn’t think much about that but we got here nice and early and everyone’s prepared. The guys have had a pretty good two nights’ rest, even though it’s been really hot and we’re excited to get back home to the playoffs.”
Following the game, he commented that the Lakers “were pretty much flat for 40 of the 60 minutes tonight, so we’ll certainly change a few things before the (next) game starts. We definitely need to be better and we need to have a little more energy.”
Scott Self gave a detailed examination of the Oakville team, the Lakers, and even what fans can do to maximize the possibilities of winning. “I think we did a pretty good job tonight. We’ve got to be ready for anything with these guys. I think they are really unorthodox. They don’t really go out and set things up. If they see any kind of break in our defense, they’re going for it, no matter who is carrying the ball, so we just have to be ready for that every time we step on the floor.
“Desnoo’s been pretty aggressive and offensive throughout the series. He’s not really known to be that guy. He’s done a good job. It’s tough on Matty Vinc because D guys don’t really know where we’re shooting, and the goalie doesn’t always know where we’re shooting. I think at times we get caught and think ‘oh, he’s not going to shoot’ and then it’s in the back of our net. We need to be a little bit more disciplined on the floor. Just understanding all their guys are shooters - it doesn’t matter who it is - they all have a green light and we need to do a better job of understanding that.”
Self reflected on the loss of game four. “It was our start - it gave them a lot of momentum. I don’t know who on the first one (goal) they caught flat-footed. They caught me flat-footed on the second one. It’s that same mindset where ‘oh there it goes in the net’. I think we need to get out to a better start. If we get up two or three early and get the fans behind us, maybe we could run away with it instead of going back and forth all night."
The Rock “was the team we didn’t want to face out of the other three teams. We did maybe undervalue them a little, but they’re here to play and they think they can beat us, so we need to be better.”
Adam Jones was named the Wiser’s 1st Star of the Game.
Jake Withers, who won 7/10 face-offs, was named the One Eighty Hunter Street Defensive Player of the Game.
Game Five is Saturday night 7:00 p.m. at the Peterborough Memorial Center. Game Six will be in Oakville on Monday.
August 11, 2016
The Century 21 Lakers added a new player to their lineup Thurday; the youngest member to ever wear their jersey.
Thanks To Jack McGee Cadillac Chev Buick , Cleary Homes, Welsh Limousine and the team, The Century 21 Lakers proudly announced that Hugh Johnson has joined the team.
Hugh, 5 years old, attended his first Lakers' game Thursday night (far better than the many doctors, hospitals and even air ambulances to Sick Children's Hospital he has been experiencing).
Hugh is on the team’s injured reserve list. He now has a port in his chest for infusions every other day and has had a bubble-like lifestyle.
The Lakers are proud to make him an honourary member of their team. Chairman Bill Joiner and captain Scott Self presented the team jersey to him on Thursday evening.
All of the Lakers' players, at the spontaneous suggestion of Tracey Kelusky, left the bench to greet their new teammate.
Children’s Make A Wish Foundation arranged for the event. Michele Call and Frank Bertrand have been granting wishes in the Peterborough area for many years.
Century 21 Lakers' players have won three major individual awards in Major Series Lacrosse action this year.
Following is a list of the league's 2016 trophy winners based on ballots from the teams and league statistics, announced by league commissioner Jim Brady.
Jim Murphy Award for Most Valuable Player - Shawn Evans of Peterborough
Bucko Macdonald Award for Scoring Champion - Shawn Evans
Merve McKenzie Award for Most Valuable Defense Player - Graeme Hossack of Brooklin
Gene Dopp Memorial Trophy for Outstanding Rookie was a tie - Jordan Durston of Six Nations & Tyson Bell of Brampton
Terry Sanderson Award for Team Coaching went to - Matt Sawyer, Jon Harasym & Pat Campbell of Oakville
Trophies will be presented during the playoffs.
"Protect our own house now," says Hoar
by Anna Taylor
August 8, 2016
OAKVILLE - Earlier this season, general manager Paul Day joked that the Lakers were allowed one bad game a month. The Century 21 Lakers season started in May, so over the past two months (and last week of May and first week of August), they were allowed four losses. Well, they got August’s slip out of their way last Friday, and on Monday night were once again their dominant selves in a 14-12 game three win over the Oakville Rock at the TRAC. The Lakers now lead the best of seven MSL semi-final series two games to one.
Friday the Lakers admitted they were flat. They didn’t do the little things they needed to, to play a complete game. They scored nine goals but their usual magic was missing. Monday, they buckled down and found their magic, and combined it with a whole lot of skill. No playoff game will be easy and they may even all be one or two goal games, but the Lakers know hard work will keep them on top.
“We came in a little lackadaisical and took these guys for granted,” Adam Jones said of Friday’s loss. “They're a good team down there and if we don't play our best, we’ll lose. We learned our lesson last game and we’re moving forward and working a little bit harder.”
Stephen Hoar said the defense controlled the ball better.
“It was a much better effort,” he said. “We came to play tonight. We controlled the ball tonight. We tried our best to control transition, they're a tough team to play against. We played a full 60 minutes and as we expected it came right down to the wire. It’s going to come down to one shot here and there. We need to continue to be our best moving forward.”
Eleven goals may seem like a lot but the Oakville Rock are in the playoffs for a reason. They are a talented team. That they will score, and lots, is inevitable. The Lakers just have to limit the Rock’s shots and transition attempts and take advantage of their own.
“The Rock have great players, great shooters,” Hoar acknowledged. “They're great in transition, they love to run, they play really really well in their rink and generate a lot of opportunities for themselves and they're going to score … Our offense needs to come to play, our defense needs to come to play and we need great goaltending which we had tonight and we managed to squeak one out.”
Evan Kirk made 46 saves on 58 shots and had the play of the game in the second period, coming out to pick up a loose ball. Kirk ducked to avoid a check from Mitch Desnoo and ended up throwing Desnoo over him hip-check style, although it was head first. It got a big cheer from the Lakers fans in the crowd and the Lakers took advantage of the momentum, as Jones went down to score.
The Lakers went down 2-0 early but rattled off six straight goals for a 6-2 lead by 1:36 of the second period. The Rock fought back and traded goals with the Lakers throughout the rest of the period but couldn't catch up. Peterborough led 10-8 after two.
The Lakers opened up a four goal lead in the third period as Mark Steenhuis scored his third of the game and Adam Jones his fourth. Oakville went on a three goal run to close the gap to 12-11. Steenhuis scored his fourth at 14:02 and the game stayed that way at 13-11 until the last minute when Oakville pulled back within one after a goalmouth scramble. Bryan Cole rolled a loose ball past Kirk at 19:22. Jake Withers gained possession on the ensuing face-off and Josh Currier iced the game with Fryer scrambling to get back in goal, accepting a long pass from his brother Zach at 19:51, marking their first Currier from Currier goal as senior Lakers.
“When we start to focus on the little things, the big things take care of themselves,” Jones said. “I know as a group we were focused on getting off the floor and Oakville had eight transition goals last night and that just gives the opposition easy goals. Our defense played better tonight and we seemed to focus on the little things like staying out of the box and it worked.”
Jones led the Lakers with four goals and two assists. Mark Steenhuis had four goals. Cory Vitarelli had three goals and an assist, Josh Currier two goals and an assist, and Joel Matthews one goal and two assists.
The Rock were led by Wes Berg with two goals and four assists and captain Stephan Leblanc who had two goals and three assists.
The Lakers are happy the series will now switch back to Peterborough for two consecutive games and have hopes of closing out the series. Game four is the usual Thursday evening at 8:00pm. Saturday’s game five is at 7:00pm.
“We love playing in Peterborough,” Hoar said. “We’re 2-1 so going back home we need to protect our own house now. We haven't lost at home (in a long time) and we need to keep that going.”
Jones wants the Mem Centre to be rocking for games four and five.
“Peterborough is the best place to play and hopefully the fans will help us get these next two wins and we can move on from there,” he enthused.
August 5, 2016
by Anna Taylor
OAKVILLE - The Oakville Rock proved on Friday night that they won’t be pushovers this playoff season. The Rock shocked the Century 21 Lakers 12-9 at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville, tying the best of seven first round MSL playoff series at one game apiece. Game three goes Monday at the TRAC and game four is back in Peterborough on Thursday. Game five, which will be necessary, will be Saturday, August 13, also in Peterborough.
Last season the Lakers defeated the Rock in the first round in five games.
Things became tense in the last minute of the third period and perhaps set the tone for game three. With the Lakers down a man, both Currier brothers engaged in separate fights, one after the other. Neither are known for their physical play, Zach known more for his great bursts of speed on transition and Josh for highlight reel goals near the crease.
First Zach took down Dan Lomas, who had tripped captain Scott Self on the previous shift. Currier laid a slash to Oakville captain Stephan Leblanc and Lomas came in to high stick Currier in the face. The two then dropped their gloves, each landing a couple of shots. Currier took him down with an uppercut to the chin.
Josh then tripped up the Rock’s toughest player in Billy Hostrawser by the Oakville bench, and cross checked him twice on the way up for good measure. Billy can’t pass up a tussle so the two went at it. They grappled until Hostrawser got Currier’s jersey over his head at which point Currier just let loose on him, fists flying, landing shots mostly to Hostrawser’s back. Hostrawser landed one good punch to Currier’s face before the refs came in.
“That’s not really my role, I'm not trying to get into any of that stuff but it happens sometimes,” Currier said of the fight. “Honestly I just kind of blacked out. I wouldn't say anyone won.”
“I’d say Currier got the upper hand,” smiled Shawn Evans, who was on the floor trying desperately to get in on the action.
Zach and Josh’s father Roger was in the crowd and he said he was proud of his boys “as long as they don’t get hurt.”
Josh actually ended up with the “Gordie Howe hat-trick,” not commonly seen in lacrosse. A goal, assist (actually two for him), and a fight. He had to add the fight, he couldn't let his younger brother show him up.
Self said the Lakers expected a “chippy” series.
“I think the tone was set in game one that nobody was going to give an inch so I anticipate that it will probably get a little more heated as the series goes on, but that’s playoff lacrosse,” Self said.
Holden Cattoni gave the Lakers a 1-0 lead just 34 seconds into the game beating Nick Rose five-hole. Adam Jones also scored for the Lakers who trailed 3-2 after the first. The Rock had an equal and an answer for everything the Lakers threw at them.
Peterborough looked to be in control early in the second period tying the game and then taking a 4-3 lead on goals from Currier and Chad Culp but five straight goals from Oakville saw them fall behind to play catch up the rest of the game. Matt Vinc was pulled briefly in favour of Evan Kirk which allowed Chad Tutton to pick up a loose ball and beat Rose stick side. Mark Steenhuis also put an outside bounce shot past Rose, but the Lakers couldn't hold the momentum. Oakville got one more before the period ended.
Penalties killed the Lakers, especially in the third while they tried desperately to come back. Brad Self scored on a fast break and Vitarelli had a pair. Zach Currier scored a goal that was called back as a crease violation. Oakville scored three of their own in the frame.
The Lakers did capitalize on the man advantages they were given, with Jones and Vitarelli tallying power play markers.
“I think we were flat,” Self admitted. “You kind of got a sense in warmup that we just didn’t have the same energy and focus that we had in game one. Maybe we had a little bit of overconfidence, after a game like game one. Not that we killed them, but maybe we thought it was going to be easy, but these guys are a good young team and there’s no quit in them so we need to be better Monday.”
The Rock finished fourth, eight points back of the Lakers in the standings, but they were closer than that most of the season and Friday showed why the race for first place was so tight.
Stephan Leblanc, Damon Edwards, Wes Berg, and Jeremy Noble all had two goals and two assists each for the Rock. Nick Rose was a wall in the Oakville net.
August 2, 2016
by Anna Taylor
PETERBOROUGH – The Century 21 Lakers, on the night they honoured their greatest player, defeated the Oakville Rock 8-3 in game one of the best of seven first round MSL playoff series.
John Grant Jr.’s #24 jersey will be officially retired at the end of the season. No Laker will wear the number again. Tuesday evening, the Lakers honoured Grant and his family with an on floor pre-game celebration and banner raising.
It was an emotional night for Grant, who has been the cornerstone of the Lakers offense for the better part of 20 years. He played two years out in Coquitlam in 2002 and 2003 but was always a Laker at heart.
“Since I was four or five I literally followed my dad every to game, every practice, plus he coached me from tyke right through to my first year of Junior A so I probably spent more time here than anywhere else in the world,” Grant reflected. “I constantly looked up at the banners wanting to win Mann Cups, basically chasing my dad’s legacy down, wanting to get Mann Cups won, and just to be part of the Lakers. I was lucky enough to do it, I played forever then went away and came back in ’04. The twelve years I’ve been back have been the most memorable times of my life.”
Present with Grant on the floor were members of his family including his wife Raygen, daughter Gabby, and mother and father Louise and John. He was joined by longtime friend Tracey Kelusky, as well as the Lakers leadership team of Scott Self, Brad Self, and Shawn Evans, who unveiled the banner.
Grant was honoured with speeches from Kelusky and Lakers president Ted Higgins. Kelusky gave a touching tribute to his friend, saying that “we were kids out here on this floor, dreaming of playing in front of this crowd. Junior, what you went on to accomplish is beyond words. John Grant Jr. is the person that kids want to grow up to be. We wanted to be the Gait brothers. Kids across the world now want to be John Grant Jr. “
Hard as he tried not to, Grant teared up during his thank you speech.
“I got emotional when I found out this was all happening. It was very unexpected… It was hard for my family to keep it under wraps because they were helping with it. It hit me trying to write the speech. I never plan anything, I never write speeches, not even my vows!” Grant chuckled. “But I knew that if I didn’t have anything prepared I wouldn't be able to get through it and I barely did. I welled up and I could barely read the page.”
Grant wears his love for the city of Peterborough on his sleeve. He is humble and grateful to have come from this place.
“This city and this barn mean everything to me,” he expressed. “I'm blessed to be able to do this and my work in Denver is allowing it. My family has put up with me travelling for 20 years so it was a special evening and I'm glad we got the win. The people that are up there are the best lacrosse players, not only in Peterborough, but in the world, so I’m very very humbled to be up there with them.”
Appropriately, Grant opened the scoring for the Lakers at 3:09 of the first. Nick Rose got a piece of the shot but it trickled in. Oakville got that one back at 7:48 as Wes Berg scooped up a rebound. Brad Self picked off a pass and finished a three on one break at 10:49 putting the Lakers up 2-1. Cory Vitarelli scored on the power play at 14:06 for a 3-1 Lakers lead after the first.
“I wanted it,” Grant said of getting the game’s first goal. “Anyone that knows me knows that stuff is important. I hit a pipe the very first shift, that would have been good. Whether it was the adrenaline or what I felt younger than I have the last few games and I’m just happy I could help the team win.”
Grant picked up his second goal on a screened shot at 8:40 of the second. The Rock scored two quick goals off of face-offs to pull within a goal at 4-3 from Glen Bryan and Jeremy Noble. Vitarelli gave the Lakers back a two goal cushion at 12:47.
The third period was all Lakers as both teams began playing with an edge. Joel Matthews put an overhand shot over Nick Rose at 13:24, giving a “shh” motion to the Rock bench. Mark Steenhuis scored on the crease at 14:57 before Grant iced the game with an empty netter at 16:53. Three pairs of offsetting roughing minors highlighted the period along with a five minute slash to Billy Hostrawser.
“It’s going to be a long series,” said goaltender Evan Kirk. “[Oakville is] a good team, that’s why it’s four out of seven. They earned the right to be here. It’s going to be tough back and forth… It’s going to be a chippy series and that’s going to help us in the long run. We just have to stay composed and we have to give it back to them just as much as they give it go us. Team tough, all five guys out there. We don’t want to do anything stupid, just play tough.”
It was also a special night for Kirk, who stopped 61 shots in the win - a career high, according to his father David.
“I didn’t know I was that busy, I was just focused on the ball,” Kirk said. “There were big saves but my defense made it easy work. They got in the lane. I saw the ball really well. I just stood up and it was pretty easy to tell the truth.”
“[Kirk’s] been playing out of his mind and what can I say, we have another goalie on the bench that’s all-world too. We’re very, very lucky,” said Grant. “We got a great lead. Offensively we could have played better tonight but a win is a win and we’re looking forward to Friday.”
Kirk said he doesn't know yet who will start in goal on Friday, but knows that the coaching staff has confidence in either himself or Matt Vinc.
“I think [switching off] has been working for us all year. Vno’s thinking about next game, that he's going to play well, and vice versa. It’s working really well and I know we both look up to each other a whole lot and we enjoy playing with each other and being on each others’ side. Whoever plays is going to be good.”
Grant finished the game with three goals and two assists, wearing his familiar #24. It is custom for a jersey to no longer be worn once retired, so Kelusky presented Grant with one of Kelusky’s old jerseys, though he admitted the #71 might be little small for Grant.
However, Grant concluded his speech with “If you guys don't mind I'm going to keep wearing this jersey for another month or so.”
Right up until the end of the Mann Cup, he means. Then he’ll let us officially retire it. Probably.
- John Grant Jr. was named the Wiser's 1st Star of the Game. Evan Kirk was named the 180 Hunter Street Defensive Player of the Game.
- Scratched for game one were Turner Evans, Jake Withers, Eric Shewell, Josh Gillam, and Holden Cattoni.
- Attendance was 2427.
- The Lakers are on the road for games two and three of the series in Oakville at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre before returning home next Thursday, August 11 to host game four.
August 5, 2016
by Anna Taylor
The Century 21 Lakers were well represented in league scoring this season. Of course, the Lakers finished first overall in league standings with 29 points and a 14-3 record. Collectively they scored 193 goals, most in the MSL.
Shawn Evans, with 82 points, claimed his third scoring title, winning the Bucko McDonald Memorial Trophy with 5.125 points per game. He previously won the award in 2010 and 2013. Last season he placed second. Evans won the trophy after appearing in only 16 of 18 games. Evans was also named the league’s regular season MVP, the Jim Murphy Trophy, an award which he also won in 2013.
Evans ran away with assists with 60. Cody Jamieson came second with 49. Mark Steenhuis was eighth with 30 and Turner Evans ninth with 27. Adam Jones tied for 11th with 24, Josh Currier was 17th with 22, and John Grant Jr., despite only playing six games, tied for 18th with 21 helpers.
Even more impressive is Cory Vitarelli’s second place finish in goals. Vitarelli missed four games over two weeks in June due to injury but finished with 31 goals, only one behind league leader Wes Berg of Oakville who played in 17 games. The goal count is Vitarelli’s highest of his career. Adam Jones placed sixth with 24, Josh Currier seventh with 23, and Evans and Mark Steenhuis tied for ninth with 22. Holden Cattoni tied for 17th with 16 goals in his rookie campaign.
Josh Currier finished second in shorthanded goals with three. Joey Cupido of Cobourg had four.
Vitarelli tied for second with three game winning goals and Cattoni and Grant both had two game winners.
Face-off stats are not kept at every arena but of the ones that were recorded, Jake Withers placed fourth winning 75 of 112. Zach Currier was right behind him winning 36 of 55. One through three took far fewer face-offs than either of the Lakers. The total team face-off percentage was .631, best in the league.
Regarding penalty minutes, it should be noted that Pointstreak counts game misconducts as ten minute penalties which is inaccurate, so take the following stats with a grain of salt. Chad Tutton tied for second in penalty minutes with 54, 100 minutes behind league leader Broedie Birkhof from Cobourg. Vitarelli sat second for much of the season after racking up a few ten minute misconducts. Regardless of erroneous game misconducts, Birkhof definitely still placed first.
The Lakers had the longest winning streak of the season at seven games. They also had the longest home winning streak of the season at eight games (the only loss coming to Brooklin in the home opener). Their longest streak of road wins was three.
The Lakers scored the most power play goals in the league with 27. They were 39.13% on the power play and 75.58% on the penalty kill.
For the goaltenders, Matt Vinc led with a 9-1 record and a GAA of 6.13. Evan Kirk was fourth wth a 5-2 record and a GAA of 7.28. Shots are not recorded in every arena but the recorded stats do show that our goaltenders are absolutely deserving of the MSL’s Harry Lumley award for lowest GAA. Together, they allowed only 122 goals, the fewest in the league.
The Lakers also ranked first in attendance with an average of 3155 fans per game, and a total of 28,396. Cobourg was the next closest for attendance with an average of 811.
July 28, 2016
by Anna Taylor
PETERBOROUGH – Take it easy on the last place team? Nah.
The Century 21 Lakers made a statement Thursday night beating the last place Cobourg Kodiaks 19-9 at the Memorial Centre in their last regular season MSL game. The Lakers open the first round of the playoffs 7:45 p.m. Tuesday at home versus the Oakville Rock.
Nineteen goals is the Lakers best offensive output this year. Shawn Evans and Scott Self sat out the game but the Lakers still had a full lineup and every player to a man did his best despite the outcome of the game not having an effect on the standings.
“When you're at home and you have another 3000 fans show up for a game they know is probably going to go our way you gotta give them everything you can,” John Grant Jr. said. “You have to show them something because we already finished first and we have the last place team coming in, but these guys have already paid their money so we tried to give them everything we had and we tried to end on a good note because we have a good Oakville team coming in on Monday. Sometimes you get into some bad habits when you have a throwaway game so we wanted to go out and play lacrosse and I thought we did that.”
Grant had 12 points in his last regular season MSL game, including three goals and nine assists. He said that he himself has had better games, and heaped the praise on his teammates.
“Literally I just stand there and throw [the ball] to guys and they put it in the net. It’s a refreshing thing… It’s nice to have guys with that kind of talent on your side,” Grant said. “You just give the ball to Dogger (Cory Vitarelli) and watch him score, what he’d have, ? Getting assists is the easy part. Sometimes the goal scoring part is the tough part. I owe it to the guys who put the ball in the net. They make it awfully easy for an old guy just to hang around and throw the ball around.”
Vitarelli led the Lakers on Thursday with six goals and one assist - some socks were seen flying from the stands to celebrate the sock trick! Adam Jones had three goals and three assists, Mark Steenhuis two goals and four assists, and Josh Currier two goals and two assists. Turner Evans had a goal and three assists and Joel Matthews had a goal and assist. Matt Vinc even chipped in with three assists as well as 23 saves.
Nick Weiss scored his first of the season on a give and go with Adam Jones. Always exciting to watch, Weiss had multiple fast break opportunities throughout the season but had yet to find the back of the net.
The Lakers held a slim 4-3 lead after the first period on the strength of a Vitarelli hat trick. The Lakers turned the jets on in the second period though and outscored the visitors 7-1. Joey Cupido scored a fast break goal for Cobourg. Turner Evans’ goal at 14:52 of the second period, the Lakers 11th, chased Rance Vigneux in favour of Ryan Schuetzkowksi.
Peterborough native and former Laker Matt Crough had four goals for the Kodiaks all in the third period, including a power play goal and a shorthanded marker. The Kodiaks led the MSL in shorthanded goals.
Defenseman Robert Hope laughed when asked if the Lakers defense let up in the third to help Crough in the scoring race (he finished 4th in goals and 11th in points).
“I hope not, I know I didn’t let up,” Hope said. “I know I don’t like him ever scoring on me. He’s one of my best friends. It happens sometimes, but I don't think it happened tonight.”
Crough did score his power play goal with Hope in the penalty box for holding him.
Mark Steenhuis had the Lakers' goal of the game in the third, running up the floor on transition and shooting a backhand at the net - that shot missed but he jumped up to catch his own rebound and bounced a shot past Schuetzkowski. Vigneux came back in to finish the game.
Grant finished the regular season with ten goals and 21 assists. It was a rough start for the 41-year old who regularly admits he plays with pain and he’s slowing down. Thirty-one points in just six games though doesn’t speak to slowing down, especially when the offensive powerhouse can still run back and play D when needed.
“I saw a guy probably getting a breakaway,” Grant explained of a late play in the third period, “and I could have gone to the bench, but I knew if I went to the bench to get another guy on he wouldn't get there in time so I got on my horse and went. Luckily the ref didn’t call a penalty, probably because I’m old and realized I made the effort, and we went down and got a goal out of it.”
Josh Currier put Grant’s recovered ball past Vigneux on a power play for the Lakers 19th goal.
After the game, the Lakers welcomed their fans to the floor for autographs and photos. Fan Appreciation is an annual event that allows the Lakers to meet the people who have cheered them on all season long.
Defender Eric Shewell was participating in his third Fan Appreciation event.
“This is a tonne of fun,” Shewell said of meeting the fans. “You get to see all the kids who come out and support you every night and get a chance to give back. It’s a lot of fun.”
Fan Appreciation events allow the players to reminisce about how they got their starts in lacrosse.
“I remember running around the rink when I was a kid,” Shewell said. “I kind of picked up lacrosse after the first four Mann Cups (in the 2000s). I remember going into the dressing room and stealing Brad Self’s stick and coming out and shooting on the floor so it’s definitely cool to be a part of it now and be on the other side of things.”
Cory Vitarelli was named the Wiser's 1st Star of the Game. Robert Hope was named the 180 Hunter Street Defensive Player of the Game.
July 27, 2016
by Ed Arnold
John Grant Jr. was in diapers when he grabbed his first lacrosse stick, probably a wooden one because his legendary lacrosse father didn’t like those “Tupperware ones.”
To say that the Peterborough Grants’ family life centred around lacrosse is an understatement; it was life.
John Sr. was a phenomenal player who grew up in the Civic Arena area of Park Street with either a hockey a lacrosse stick in his hands, admiring the play of another legend Bob Allan whom he watched and copied.
Senior went on to an excellent career with the Peterborough Lakers and starred in the pro league for Philadelphia where fans stuck to him like ants on honey.
John Jr. was showing the same kind of talent at a young age joining, and growing up, with the Peterborough Minor Lacrosse Association house league and Lakers’ all star teams.
The kid was incredible and the junior team couldn’t wait to get hold of him. He jumped intermediate lacrosse and went to junior winning the OLA Junior A MVP award in 1994.
The Senior Lakers were anticipating his arrival and he didn’t disappoint them, winning the Major Series Lacrosse league rookie of the year award in his first season with the big squad. In that year his #24 wasn’t available, but he grabbed it the next season and has worn it every since, playing most of those years alongside his friend and now Lakers’ assistant coach Tracey Kelusky.
That was a long time ago.
John Grant Jr. has been a Laker for almost all of his 41 years, at least 37 of them.
He has also shared his various talents with Canada’s box and field lacrosse teams winning gold medals and with National Lacrosse League professional teams winning championships.
Just with the senior Lakers, he has amassed more than 1,600 regular and playoff points in his fewer than 20 years, that’s easily more than two points per game.
Lakers’ present general manager Paul Day grew up in Peterborough, knows about the legendary lacrosse father and son, and was the man responsible for helping get Junior back to the Lakers for one more season.
“I was able to draft him to Rochester (in the National Lacrosse League) out of college and we grew up on the same street in Peterborough."
“His first year in Rochester he almost won the championship by himself."
“He has always been a fantastic player skill wise and later in his career he matured into one of the best champions to play the game, winning everything, everywhere at all ages.”
Last season John took a year off from the Lakers, but played in the pro leagues of box and field in his new hometown of Denver, Colorado where he coaches a high school team, living with his wife Raygen and daughter Gabrayel.
But the itch in his lacrosse world just couldn’t be scratched satisfactorily and he wanted one more chance to win a Mann Cup in his Canadian hometown of Peterborough, Ontario. He returned this year and will play in his last regular season game as a Laker on Thursday then continue on in their playoff run starting next week.
On Tuesday, August 2 the Century 21 Lakers will honour John Grant Jr. with a special night as they open their playoffs, Grant’s last with the Lakers, at the Memorial Centre at 7:45 p.m.
He has given the Lakers senior team almost 20 seasons and the Lakers’ board decided it was time to give him something back.
Asked recently what he owed his longevity to he replied, simply, “Insanity.”
It is the “insanity” of playing while hurting after years of his body being beat up, some parts surgically repaired, but he told the interviewer if he is going to be hurting anyway he might as well play the game he loves while enduring that pain.
It is lacrosse to which he has devoted his life. It is lacrosse that he has given so much since he was just a little boy racing down the floors of the Kinsmen, Northcrest and Memorial Centre rinks.
It is also lacrosse that has given so much to him running on concrete and carpeted rink floors as well as grass and turf fields across the world.
Tuesday at the Memorial Centre is John Grant Jr. night.
Peterborough’s Century 21 Lakers and their fans are giving him one night for all those nights he has given them.
There will never be another #24 like him.
In fact, no Laker will ever wear the number again. The Lakers are retiring his jersey after this season . . . the first Laker to receive such an honour.
John Grant Jr. profile...
July 24, 2016
by Anna Taylor
COBOURG - With a 12-7 win on Sunday over the Cobourg Kodiaks, the Century 21 Lakers guaranteed themselves home floor advantage throughout the 2016 playoffs. The Lakers sport a regular season record of 13-3-1 which gives them 27 points on the season with just one game left to play.
Playoffs will begin Tuesday, August 2, at the Memorial Centre but the Lakers opponent is still unknown.
Sunday, John Grant Jr. led the Lakers with three goals and six assists - his best game of the season. The Lakers were without stars Shawn Evans and Mark Steenhuis - resting, for playoffs - and playing the last place team, so nobody would have blamed the Lakers for taking it kind of easy on a sleepy Sunday afternoon. Clearly that didn’t happen, though - the Lakers don’t quit.
“We’re not taking it easy on anyone this season,” Chad Tutton said after the game. “You expect a certain level of compete when you play with this team. And the opposing team has to know that we’re coming for them every single game.”
The Kodiaks shocked the Lakers out of the gate with John St. John tallying on a power play 5:43 in for a 1-0 lead. Cobourg’s lead didn’t last long though as Jake Withers won the ensuing face-off which allowed Chad Tutton to dive in front of Kodiaks goaltender Rance Vigneux. Just over a minute later Josh Currier put a sidearm shot past Vigneux for a 2-1 lead. Matt Crough recovered a loose ball at 10:05 and fired one past Evan Kirk to tie the game at two. Grant replied 24 seconds later and then scored again on a power play for a 4-2 lead. Pete Rennie brought the Kodiaks back to 4-3 with 3.2 seconds to go with a two on one transition goal.
The Lakers rattled off four straight goals to begin the second - Adam Jones connected on the power play; then Grant scored his third; Currier his second, as he was pushed to the ground by AJ Masson; and Cory Vitarelli his first. Eric Guiltinan scored on transition and Crough bounced a shot through traffic to respond for the Kodiaks, who trailed the Lakers 8-5 after the second.
Vitarelli scored his second of the game at 6:13 of the third for a 9-5 lead, but Luke Laskiewicz potted two in row, one shorthanded and one three on three to close the gap to 9-7. Vitarelli killed any Kodiaks momentum though completing his hat trick at 8:18. Tutton scored his second on a fast break at 12:07 and Jones capped the scoring at 15:54 through traffic.
You knew the game was going to be intense before it even started - Lakers fans, who probably made up 2/3 of the 1524 announced attendance, booed Broedie Birkhof. In their last meeting on June 19, Birkhof, a Peterborough native himself, took down Stephen Hoar and left him with a concussion that caused him to miss a month of action. Hoar returned this past Thursday. There was a tense moment at the end of the first when the two got tangled up but cool heads prevailed. Birkhof, actually, had a quiet game - just three minor penalties. Total, the teams combined for 114 penalty minutes.
Plenty of offsetting minors delayed the game and the Kodiaks even lost assistant coach Jason Clark who was ejected in the third period.
Also in the third, Holden Cattoni cross checked Tyler Roche and Roche dropped his gloves and ripped open Cattoni’s jersey but there weren’t any punches exchanged. Cattoni received two for unnecessary roughness and Roche a fighting major and game misconduct.
Later, Tutton laid a slash to the wrist of Masson. Chad Cummings came in to challenge Tutton and the two engaged in an energetic bout, with Tutton getting the advantage in shots to Cummings’ face and forehead.
“Tension was building all game,” Tutton explained. “I got sick of it when I took a late cross check. I let that kid (Masson) have a good whack, then Cummings asked me to go and I answered the bell and I think I did pretty good, I’d say I got the upper hand there.”
Unfortunately Tutton will likely face some suspension time for receiving two game misconducts - in addition to the automatic game misconduct for fighting he also received a game misconduct for the slash.
Tutton has five of his nine points, including three goals, this season at the CCC.
“I got one earlier in the season here and two tonight. I had a pretty good game and sometimes the balls are going for you, sometimes they’re not. Tonight they were going for me so it was good,” smiled Tutton.
The Lakers have only pride to play for on Thursday night when they host the Kodiaks in the back end of the home and home. The game is the last regular season MSL game.
Peterborough native and former Laker Matt Crough leads the Kodiaks in scoring with 21 goals and 23 assists - his best season in the MSL. Being traded from the Lakers in the offseason wasn’t easy, especially knowing he probably wouldn't be competing for a Mann Cup this season, but he’s taking positives from the experience.
“It was great to score against my old team,” Crough said. “It would have been much better scoring a couple and then coming out with the win but that's not how it went. But it was still fun scoring against a few buddies for sure.”
Crough chuckled when asked if he hoped the Lakers would rest some stars Thursday and take it easy on the Kodiaks to allow them just their second win of the season.
“I hope they don't take it easy on us,” he said. “We can beat them on our own and sneak out a win in Lakerland.”
July 24, 2016
Fan Appreciation night will feature a Trent Valley Honda first place celebration tailgate party in the parking lot before the 8 p.m. game against Cobourg. Fans will be able to get players' autographs on the floor following the game.
The team will also honour the 1966 Peterborough Pepsi Petes team with at least 20 of the players from 50 years ago being recognized.
The Executive was:
The playing coach was Bob Allan.
July 21, 2106
by Marla Taylor
PETERBOROUGH – The Century 21 Lakers defeated the Six Nations Chiefs Thursday night at the Memorial Centre 10-7. Adam Jones led the Lakers, who trailed 3-1 after the first, with three goals and two assists. The Lakers built a second period lead and rode it through the end of the game. Matt Vinc, with 44 saves, stopped the Chiefs from building any momentum. The Lakers win the season series 2-1-1.
Scoring for the Lakers:
Adam Jones (3-2)
Mark Steenhuis (2-2)
John Grant Jr. (1-3)
Cory Vitarelli (1-1)
Josh Currier (1-1)
Stephen Hoar (1-1)
Brad Self (1-0)
Shawn Evans (0-2)
Turner Evans (0-1)
Jake Withers (0-1)
Chad Culp (0-1)
Nick Weiss (0-1)
“Oh what a night”. It was truly something special. Everywhere one looked, something amazing was occurring. Before the game began, the Lakers honoured four of the remaining five players from the 1953 Mann Cup winning team The Trailermen. Attending the game were Brian Robinson, Gary Robinson, Roger Smith and Grant Burns and they lined up for the opening face-off.
Former Peterborough minor hockey grad and Anaheim Ducks NHL player Corey Perry was also honoured. A team of high school rugby players and coaches visiting from Pennywaun, Wales were special guests.
As well, returning for the tenth year, were campers from Camp Moshava in Ennismore. They enthusiastically sang the national anthem, before assuming their usual seats in Sections 17 and 19, and were heard throughout the game cheering on their Laker team.
Then the game began! It was a scoring fest from forty seconds into the first until the eighteen minute mark of the third. Every goal was a thing of devious speed and extreme talent. Despite the difference in the score, the ability on each team is pretty well evenly matched and the game felt like the playoffs had already begun. The list of highlights is long and lovely…
John Grant was on the penalty kill when the Lakers were down two players. He was hounded by two opponents, one on either side of him. He held the ball as long as he could.
Matt Vinc and Shawn Evans ran Cody Jamieson into the corner in a combined attack. Jamieson may have been injured but slowly resumed his play.
Adam Jones scored a hat trick; it was a celebration continuing from his recent wedding. One of his goals was scored on the power play and he held onto the ball long enough to confuse the defence and then whisked it past the Six Nations’ goalie Warren Hill.
Mark Steenhuis scored his twentieth goal of the season. Well done Mark! Josh Currier, who scored in the third, making the score 10-6 Lakers, is right behind with nineteen.
Stephen Hoar, returned from a serious-looking upper body injury, scored a sneaky quick one on Hill. John Grant sent a beautiful overhand shot, fooling Hill again.
Nick Weiss nifty tied up Dhane Smith who was heading toward a loose ball. Brad Self grabbed the ball and ran away down the floor. He sent a wrist shot past Hill, but not before fooling the goalie with several fakes.
A penalty for too many men (defensively) assessed the Lakers, resulted in an interesting outcome. It was in the middle of the second period that the call was made and everyone expected the usual two minute punishment. A delay occurred while Vinc effected repairs to his newly painted mask; the ref approached him and then shooed other players away. Six Nations had had a breakaway when the too many men call was made. The refs decided that the call distracted the breakaway from what could have been a goal, so they awarded the Chiefs a penalty shot. Dhane Smith was chosen to make the play, but Vinc didn’t move and no goal went into the net. Good stuff.
Six Nations was not without bragging rights as well; just not as many as the Lakers. Craig Point scored four goals on the Lakers, with each goal shot differently: low and fast, overhand, underhand, and screened a shot. Cody Jamieson added an overhand bouncer. A slow, low little roller, like a golf “putt”, slipped by Vinc, scored by his NLL buddy Ryan Benesch.
Before heading back home, a long drive to Owen Sound, Jones stopped to talk to the media. He liked the presence of the campers from Moshava. He said “It’s awesome. Anytime you play in Peterborough, it’s great, but tonight is a special night with a full stadium.”
He explained the need to stay motivated: “We have the philosophy that every game matters, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with the standings. Going into the playoffs, you want to be confident and you don’t want to drop your level down to the competition, or just not play well. Lacrosse is such a momentum sport, you need to be on the uprising going into the playoffs and you can’t take any games off. That’s the mentality going into the last two games.”
The largest crowd of the year, 3824, went home happy. Matt Vinc was named the Wiser’s 1st Star of the Game. Ian Llord was named the 180 Hunter Street Defensive Player of the Game.
Two games remain, both with Cobourg Kodiaks, 6pm Sunday July 24 in Cobourg and Thursday July 28 in Peterborough. July 28 is Fan Appreciation Night and players will be available for autographs after the game.
July 20, 2016
by Anna Taylor
WHITBY - It was Shawn Williams’ night and the Brooklin Redmen refused to let the Century 21 Lakers spoil it.
As Williams overtook former Laker Johnny “Shooter” Davis for second place on the all time Canadian senior lacrosse scoring list, the Lakers went down 6-4 to the Redmen at Iroquois Park Sports Centre in Whitby. It was a defensive thriller of a game that was only decided in the last period.
The loss doesn’t affect the Lakers first place standing but it does pull Brooklin into a tie with the Oakville Rock for second place. Both teams are just two points back of the Lakers, while Six Nations is only three. Each team has two or three games left.
Lakers defender Robert Hope was a busy man in his own end, trying to limit shots from a dangerous Brooklin offense. Six goals against is a great stat on any other night but the Lakers offense just couldn't get it together (a rare occurrence), leaving the defense to fend for themselves.
“We didn’t have our best effort tonight,” Hope admitted. “We’re not really looking at the standings this close to playoffs, obviously we know that it’s tight but we keep going and working hard.”
Hope recognized that the Lakers made some mistakes but is confident that a quick turnaround will produce good results. The Lakers host the Six Nations Chiefs Thursday at the Memorial Centre.
“As long as the team’s working hard, after an effort like that I think we have some errors that we can clean up so the good thing is that we can go at it again tomorrow night,” Hope said.
Cory Vitarelli got in alone and opened the scoring at 1:22 of the first period. Adrian Sorichetti came out of the corner to tie it at 6:56. Zach Currier got a fast break and passed to Mark Steenhuis who beat goaltender Zach Higgins at 16:24 and Adam Jones scored in his first game back from his honeymoon to give the Lakers a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.
Ryan McSpadyen scored early and Kiel Matisz scored late in the second period to tie the game three all after the second.
The first forty minutes were quiet, with no shenanigans or distractions - only three minor penalties. Just hard-nosed, disciplined lacrosse as two powerhouse teams tried to feel each other out.
The third period was a different story. The Redmen took an early 4-3 lead with Curtis Knight tallying at 2:12. The Lakers held the Redmen off the board again until 9:13 when Ryan Keenan dodged in front of the crease and and threw some fakes on Kirk. Vitarelli second of the game. The Lakers then had to kill off concurrent minor and major penalties, which limited their offensive opportunities, but the team played well on the penalty kill. Vitarelli scored his second of the game four on four after the Redmen took a bench minor, which brought the Lakers within one. Unfortunately, Higgins battened down the hatches after that and Sorichetti sealed the deal coming off the bench to fake and then put a jump shot over Kirk at 16:47.
Williams’ assist on the first Redmen goal tied Davis’ record and his assist on Matsiz’s second period goal broke it. He added a third assist on Knight’s third period goal. Williams now sits at 2117 total points.
Despite the return of Adam Jones and John Grant to the Lakers lineup, the offense ran into a hot goaltender in Higgins who made 39 saves in the Redmen net.
Evan Kirk was spectacular himself in the Lakers net, stopping 33 shots including three tough saves on Dan Lintner alone from the side of the crease.
“Two great goalies there. They stood on their heads, that’s why it was such a tight game. They’re great in the winter and they bring it every night in the summer,” Hope said.
The Lakers don’t have long to wallow in the loss as they prepare for a tough home game Thursday night.
“It’s the same excitement every time the Chiefs come to town,” Hope said. “Hopefully we get amped up for them a little more than other games because we’ve had the rivalry the last couple seasons. We know they’re going to bring it. Hopefully we can clean up a couple of things in the next 24 hours and be ready for them on Thursday.”
The Lakers had not lost since June 14 when they dropped an 8-7 decision in Six Nations. The Lakers then tied with the Chiefs on June 12.
But, at the end of the day, the Lakers are still 11-3. They’ve lost the fewest number of games in the league. They’re still in first place. And sure, they're about to face a tough Six Nations team but they’re doing it on home floor on Camp Moshava night when there will be an extra 300-400 screaming fans in the stands.
Hope said the players are looking forward to the game.
“It’s always an exciting night when the campers get in there so hopefully we can put on a show for them and get the W at home.”
Absent from the game were Turner Evans, Stephen Hoar, Josh Gillam, Joel Matthews, and Holden Cattoni.
July 14, 2016
by Anna Taylor
PETERBOROUGH – Zach Currier admitted he was nervous in his first few MSL games. Who wouldn’t be, playing in front of 3000+ rabid fans against the best lacrosse players in the world?
Now, nearly done his first regular season with the Century 21 Lakers, Currier’s nerves are behind him and he’s running up the floor every chance he gets on transition. He recorded one goal Thursday night in the Lakers 9-5 win over the Brooklin Redmen at the Memorial Centre.
“There’s always a transition period and I don't know if it was obvious but in those first couple of games I was so nervous playing with these guys that I’d looked up to my whole life,” Currier said. “But now I’ve started to find my groove, be more calm, and play my game, so I definitely feel more comfortable out there.”
Currier has four goals on the season, all transition beauties. He’s the fastest runner the Lakers have seen since Brad Self, and although he’s had a hard time finding the back of the net, he’s getting multiple chances a game and increasing the Lakers scoring opportunities tenfold.
“That’s the one thing that (defensive coach) Bobby Keast always tells me, take care of defense and transition will take care of itself,” Currier said. The goals will come in time - Currier is, after all, only 22.
Thursday, he almost had two but his first was called off. He flew over the crease and the ball hit the back of the net. In the MSL, the ball must be in the net before your feet cross the plane of the crease. Video replays made it look like a good goal but there are no challenge flags in the MSL so the no-goal call stood.
Currier was redeemed in the second period, accepting the long pass from Brad Self and firing the ball past Zach Higgins as Adrian Sorichetti dragged him down from behind. Currier had at least three other fast breaks during the game.
“I’ve been trying to stay in our end and focus on that as much as possible but if I see the ball on the ground I’m running after it,” Currier said. “Because that’s the only thing I’ve got on these guys. I’m not bigger or stronger, I’m just a little bit faster.”
Ryan Keenan opened the scoring for Brooklin at 6:29 bouncing a shot by Matt Vinc, who made 33 saves in the win. The Lakers took the lead when Mark Steenhuis ripped a shot by Higgins at 9:26 followed up by a Cory Vitarelli quick-stick power play marker at 15:41 that went in so quick if you blinked you probably missed it.
Vitarelli described his goal.
“I was backdoor on a power play and it was early on, I don't think they were quite expecting it,” he said. “Shawnie (Evans) passed it backdoor, I wasn't even sure I caught it and threw it a little late and luckily Higgins made the effort to get over and luckily it beat his stick.”
The Redmen took a 3-2 lead in the second on tallies from Austin Shanks and Chris Corbeil, recently acquired from the Brampton Excelsiors. Corbeil scored his first goal for the Redmen on a fast break turnover play. Holden Cattoni tied the game at three just 30 seconds later. Late in the period, the Lakers exploded for three goals in a minute and a half giving them a 6-3 advantage and knocking the Redmen off course. Evans, Zach Currier, and Vitarelli brought the home crowd to their feet with successive and thrilling goals.
Vitarelli acknowledged that the Lakers probably caught the Redmen on a bad night, having defeated the Six Nations Chiefs by a single goal 11-10 Wednesday night in a stifling hot Iroquois Park.
“[The Redmen] have a good team, but they played last night so they’d be a little bit tired,” he said. “We had chances early on but they started to go in and we carried that over to the third period.”
“We have to take advantage of our opportunities and tonight we did,” Currier said. “We had a lot of help from Vno at the back as usual. Whether it’s Vno or Kirky we’re always getting a solid backbone to our defense and we just capitalized on our opportunities and took advantage of our chances.”
The third period was a mess of high sticking, roughing, and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties as the Lakers really got under the skin of the Redmen. Josh Currier got in alone on Higgins and threw three fakes before beating the tender at 7:29 to increase the lead to 7-3. Curtis Knight got one back for the Redmen but Vitarelli completed his hat trick with Vinc pulled on a delayed penalty call at 9:18. Currier then put a tricky underhand by Higgins at 15:37 for his second of the game. Dan Lintner scored a power play goal at 18:32 but the Redmen looked like they were out of gas. Until the third, the game had been fairly tame for a Lakers-Redmen rivalry matchup.
“There’s that fine line that you want to walk where you can be a little too aggressive and not quite aggressive enough and we’ve found our groove lately and we just want to continue to build and keep that going. You just hope that you come out on the right side of the calls and you come away with the win,” said Vitarelli.
The Lakers are 2-1 against the Redmen this season with one more game to be played between the two, next Wednesday, July 20 at Iroquois Park in Whitby. The Lakers return home to face the Six Nations Chiefs next Thursday, July 21. Camp Moshava will be in attendance so expect a raucous crowd!
- Josh Currier was named the Wiser’s 1st Star of the Game. Brad Self was named the One Eighty Hunter St Defensive Player of the Game.
- Attendance was 3123
- Scratches were Turner Evans, Adam Jones, John Grant Jr, Cole Murray, Stephen Hoar, and Josh Gillam
- Grant has played two games this season and must play all four remaining games in order to be eligible for playoffs
July 12, 2016
by Anna Taylor
HAGERSVILLE - A tie was as good as a win for the Century 21 Lakers on Tuesday night. The Lakers went into the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena on one of the hottest days of the year, facing one of the league’s hottest teams in the Six Nations Chiefs, and played a classic to a 6-6 tie in front of 375 fans.
The heat wasn’t just uncomfortable for the fans - with the temperature still hovering around 25 in nearby Hamilton after 11:00 p.m., the heat got to the players as well.
“We personally took that game as a victory,” assistant coach Bobby Keast said. “Hot night. We felt we actually had to beat the Chiefs and the referees tonight so we’ll take that point.”
Evan Kirk played the first two periods before being sidelined due to illness from the heat. Kirk had already been feeling ill before the game started and the Lakers had to replace him with Matt Vinc in the third to allow Kirk to recover. Kirk made 33 saves on 37 shots and staked the Lakers to a 5-4 lead after the second period.
“Kirk’s going to be fine,” Keast said. “He needs to look after himself tonight and tomorrow and he’ll be alright for Thursday.”
“It’s a tough atmosphere especially with how hot it is but the adrenaline’s flowing pretty good especially when you’re playing a team with the talent that Six Nations has,” Vinc said. “I think the nerves got going pretty quick and that’s what kinda got me into the game.”
Vinc had not been expecting to play Tuesday night but was happy to step in.
“You don't expect to go in especially when Kirk was playing the way he was,” Vinc said. “That’s the way it is sometimes. You just have to be ready and fortunately we were able to sneak out with a tie.”
Holden Cattoni and Cory Vitarelli had first period goals for the Lakers, who, like their previous visit to the ILA this season, got sucked into penalty trouble early. It’s clear the Lakers and Chiefs despise each other on the floor and thus end up spending the first period asserting their dominance rather than just trying to score. Several roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties marred the first period, which ended 2-1, the lone Chiefs goal scored by Ryan Benesch.
Twelve minor penalties were handed out in the first period alone, plus ten minute misconducts to Zach Currier and Randy Staats.
Cattoni scored to open the second period but the Lakers were unable to build a substantial lead with the teams trying to one-up each other the whole period. Vaughn Harris, Chad Culp, Benesch, Brad Self, and Cody Jamieson all traded goals for just a 5-4 Lakers lead after two.
On June 14, the Lakers and Chiefs played two low scoring periods filling with penalties in an eventual 8-7 Chiefs win. Though the Lakers have not won this season at the ILA, last year’s game seven MSL final proves they can do it when it really counts, which everyone expects it to later in the playoffs.
“Two great goalies, actually three great goalies played tonight and two of the better defences,” said Keast. “I t think we have the best defense in the league and Six Nations is right there too so we kind of expect these low scoring games.”
Stephen Keogh tied the game just 1:17 into the third period. Shawn Evans briefly restored the Lakers lead at 5:50 but Randy Staats tied it back at six at 9:49. After that, Dillon Ward in the Chiefs net and Vinc in the Lakers net blocked everything.
The Lakers and Chiefs have one more regular season game to play against each other, next Thursday July 21st at the Memorial Centre.
“Any time you can push a team like Six Nations to overtime is an accomplishment,” said Vinc.
“We had chances to win, but we’re going to be pretty happy with this. It’s not a win but it’s not a loss. We play them in a week’s time so it’ll be a good test to see where we’re at.”
With the tie, the Lakers remain in first place with 21 points. The Chiefs move into sole possession of second place with 18 points, just one up on Oakville and three up on Brooklin.
July 7, 2016
by Anna Taylor
The Century 21 Lakers have taken a lot from the Brampton Excelsiors in the last week.
A 9-7 win for the Lakers Thursday night at the Memorial Centre was the third recent dagger to the Excelsiors. Saturday the Lakers traded for Dylan Evans, the Excelsiors best face-off man, and Sunday defeated them in a come-from-behind 9-8 third period victory in Brampton.
The Excels came in to the Memorial Centre Thursday night on a six game losing streak, having only won one game all season. They had hoped the trades they made at the deadline, giving up six veteran players in return for young talent, would bolster their roster, but so far two losses to the Lakers have dampened those hopes.
Evans made his debut for the Lakers on Sunday. Playing his first game in the barn of the team that traded him wasn’t all that weird, and he said it wasn’t actually an advantage for him.
“I know some of the guys over there but it’s different when you’re playing with them as opposed to against them,” he said. “The changes this past week have sparked their squad a little bit which has put a jump in their step so you’re seeing a little bit of a different team in the last two games than had shown up in the first part of the season.”
Head coach Mike Hasen said Evans is fitting in well.
“He’s a guy that understands our system,” Hasen explained. “It’s just getting used to the guys on the floor with him. He plays a very physical game and he doesn't have to take all the face-offs, we have [Withers and Currier to do that], so he’s got more energy to do a lot more damage back there.”
Evans plays for Hasen in Rochester and previously played for him in Brampton. Fellow Knighthawks defensemen Brad Self, Scott Self, and Ian Llord, as well as goaltender Matt Vinc, will help his transition to the Lakers.
“That’s going to help a lot actually,” Evans said of the familiarity. “I know what our goalies want in terms of shots we’re giving up on defense and I’m very familiar with the defensive system that we play here.”
Llord, who was new to the Lakers at the beginning of 2016, agreed that the familiarity is a key to the Lakers success.
“It’s little things where you don't have to think so much because you're used to each other,” Llord said. “I know if Vno wants one when I’m out there and he knows what I like to do so we just work off each other. I’m getting to know a lot of these young guys too and they’re super talented.”
Holden Cattoni opened the scoring at 6:36 picking up a Turner Evans’ rebound. Mark Steenhuis gave the Lakers a 2-0 lead at 10:30 on a screened shot. Quinn Powless cut the Lakers lead in half at 14:43.
Tyler Carlson was screened by his defense as Shawn Evans scored at 4:12 of the second to make it 3-1. Joe Resetarits put four fakes on Matt Vinc at the other end but was denied on the shot. He did score though moments later on the power play after faking a pass. Cory Vitarelli scored for the Lakers at 10:55 but Resetarits replied right back. Steenhuis trickled a shot past Carlson at 16:29 and Vitarelli added a last second goal for a 6-3 lead after two.
“They have a really hard working team,” Llord said of the Excelsiors. “They’re more talented than people give them credit for. The whole ‘fire-sale’ thing, to me, is a crock. They’re a good team still even though they lost some big names. Our defense is good and Vno is better, he held us in it for sure.”
Mike Burke scored through a screen to close the gap in the third. Grant got that one back flipping the ball to himself and letting go of a bounce shot at 5:22. Tyler Fereira got in alone on Vinc to pull the Excels back within two and Burke closed the gap to one just blasting a shot past Vinc. However, an ill-timed slashing penalty by Mike Teeter allowed Grant to kill the Excels momentum and pad the Lakers lead at 17:01. Brad Self added an insurance goal into the empty net at 19:33. Burke completed his hat trick with five seconds to go in futility.
“This was pretty good,” said Evans of the win. “We’re still trying to find our stride here, but for me, I felt good out there and I feel good with the systems and we’re moving in the right direction.”
Just over a minute into the second period, Matt Bennett was called for holding Zach Currier in front of the net. Prior to the whistle, Currier flipped the ball to Steenhuis, who called for Shawn Evans and John Grant, coming off the bench, to join him in a conference on the floor while the play was going - the old hidden ball trick. All three players then moved towards the net, Steenhuis and Evans both looking like they were going to shoot - surprise! Grant, playing in just his second game this season, had the ball but hit the post.
He made up for it in the third period with his two goals.
“Jr’s mind still works so well and he does a lot of things that nobody's expecting and
catches guys off guard and then he gets mad at himself because maybe he should have done something a little simpler sometimes,” chuckled Hasen, “but a couple big goals for him tonight and it’s good to see him back in our lineup.”
- Matt Vinc started his first game at the Memorial Centre this season
- Scratched for the Lakers were Chad Tutton, Adam Jones, Chad Culp, Cole Murray, Stephen Hoar, and Josh Gillam
Shawn Evans was named the Wiser's 1st Star of the Game. Scott Self was named the 180 Hunter Street Defensive Player of the Game.
The Lakers are on the road this coming Tuesday, July 12 as they visit the Six Nations Chiefs. They return home next Thursday, July 14 to host the Brooklin Redmen.
July 3, 2016
by Anna Taylor
BRAMPTON - For fans of the epic sports comeback, Century 21 Lakers lacrosse is right up your alley. For the second consecutive game, the Lakers had to fight through a game long scoreboard deficit before a strong third period effort lifted them past the opposition. Tonight, Josh Currier tied the game and Shawn Evans potted the winner as the Lakers beat the Brampton Excelsiors 9-8 at Brampton Memorial Arena. Evan Kirk shut the door in the third period and the Lakers, who trailed 8-4 after the second period, went on a five goal run to take the game.
On Thursday, the Lakers trailed the Oakville Rock for 57 minutes but outscored the Rock 5-1 in the final frame for a 10-9 win.
“It’s definitely not the situation we want to be in, but it’s good to know that we’re able to stay the course and pull out the wins like that when it’s necessary,” said Currier.
The Excelsiors went up 4-0 on goals from Phil Caputo, Zac Reid, and newly acquired Quinn Powless with two before Currier beat Excelsiors starter and former Laker Tyler Carlson on a power play at 12:48. A goal from Turner Evans at 17:14 might have given the Lakers a little momentum, but Mike Burke crashed the crease and added a late goal for a 5-2 Brampton lead after the first.
“I think the offense was pretty sloppy,” Mark Steenhuis said. He had three assists in the game. “We were really shaky off the get go. We actually didn’t find our groove until that last 7 minutes in the third. It was good we found our groove, but I think that falls on us offensively. We have to be better throughout the whole game and we can help our team out.”
Brampton controlled most of the play in the second period which didn’t allow the Lakers to gain any ground. Caputo scored a pair for the hat trick and Tyler Ferreira added a goal. Chad Culp scored a pair for the Lakers who trailed 8-4 after two.
Tides turned in the third as the defense sharpened up and Kirk became a brick wall. Five straight goals saw the Lakers come roaring back, although all the fans in the stands saw was a team of calm, collected players who just went about their jobs.
“Kirk was strong all game,” said assistant coach Bobby Keast. “I think defensively we had some lapses and offensively we weren't putting the ball in the net so Evan played well all game. We started pushing the ball a little bit (in the third) and the offense started clicking.”
Jake Fox got things rolling with a goal at 1:11. Kirk held off the Excels for a long stretch and then Turner Evans closed the gap even more at 10:52. Shawn Evans redeemed himself for an earlier ten minute misconduct at 14:15 which pulled the Lakers within a goal. Currier tied the game at 15:15.
“Shawnie got out of the box and he was all rested up and he had the ball and I cut to the middle and he obviously finds you when you’re open there,” Currier described his tying goal. “It was just a really nice pass from Shawnie, some good off-ball movement from everyone else and then I just got the ball in the middle and threw a couple fakes and put it in.”
Evans scored through a crowd to give the Lakers their only lead of the night at 17:21. It was the only lead that mattered.
“It is encouraging that we’re able to win like that,” said Keast. “It’s not something that you want to practice regularly and I’m thankful that it has worked out to our benefit. We (the coaches) had a really good heart to heart with the team after the game about enough is enough and let’s come to win every game.”
The Lakers and Excelsiors were both shorthanded. The Excels had only 12 runners and while the Lakers had the full 18, five of them were call-ups from the Junior A Lakers. Dylan Hutchison made his debut for the Lakers while Brett Coons, Jake Fox, Tyler Gaulton, and Dan Michel all made a second (or in Fox’s case, fourth) appearance.
Absent for the Lakers with prior commitments were Matt Vinc, Scott Self, Jake Withers, Chad Tutton, Adam Jones, John Grant, Zach Currier, Josh Gillam, and Holden Cattoni. Cole Murray backed up Kirk in goal. Cory Vitarelli and Stephen Hoar remain out with injuries.
“It’s nice to get these wins, but we have to put together a better sixty minutes,” Steenhuis said. “I think these games are always tough, with the long weekend. A lot of guys are away on vacation with family and friends so you never know who's going to be here on both sides. That can make for an interesting game. We have to bear back down and get together as a team a little bit more and get everybody out and we’ll be all right.”
- Dylan Evans made his debut with the Lakers against his former teammates from Brampton. He was 3/7 in the face-off circle.
- Mark Steenhuis missed the first five minutes of the game after arriving late, thinking the game was an 8:00 p.m. start time. “I have a special calendar I write everything in, for some reason I wrote it in at 8,” he said. “I strolled in here at 7:00 thinking I was already a little bit late and then I looked around the room and everyone’s already changed and dressed and I was like oh no. I’ll double check from now on.”
July 1, 2016
The Century 21 Lakers have made a move to get even stronger on defense
obtaining a right defensemen from the Brampton Excelsiors for a player
to be named later.
The Lakers obtained Dylan Evans who has a long family tradition in lacrosse, but is not related to the Peterborough Evans’ lacrosse family.
This Evans is a Brampton native who has played defense for the Brampton Excelsiors. He was a three-time champion with the National Lacrosse League’s Rochester Knighthawks under the coaching of Lakers’ coach Mike Hasen and Lakers’ GM Paul Day.
“He’s a young strong rightie D guy with Mann Cup experience, and the National Lacrosse titles,” said Day.
“He hits hard, plays our system, takes face offs and can stay and play on offense, which helps our high tempo game.
“We are a work in progress so he can help anchor our D, and help the young guys.”
The Evans family has a long lacrosse legacy in Brampton. His great grandfather Billy Evans played for the Excelsiors as did his grandfather Gwilym and father Mark.
He had a bit of a climb up the pro lacrosse hill being looked over in the NLL draft at 18, then cut by Toronto Rock and later Rochester as a right shooting high scoring junior forward but he never quit.
He made Rochester when he was 22 trying out on defense.
The 5’11” 193 pounder will play his first game with the Lakers against his long time former team this Sunday in Brampton and then his first Lakers’ home game against the same team Thursday at the Memorial Centre.
The trade is subject to league approval. The MSL trade deadline is noon Saturday, July 2.
June 30, 2016
by Marla Taylor
PETERBOROUGH – A five goal third period lifted the Century 21 Lakers over the Oakville Rock 10-9 Thursday night at the Memorial Centre.
Down 8-5 heading into the last period, Holden Cattoni tied the game at 17:17 before Mark Steenhuis, with his hat trick goal, gave the Lakers the lead at 18:26 in front of 2948 happy fans.
Oakville came into the game just two points back of first place, but was missing several regulars and dressed five players who were in their first action of the season.
Steenhuis was asked if it was difficult not knowing who the new players were.
“You’ve got to give those kids credit,” he replied. “They stepped up; they got their chance to play and they did a great job. They were all over the floor; they shot the ball well; they hustled. They’re young. They’re going to give you lots of energy and try to get in your face, and that’s what they did."
Oakville led much of the way except for the last ninety seconds.
Forty two seconds in, Stephan Leblanc surprised Evan Kirk with a quick shot that put the Rock on the board. Two minutes later, Andrew Kew accepted a pass from Leblanc and slipped a second shot past Kirk.
At the four minute mark, Holden Cattoni bounced a shot past Steve Fryer in the Oaville goal and fifty-two seconds later, Chad Culp tied the game. But the Rock went back up by two.
Shawn Evans tied it at 4-4. Still in the first, Wes Berg, with a great big Scott Evans-type shot, pulled the Rock ahead 5-4. With 6:42 to go in the first, Leblanc scored his second goal and the Rock once again leading by two, 6-4. Kirk was out and Matt Vinc came in to settle things down.
And things did settle down in the second, with a total of only three goals and two penalties.
Mark Steenhuis was first to score in the second with a powerful shot that sailed by Fryer. The Lakers inched closer-the score now at Rock 6-5. The period played out and Oakville added two additional goals from Kew and Leblanc to increase the score to 8-5 for the Rock.
There obviously was a change in the third, but it took right til the end.
Steenhuis noted the difference in the final few minutes.
“We know we have a good team. We know these are games that we want to win, hopefully should win. I can’t say anything against Oakville. They’re young and scrappy; always give you top effort. We didn’t really play that well over the course of the whole sixty minutes. In the last five minutes, you want to bear down and pull one out and that’s what good teams do. I think everyone on the bench [knew] it’s time to go; it’s time to maybe wake up here and play the way we can play. The coaches told us in-between periods what you have to do, what’s unacceptable and how’re you’re playing. You look at yourself and how you’re playing and try to step it up.”
Step it up they did. As we all know, lacrosse can take funny leaps and bounds and scores can change so fast that nothing is guaranteed.
Josh Currier, Turner Evans and Steenhuis all stepped up. Evans had a spectacular sidearm shot that simply flew by Fryer. At this point, 9:31 of the third, with Matt Lee scoring in the first two minutes for Oakville, and Currier for Peterborough, Evans’ effort advanced the score to 9-7 Rock. Steenhuis wound up at 11:28 and lasered an overhand shot that was nothing but net. Score now 9-8 Rock.
Minutes went by…and by…At 17:17, Cattoni’s second goal tied it up 9-9 and the crowd was electric. One minute and nine seconds later, Steenhuis, at the side of the crease, surprised Fryer and took away his “W” which he had had for the whole game except for the last ninety seconds. The crowd was on its feet.
And the mood in the room after the game?
"We’ve got to do a better job when teams are playing desperate lacrosse,” said the number one star of the game, Steenhuis. “We’ve got to clean up our act, with too many turnovers, too many thrown passes away, too many shots off the net. Not the best game but fortunate for us, we were able to pull out the win tonight, and that’s what’s going to count in the standings for us to get into first place overall. It’s a little bit of a relief. I don’t think anyone’s too happy; I don’t think the coaches are too happy, but they can’t rip on you too bad when you pull out the win, so we were lucky to do that.”
The Lakers next face the Brampton Excelsiors Sunday 7 p.m. Steenhuis’ final comment was directed to that very next game. What did he expect of it?
"Same sort of thing we saw tonight. They have an incredible defence. They have a pretty good offence. They’re young; they’re scrappy; they’re all over the floor. They’re in your face. I think they play a similar game to Oakville, so it’s a good opportunity to have a game like tonight. It’s a little bit of a wakeup call and we’ll try to go into Brampton and take one there."
Junior call ups Jake Fox and Dan Michel had solid games; Michel made his senior debut.
The Lakers move to 16 points on the season and sit in sole possession of first place.
Mark Steenhuis was named the Wiser’s first Star of the Game.
Robert Hope was named the 180 Hunter Defensive Player of the Game.
June 25, 2016
WHITBY - The Century 21 Lakers evened their season series with the Brooklin Redmen at one game apiece on Saturday winning at Iroquois Park Sports Centre in Whitby 14-6.
The Redmen opened the scoring early but the Lakers stormed back to take a 6-2 lead after the first period and never looked back. They kept the offensive pressure high for 60 minutes and received solid defense and goaltending.
Chad Culp, who had a hat trick in just his second game with the Lakers this season, said the Lakers did everything right.
“On offense anyways we moved the ball around, we were moving our feet. When we had open looks we were putting the ball in deep. In the first and third we stopped their transition pretty well. In the second we kind of got away from that and they scored some tranny goals on us.
Our defense and goaltending played excellent. Matt Vinc stopped the ones he always stops. They had a couple in tight on him and you know they’re going to score at least a couple of goals.”
Shawn Williams opened the scoring at 5:02 of the first period before the Lakers rattled off six goals in span of just three minutes to chase starting goaltender Zach Higgins in favour of Mike Poulin. Culp knocked the ball out of a defenders stick and blasted a shot past Higgins to get the ball rolling. Mark Steenhuis picked the top corners of the net for goals two and three. Zach Currier then scored a pair of unassisted transition goals and Shawn Evans also added a goal in the frame. Brooklin took a late timeout and Curtis Knight took advantage with just two seconds left on the clock.
Culp and Adam Jones increased the Lakers lead early in the second before Brooklin was able to rattle off three in a row to close the gap from Kiel Matisz, Ryan McSpadyen, and Derek Hopcroft. Steenhuis skipped through the crease to complete his hat trick at 16:11 and Josh Currier scooped up a loose ball near the crease at 18:16 to make it 10-5. Williams got one back for Brooklin in the last minute of play.
“We have to match their effort,” Williams, one of the Redmen’s leaders, said. “Peterborough definitely outworked us in all facets and that was obviously the difference in the score. You have to come to work against these guys.”
Holden Cattoni and Jake Fox doubled up the Redmen 12-6 at 6:45 and 8:16. The Redmen gambled playing four on four and pulled Poulin with ten minutes to play, but Chad Tutton found the ball and ran the floor for an empty netter. Culp completed his hat trick and put the exclamation point on the game as Adam Jones and Dan Ball were both in the box for slashing majors at 18:48.
Culp took a few weeks off after playing in a gruelling NLL final series with Buffalo Bandits.
“I feel good,” he said of his return. “The first game was about getting my feet wet after a couple of weeks of not playing, getting the wind back, but tonight I felt a little better for sure.”
He chuckled when asked about his offensive outburst on Saturday.
“Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t,” he smiled.
The game was the highlight of Lacrosse Day in Durham, an event that featured a midget showcase game, a Clarington Green Gaels Jr B playoff game, a Brooklin Merchants Sr B game, and a Whitby Warriors Jr A game. The Warriors defeated the Jr A Lakers 12-7. Jake Fox, who also suited up for the Sr. Lakers, had three goals for the juniors. Redmen alumni and current Lakers president Ted Higgins sang the national anthem before the MSL game.
The Lakers, who sit in first place in the MSL with 14 points, a three point lead over second place Brooklin, host the Oakville Rock on Thursday night at the Memorial Centre. Game time is the usual 8:00 p.m.
June 23, 2016
by Anna Taylor
PETERBOROUGH - Defense was the name of the game as the Century 21 Lakers took down the Six Nations Chiefs 9-5 Thursday night at the Memorial Centre. The win, in front of 3151 fans, avenged the Lakers third period 8-7 loss in Six Nations last Tuesday. The win also moves the Lakers into sole possession of first place in the MSL with 12 points. Six Nations sits tied for third with 10 points.
“Wins this early mean a lot at the end of the year,” said Lakers goaltender Evan Kirk. “It may be a tie breaker. It’s a tight league, more so than it has been in the past so essentially those are big wins.”
After outscoring Cobourg 30-9 in two games last week, a tight defensive battle was just what the Lakers needed, said captain Scott Self.
“I think sometimes against the [weaker teams] you tend to let up a bunch and let some bad habits creep in. Against teams like [Six Nations] you’re not able to do that and you have to play focused for 60 minutes,” Self said.
The visit was the first from the Chiefs since the Lakers eliminated them from the 2015 playoffs. Kirk made 37 highlight-reel saves in goal while Mark Steenhuis and Holden Cattoni led the Lakers with two goals each. It was a focused effort and the Lakers led the whole way.
“Kirk was great tonight. He was exactly what we needed. When we had a lapse or weren’t our sharpest, he was there for us and luckily bailed us out a couple of times,” Cattoni said.
The offense came slowly with the Lakers holding a 4-3 advantage after first 40 minutes. Six Nations managed only two goals in the final frame while the Lakers exploded for five.
“It was a tight battle,” Kirk said. “It was similar to last game where it was 1-1, 2-1, 3-2, back and forth, and we expected it to be like that and for it to be essentially a one goal game every time we play them. As soon as we score, they score right after, so we were trying to do our best not to let that happen.”
Steenhuis opened the scoring at 5:45 unloading a shot over Ward. Cattoni quick-sticked a pass from Shawn Evans to extend the lead at 13:03. Ryan Benesch scored unassisted at 16:51 to cut the lead in half.
Bryce Sweeting and Randy Staats dropped the gloves 8:27 into the first period after Staats threw a punch at Sweeting during the play. Most of their punches missed, but Sweeting landed one solid shot to Staats’ face. Each received five minutes for fighting and an automatic game misconduct. As a rookie, Sweeting’s floor time was easily eaten up by the Lakers veteran defenders, but Staats, as one of the more effective offensive players in the Chiefs lineup, was sorely missed.
“That was a great fight,” Self chuckled. “Sweets is a great defender, but that was a very good trade off. Randy’s a very dangerous offensive guy so to have him out of the lineup was definitely a bonus for us.”
Steenhuis made it 3-1 as he completed a 3 on 1 transition break with Brad Self and Josh Currier two minutes into the second period. Benesch struck back scoring after a turnover at 4:06. Currier scored his 12th of the season coming off the bench at 12:21 before Jordan Durston ripped a shot over Kirk’s shoulder.
Josh Gillam faked a shot before beating Ward just 41 seconds into the third period. Cattoni scored his second on the edge of the crease to put the Lakers up 6-3 at 2:25. Vaughn Harris went low on Kirk 18 seconds later and Quinn Powless scored on the power play at 7:25 to make it a one goal game. Adam Jones put the Lakers back up by two at 13:54. The Chiefs pulled Ward for an extra attacker, but Brad Self scooped up a loose ball and launched it into the empty net from the Lakers own end at 17:53. Shawn Evans added an insurance marker with Ward back in the net at 18:20.
Cattoni said the Lakers were happy with the result.
“This could be a tie breaker game down the road, and its saving one here for us,” he said. “We have a little bit of confidence against [the Chiefs]. We let one slip away up in the Nations two weeks ago and that was a hard pill to swallow and I think we rebounded pretty well tonight. We stopped their transition. We didn’t allow them to run, we didn’t give them any easy goals or any easy outs offensively. We made them work the entire game and earn what they had.”
Self said the Lakers are playing well because they have confidence in their goalie and the defensive systems they’ve developed.
“[Both our goalies] are very vocal and they tell you exactly where they want the shots to come from so it makes our job really easy. We’re just trying to funnel guys to areas where there are low percentage shots and we did a really good job of that tonight.”
Prior to the game, the Lakers honoured longtime coach Jamie Batley. Batley won three Mann Cups as a player (1995 and 1996 as a member of the Six Nations Chiefs and 2004 with the Lakers) and five as head coach of the Lakers - 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, and 2012, as well as six provincial titles and led the Lakers to ten consecutive league finals. He is one of the most successful coaches in Canadian senior men’s lacrosse history and was inducted into the Peterborough and District Sports Hall of Fame this year. The Lakers presented Batley with a photo collage of his lacrosse career, and he was congratulated on the floor by Scott Self, Brad Self, Shawn Evans, and Bobby Keast, as well as Ted Higgins and the Lakers' board of directors.
- Cory Vitarelli missed the game for a work commitment. Stephen Hoar sat out with a concussion. Joel Matthews and John Grant Jr. were also unavailable.
- Chad Culp had one assist in his season debut for the Lakers.
- Evan Kirk was named the Wiser’s 1st Star of the Game while Nick Weiss was named the One Eighty Hunter Defensive Player of the Game.
June 16, 2016
The Century 21 Lakers will honour Jamie Batley at next Thursday’s game, June 23 at the Memorial Centre against Six Nations; teams that are both familiar with his lacrosse success.
Jamie was one of the most successful coaches and general managers in Lakers’ history and has spent a lifetime in the game as player, then coach and general manager.
He won provincial, national and international team championships, but also was the OLA Junior A MVP in 1987 and was the top scorer in 1986 and 1987.
He won Junior A Minto Cup national championships in both those years. Jamie sits 37th in goals, 12th in assists, and 19th in points in Canadian Junior “A” Lacrosse history.
He was on Canada’s 1990 World Lacrosse silver medal team and in 1994 bronze medalist with the Canadian Field Lacrosse team.
He also starred for the University of Maryland Baltimore County Field Lacrosse team from 1990-1994 receiving All American honours in 1993.
Jamie played professional lacrosse for three National Lacrosse Teams from 1995-2000.
In the Major Series Lacrosse he won three Mann Cups as a player in 1995, 1996 with Six Nations and 2004 with the Lakers.
He was Lakers’ coach and GM from 2004 to 2013 winning five Mann Cups, six provincial titles, and 10 straight Major Series Lacrosse finals.
He was the head coach with the NLL Colorado Mammoth, Chicago Shamrox, Toronto Rock, and this season was named coach of the Vancouver Stealth.
A head coach GM of the Peterborough Lakers was one the most successful in the history of Canadian senior men’s lacrosse. As the Peterborough Sports Hall of Fame stated when they inducted him this year he was “Not only was he a great player and coach, but Jamie Batley has been a tremendous ambassador for the game of lacrosse.”
June 19, 2016
by Anna Taylor
The Century 21 Lakers picked up their second win of the weekend on Sunday evening defeating the Cobourg Kodiaks 15-7 at the Cobourg Community Centre. The win moves the Lakers to 5-2 on the season and leapfrogs them over the Brooklin Redmen for first place.
Shawn Evans led the Lakers with a ten point effort including two goals and eight assists. Mark Steenhuis contributed a third period hat trick and three assists.
The Lakers and Kodiaks are the newest rivals in the MSL. After years with Brooklin as our closest rival geographically, that honour now belongs to the Kodiaks. Having several Peterborough minor lacrosse grads and three former Lakers on the Kodiaks roster immediately gives them a reason to want to best the Lakers. Thursday was an absolute rout, but on Sunday the Kodiaks stepped up their play on their home floor putting seven goals by starter Matt Vinc. They even took an early 1-0 lead before the Lakers experience took over and quieted the upstart kids.
Chad Tutton, who had his first goal of the season, said the game was a good one to play in.
“There was a little bit of chippiness in the beginning but I think we handled it well,” he said. “We tried to stay out of it for the most part. We have them two more times this season so we think it’s going to be the same kind of rough and tumble lacrosse.”
Jake Fox and Brett Coons were playing in their first games for the Lakers who were without Jake Withers, Zach Currier, and Holden Cattoni away at lacrosse camp with assistant coach Tracey Kelusky. Head coach Mike Hasen also had a prior commitment. Bobby Keast and GM Paul Day handled the bench. Fox had two goals in his debut.
The Lakers outscored the Kodiaks in the first on goals from Shawn Evans, Josh Currier, Adam Jones, Fox, and Cory Vitarelli. Former Laker Matt Crough, Mike Triolo, Derek Searle, and Mike Woods had goals for Cobourg. The Lakers had a slim 5-4 lead after the first.
Evans, Currier, and Vitarelli also had goals in the second period. Turner Evans had a solo effort goal and Brad Self scored on a two on one with Nick Weiss for a 10-5 lead after two. John St. John had the only goal of the period for Cobourg.
Tutton scored a power play goal to open the third period.
“Finally, holy crap!” he smiled after the game. “I think I’ve had about 100 shots this year and that was my first goal so hopefully I got the monkey off my back.”
Fox and Mark Steenhuis, with a third period hat trick, assured the Lakers lead remained intact. St. John picked up a second goal and former Jr. A Laker Tyler Roche had a goal for Cobourg in the final frame.
The Lakers special teams were on fire once again, firing four power play markers and one shorthanded goal.
Over two games, the teams combined for 163 penalty minutes. Sunday’s game had more flow than Thursday’s but the intensity level was still high with a lot of roughing and slashing calls as players tried to assert their dominance.
Kodiaks head coach Jamie Dubrick said that some of the intensity is left over from the KW days.
“The team has been here before, we still have the nucleus of the team from the KW Kodiaks.
A lot of these players have been around,” he said.
Stephen Hoar got the worst of a second period tussle with Peterborough native Brodie Birkhof, who leads the league in PIMs. Hoar was incensed he was given a minor penalty after he was wrestled to the ground by Birkhof who landed several punches to Hoar on the cement. Birkhof was ejected from the game.
It’s not the last fight we’ll see between the Lakers and the Kodiaks this season.
Attendance has been great in Cobourg with a lot of knowledgeable lacrosse fans in the area. A lot of them are Lakers fans, too, and on Sunday there may have been more red and blue in the stands than maroon. Attendance was announced at 1111 and the Lakers fans made their presence known with loud cheers on every goal.
Dubrick said Sunday’s game was a good one for the fans, Laker fans or Kodiak fans.
“I think we played awesome tonight,” he said. “We were on every loose ball, and it’s good for the fans to watch too, it keeps the fans on the edge of their seat.”
June 16, 2016
by Anna Taylor
PETERBOROUGH – The Century 21 Lakers welcomed the new kids on the block to the MSL Thursday night with a 15-2 smackdown at the Memorial Centre. The Cobourg Kodiaks, in their first visit to Peterborough, learned very quickly who the most dominant team in the league is.
Even more than usual, due to John Grant Jr.’s highly anticipated return, the Lakers were on fire in front of 3048 fans. They took no prisoners, winning every period and withstanding a physical second period from the visitors who tried their best to fight their way back into the game. After Tuesday’s third period breakdown loss to Six Nations, the Lakers needed the win.
“Tonight was awesome,” Josh Currier, who had a hat trick, said. “Tuesday was real rough losing that lead late but today we obviously bounced back and put it to them. It was really good to see that everyone was on the same page tonight.”
The Kodiaks feature several players from the Peterborough minor system including Broedie Birkhof, Riley Campbell, Matt Crough, Pete Rennie, Tyler Roche, and Mike Thomas. Crough and Rennie were traded from the Lakers in January. Thomas played six games for the Lakers in 2013. After Thursday’s game, the Kodiaks are last in the MSL at 0-5-1, their one point coming from a 9-9 tie versus Brooklin. The record is dismal but they have given a few teams a run for their money.
“They’re exactly what we knew they were going to be,” Grant said. “I heard they were giving teams some good games. They’re feisty, they’re hardworking, they’re chippy. They got a pretty good bunch of guys that grew up here or had some ties to Peterborough. They don’t want to come here and lose, this was a home game for them so you knew they were going to give it everything they got.”
Grant did not play in 2015 after moving his family to Denver, Colorado, but is back for one final MSL season and is determined to do whatever he can to help the Lakers host the Mann Cup.
“I’ll just put the pain away and go out and try to represent my hometown,” Grant said. “I just love playing here. I haven’t been here since we got beat out by Six Nations in 2014 so that’s the longest I’ve ever gone without being in my hometown, so it’s nice to be back. I couldn't ask for a better 24 hours. Left my house this morning at 5:30, got here at 3:30, my old man picked me up, took me to the Pizza Factory, had a little nap, back into the barn, and it’s like I never left. I absolutely love playing here and I’m going to cherish every moment I have here to help this team.”
He expects to only be able to dress for six or seven games before playoffs. Only six games are required to qualify a player for the playoffs. He had one goal and two assists in his debut.
“I sucked,” he chuckled, “but I knew I was going to have a bit of rust. I’ve been fooling around in field and it usually does give you bad habits. But [with the Lakers] it takes a little bit for me just to realize I’m there to help out, pass the ball, and just watch the ball go in the net. I think some guys had excellent games tonight and I was just glad to be out there with them… I think I had a few chances, hit a few pipes. I think I was getting little fancy but I have a tendency to do that when I come back home, I like to hear the place go bananas.”
Shawn Evans opened the scoring at 3:26 with a solo effort avoiding two defenders before beating Rance Vigneux in close. Adam Jones increased the lead at 7:55 with a far side top shelf shot. Jacob Ruest cut the lead in half on a power play accepting a cross crease pass from Dylan Goddard. Cory Vitarelli scored a pair of goals late in the period for a 4-1 lead after the first.
Josh Currier had a second period hat trick, while Mark Steenhuis scored two in the frame. Evans faked a shot before passing to Grant who powered the ball past Vigneux for his first of the season. Dylan Goddard replied for the Kodiaks while playing three on three. The second period featured 47 minutes in penalties and was surprisingly rough considering it was the first meeting between the two teams.
Former Laker teammates Evans and Pete Rennie got things going with offsetting slashing minors. Off a face-off, AJ Masson was levelled by Jake Withers, who was then knocked down by Derek Searle. Masson ended up involved with Chad Tutton, who dropped his gloves, but Masson had lost his helmet and the referees intervened, giving each five minutes for unnecessary roughness. Withers and Thomas were also sent to the box for two each. Later, Rennie and Joel Matthews exchanged words, while Broedie Birkhof got ahold of Adam Jones. Birkhof received a major and a ten minute misconduct while all others received just two each. Birkhof is the most penalized player in the league with 60 PIMS in six games. Tyler Roche grabbed hold of Currier’s facemask late in the period and the two swung each other around for a bit before receiving five each for roughing.
“When games get chippy like that it gets tough but we kept our cool pretty good so I was proud of the boys for that,” Currier said.
The Lakers led 8-2 after the second period but kept the pressure on the Kodiaks.
“We wanted to make sure we kept pressing the whole game and weren’t giving up late ones like we did against Six Nations,” Currier said.
Jones caught a streaking Evans in front of the net for the Lakers first tally of the third period. Evans completed the hat trick 2:25 later throwing an underhand shot past Vigneux. Vitarelli picked up a rebound at 8:19 to complete his hat trick. Zach Currier, after being denied in previous games on several breakaway attempts, was finally successful as he potted his first transition goal as a Laker. Holden Cattoni capped the game at 17:05.
Special teams were important in the game, with the Lakers going 4/6. With the addition of Grant, the Lakers boast one of the best power play units possible when he plays with Evans, Steenhuis, and Cattoni.
The Lakers are in Cobourg on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. for a return match with the Kodiaks before returning home next Thursday to host the Six Nations Chiefs.
- Turner Evans, Eric Shewell, and Josh Gillam were scratched.
- The Lakers dominated once again in the face-off circle, with Jake Withers going 13/16 and Zach Currier 4/4.
- Shawn Evans was named the Wiser’s 1st Star of the Game, while Evan Kirk was named the One Eighty Hunter Street Defensive Player of the Game.
- Kirk made 38 saves on 40 shots. Vigneux made 45 saves on 60 shots.
June 14, 2016
by Anna Taylor
HAGERSVILLE - The Century 21 Lakers and Six Nations Chiefs just can’t play a boring game.
Their first contest of 2016 picked up just where they left off in the MSL finals last season, but this time, the Chiefs came out on top with an 8-7 win at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena. The Lakers saw a third period lead disappear in just 1:23 of playing time with Dan Coates potting the winning goal at 12:52. With Matt Vinc pulled for an extra attacker, the Lakers were unable to even it back up.
Assistant coach Bobby Keast said the Chiefs late surge didn’t surprise the Lakers.
“What we saw [from Six Nations] was what we were expecting,” he said. “We executed our game plan up until about six minutes. We had about a six minute stoppage and they did what they do. Every game’s going to be like that. They’re missing one, maybe two out of their lineup. We have six to add in, so we have a bigger upside, and I’m encouraged by that.”
The Lakers face the Chiefs three more times this season: one in Six Nations and two in Peterborough.
Joel Matthews and Cody Jamieson traded first period goals. Holden Cattoni and Shawn Evans, on a power play, scored for the Lakers in the second period while Jordan Durston and Jamieson, also on a power play, replied for the Chiefs. It was a tense 40 minutes as the teams felt each other out.
The floodgates opened in the third. Jamieson scored his hat trick goal on yet another power play but the Lakers went on a run with Cory Vitarelli tying the game 1:08 later. Cattoni then scored two more and Josh Currier had a great shorthanded goal for a 7-4 Lakers lead. Quinn Powless, Johnny Powless, Durston, and then Coates scored for the Chiefs in a span of 1:23 to erase the Lakers lead. Dillon Ward stood tall in the Chiefs net to deny late shots from Evans, Cattoni, and Currier.
First year Laker Jake Withers was challenged in the face-off circle, going up against Jay Thorimbert, one of the best face-off guys in the world. Vaughn Harris, a young face-off star in his own right, supplemented Thorimbert in the circle.
Withers and Zach Currier each won 50% of their faceoffs*, absolutely praise-worthy stats against Thorimbert and Harris. Withers is the best face-off man the Lakers have had in several seasons and his performance tonight has to have fans excited for future contests.
Withers said that he didn’t do any extra research on Thorimbert before the game, but was familiar with his style from seeing him play against the Lakers in the past.
“Just in the last couple years I watched him come to the PMC on Thursday nights,” he said.
Withers had previously only experienced the Six Nations-Peterborough rivalry with the junior team. This was his first game playing the Chiefs.
“Right off the opening whistle guys were slashing and whacking, the crowd was yelling, hooting and hollering,” Withers described. “You can sense that they have a little grudge against us that they want to get back for the us winning it last year.”
The flow of the game was disrupted by numerous penalties in every period, mostly for slashing and roughing as the teams renewed acquaintances. Right off the bat, Brad and Scott Self along with Cody Jamieson and Brodie Merrill, some of the game’s usually gentle players, all went to the box at the same time for a scrum in the corner by Vinc.
The younger players had to adapt quickly to the pace of such an intense rivalry.
“It was really cool,” expressed Withers. “I’m used to it with us always matching up with Six Nations in junior but it’s just that little extra step now playing with the men and a lot higher stakes. It was definitely a learning experience. We didn’t come out with the win but we learned as a team and I think by the end of the year we’ll be back here and we’ll be on the winning edge.”
Evans led the Lakers with a goal and four assists. Cattoni had three goals and one assist. Mark Steenhuis had three assists. Matthews, Currier, and Vitarelli were all 1-1. Vinc made 47 saves in the loss.
Jameson led the Chiefs with three goals and one assist. Durston was 2-1, and both Johnny and Quinn Powless were 1-2. Ward made 46 saves for the win.
The Lakers are back in action on Thursday evening hosting the Cobourg Kodiaks for the first time at the Memorial Centre. John Grant Jr. will make his final season debut that night, and will be an added boost for the offense.
“Grant is just going to do what he does on the left side,” Keast said. “He’s going to make everyone around him better whether he’s on the right side of the left side, and he also brings his energy, an offensive energy, so that’s not going to hurt either.”
Please remember to bring a non-perishable food item for Kawartha Food Share.
*Only 14/18 face-offs were seen by the author
June 11, 2106
The Century 21 Lakers congratulate Peterborough's COGECO TV for winning the best sports event telecast in the province for its production of the Lakers' games last season.
The best in CogecoTV productions were celebrated at the CogecoTV 13th Annual Star Awards held on June 9, 2016 and presented live across Ontario.
Sports Event – Large System
Peterborough Lakers Lacrosse – Peterborough, Producer: John Costello
The Lakers have COGECO TV as a media partner showing all their live home games. Not only are they happy for COGECO and all of its hard working volunteers and employees, but glad that they spend the time, energy and facilities on the game of lacrosse.
By the way Peterbrough won two other awards including one for Daniel Malta who also does the Lakers' games.
Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada, Peterborough, Producer: Marcus Ferguson
Sports Feature Reporting
Peterborough Petes Education Program – Peterborough, Producer: Daniel Malta
June 4, 2016
BRAMPTON - The Century 21 Lakers moved to 2-1 on the season with a 15-5 win over the Brampton Excelsiors on Saturday night at Memorial Arena. The Lakers held a 2-1 lead after the first period which extended into a 7-4 lead after the second.
The floodgates opened in the third with a five goal run amid a multitude of penalties on both sides catapulting the Lakers to a large lead. Adam Jones and Shawn Evans led the Lakers with six points each. The Lakers fired 63 shots at the Brampton net. Matt Vinc played a solid game in goal for the Lakers stopping 49 shots.
Scoring for the Lakers were:
Adam Jones (3-3)
Cory Vitarelli (2-2)
Holden Cattoni (2-1)
Cam Milligan (2-0)
Shawn Evans (1-5)
Josh Currier (1-2)
Brad Self (1-1)
Jake Withers (1-0)
Thomas Hoggarth (1-0)
Stephen Hoar (1-0)
Turner Evans (0-1)
Chad Tutton (0-1)
The Lakers return home this coming Thursday, June 9, to host the same Excelsiors. Tickets are available at the Memorial Centre box office, and game time is 8:00 p.m.
June 13, 2016
The Century 21 Lakers will have John Grant Jr., one of the world’s best lacrosse players back in their lineup this Thursday.
Grant has been trying to work out his Denver commitments to join the team this season in their pursuit to get to the Mann Cup and host it in his hometown of Peterborough.
Grant has been playing for the Lakers system since he was four years old and couldn’t play last year because of work commitments in his new home in Denver Colorado where he plays for the National Lacrosse League and professional field lacrosse team.
It will be a sweet and bitter return, a hello and goodbye. This will be his final season for the MSL and Lakers.
"I am extremely excited to have another opportunity to step back on the floor for the Lakeshow this summer,” he said.
“This will be my last season playing for our Lakers and I will give everything that I have left to help this team win lacrosse games. I want to thank the organization for giving me the honor to represent my beloved home town one last time and I will cherish every last moment."
General Manager Paul Day and coach Mike Hasen are excited about the new addition.
“This has been in the works since our (Rochester where he and Hasen work for the Knighthawks in the NLL) home opener vs the Mammoth (where Grant plays in Colorado) in January 2016,” said Day.
“Originally he wasn't going to be able to get into a home game until the June 30 game, but he had to move up the date. We are excited to add Junior and he will improve our power play and his chemistry with Adam Jones (he also plays for the Mammoth) the past few seasons has been very special.
“We are glad to able to add to our offense and bring Junior back for his final summer season, it is special for his family, our organization and the community.”
Grant is one of the top snipers in the history of the game in both the NLL and MSL and says he can’t wait to get back to his hometown rink the Memorial Centre this Thursday.
Grant has worked out a schedule with his school where he coaches lacrosse to make sure he could commit enough games to the Lakers this season.
The 6’2” 224 pound, 41-year-old Grant is regarded as one of the all time great indoor and field lacrosse players. He is second in all time NLL scoring in league history and the only player to average 6.18 points per fame. He set the record for points in a NLL season in 2012 which stood until 2014 when Lakers Shawn Evans broke it. He has represented Canada in many world championships in both field and box championships.
His father John was also a star for the Lakers and in the NLL. He will be wearing his familiar #24. He began playing full time for the Lakers in 1996 after an excellent junior career. With the Lakers he scored 422 goals, 438 assists for 869 points in only 179 regular season games. He was the league rookie of the year and four years later was
named MVP. He won five Mann Cups while with Peterborough and was named MVP twice in those championships. In 169 playoff games he has 337 goals and 338 assists for 725 points.
Grant will also continue to play field lacrosse this summer for Denver. His first game back begins at 8 p.m. against the Cobourg Kodiaks at the Memorial Centre. Fans are reminded it is also Kawartha Food Share night and are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for a bin in front of the Memorial Centre.
June 12, 2016
Century 21 Lakers and star forward Curtis Dickson received some bad news when an MRI in Calgary revealed a suspected sports hernia which may keep him out of the Lakers’ lineup for the season.
Dickson had an injury during the National Lacrosse Season and during recent workouts felt it getting worse. The MRI confirmed the seriousness of the injury on Friday. He doesn’t yet know if surgery will be required.
General manager Paul Day says “We were working with Curtis and the Calgary doctors, to determine the injury, it never came to light until week one of our season. It is very unfortunate for our team and the fans, but Curtis is very disappointed and his health is the number one priority.”
Dickson is very disappointed. He said he was so looking forward to returning to the Lakers after spending his first season in Peterborough last year. He was told the injury would require three to four months to heal. He won’t know until tomorrow if surgery is required.
Dickson said “Obviously I’m upset I most likely won't get a chance to play this summer. The team is looking great so far and have a great shot at getting back to the Mann.
“As for any chance of me playing it will all depend on the final diagnosis and whatever the doc tells me. Obviously I would love to get out there and battle with the boys but I need to make the smart decision and not risk further injury and take time off.
“I'm just going to be spending my time coaching out in Calgary this summer, hopefully I can make my way out east to catch a game or two and cheer the boys on,” he said.
Dickson joined the Lakers after general manager Paul Day was able to get his rights from the western lacrosse association. Dickson came second in scoring behind Shawn Evans with 75 points in 18 games including a team leading 37 goals in the regular season. He was also second in playoff scoring with 49 points including the team leading 24 goals in the Major Series League playoffs.
The two time all American who has earned the nickname Superman for his high flying across the crease goals with the Lakers and the NLL Calgary Roughnecks, thinks the Lakers have a good chance of getting back to the Mann Cup and wanted to be part of that journey and to experience a Mann Cup championship series in Peterborough.
Lakers coach Mike Hasen said, “Not having Dickson in our line-up is a big loss. He is such a dynamic player that we as a group will have to work to fill the void.
“It’s not up to one player to do what Dickson does, because no one can; the onus is going to be on the guys we dress for each particular game and as a group we will take advantage of the opportunities that present itself.”
General Manager Paul Day says Dickson’s loss will be a big hole to fill.
“We have Mark Steenhuis back this year, we will move on, this will give everyone a chance to improve and provide some young players with an opportunity to continue the positive play we have seen for the first four games."
The Dickson injury is just one of a list of Lakers injuries to key players including Brock Sorensen, Mark Farthing, and Andrew Suitor.
Junior graduates have been playing well and filling in the holes as they learn the team systems.
The Lakers are 3-1 to start the season.
The team plays Six Nations on the road Tuesday night and Thursday night host the new Cobourg Kodiaks at 8 p.m. at the Memorial Centre. It is Kawartha Food Share night when fans are asked to bring a non-perishable item of food for the barrel in front of the Memorial Centre.
May 31, 2016
by Marla Taylor
Adding to the excitement a sports team generates, is its array of official merchandise. The Century 21 Lakers kicked off their 2016 summer season with a news conference held Tuesday May 31 at The Ultimate Fan Store in the upper end of Lansdowne Place, close to Sears Department store.
The Lakers have partnered with The Ultimate Fan to be the official agent of Merchandise. The deal was worked out between Len Powers, Director of Lakers' Merch, and Steve White, owner of The Ultimate Fan.
They are pleased that gear will be available seven days a week, fifty-two weeks of the year. As well, the store will set up a kiosk at the north-west entrance of the PMC and offer all of its Lakers' items for sale. This begins Thursday June 2, at the home opener between our guys and Brooklin.
Currently on display in the store are red or blue Century 21 Lakers t-shirts, in a variety of sizes for men, women and children, and caps in similar colors.
Arriving any day, will be personalized player t-shirts, beginning with Shawn Evans, Curtis Dixon and Mark Steenhuis. As more fans make their wishes known to either Lakers’ officials, or better, the staff at The Ultimate Fan, more names will be appearing on the backs of the Lakers’ faithful. The staff is eager to talk with Laker followers, to see what they want made available to purchase, as time goes by.
For instance, in the fall, and leading to the Christmas season, long-sleeved t-shirts and hoodies are hoped-for items. Mugs are planned as well. Probably in the next six months, work will begin on actual jerseys. Don’t hesitate to stop in any day of the week and make your special request. (Don’t you think Leo would make the most adorable stufftie? Not a six inch size but a full-blown foot high stufftie. He’s just that important to a lot of people.)
The Ultimate Fan is very excited to be the official site of Lakers' memorabilia. They stress that all credit cards are welcome, as well as Lansdowne Place and Ultimate Fan gift cards. They offer TAP, as well as cash and debit. When you’re in the mall, stop by the store and say hello and leave your requests with the staff. They’ll see what they can do.
June 9, 2016
by Anna Taylor
PETERBOROUGH – The Century 21 Lakers pulled out a last minute 12-10 win over the Brampton Excelsiors on Thursday at the Memorial Centre. Adam Jones broke a 10-10 tie with 33 seconds to go, blasting a shot stick side on Excels goaltender Quinton Martin. Shawn Evans scored an insurance marker on the empty net with four seconds left. The win improves the Lakers record to 3-1 and leaves them in second place behind the Brooklin Redmen. The Lakers also beat Brampton 15-5 on Saturday.
Cory Vitarelli was an offensive force in the game, scoring five goals.
“It’s nice to chip in,” he said. “We have a pretty good offence and on any night anybody can score and it’s always nice to help out. Guys stepped up tonight big and it’ll be that way for the rest of the year.”
The Excelsiors remain winless after four games and sit last in the MSL, but it’s not for a lack of effort. The game was close and was one possession away from going to overtime. It was a relief when Jones put the Lakers on top.
“Brampton’s a good team,” Vitarelli recognized. “Every team in the league this year is a good team so we know there are going to be no games taken for granted. Tonight we saw that and it was exciting, close, and that was a big goal by Jonesy late in the period.”
Fans got nervous early in the first as the Excelsiors scored on their first and second possessions of the game from Mike Melnychenko and Tyler Ferreira. Adam Jones cut the lead soon after before Vitarelli tied it with a quick stick goal. Shawn Evans increased the lead and Vitarelli made it 4-2 before the end of the period. Although they started slowly, the Lakers outshot the Excelsiors 27-13 in the first.
The Lakers led 8-7 after the second period on goals from Vitarelli (2), Josh Gillam, and Turner Evans, his first of the season. Brampton tied it at four less than two minutes in and the teams traded goals the rest of the period. Ferreira (2), Matt Spanger, Kyle Aquin, and Melnychenko scored for Brampton.
The Lakers dominated in the face-off circle, potentially having their best game at that position in years. Jake Withers was 13/16 and Zach Currier 9/9. Currier got the cheer of the night as he battled four Excelsiors off a second period face-off, drawing a penalty while he was doubled teamed to the ground, still holding possession of the ball.
Ferreira tied the game at eight 2:10 into the third period with his fourth goal of the game. Mark Steenhuis, and Vitarelli on a five minute power play, gave the Lakers a 10-8 advantage. Tyson Bell was in the box for high sticking Joel Matthews. Darryl Robertson scored shorthanded on the same penalty to bring the Excels within one before Joe Resetarits knotted it at ten.
“It feels great to win tonight. In our home opener we were a little bit stale,” Vitarelli said. “Our fans are great, top notch, and anytime we can win for them, especially on a night like tonight for Ron Keast, in his honour, is great for us.”
After his fifth goal, Vitarelli stepped into an even higher gear with shot after shot but was unable to complete the sock trick.
“Any one of us is competitive and anytime you can score more goals you always want to, but I’m happy that we won and that’s the key,” he said.
Evan Kirk made 47 saves in net including some jaw-dropping highlight-reel stops.
In the first, Paul Dawson ran up the floor on a breakaway, and Kirk charged at him but dodged at the last second, stealing the ball and sweeping it around him out to a Laker defender.
In the second, Kirk threw a shoulder into Darryl Robertson as he ran behind the Lakers' net.
In the third, Kirk faced a two on one rush, bending low in the process to stop Connor Sellars, and managed to throw the stick back up in time to stop Spanger’s rebound attempt.
The fans applauded heartily on each play, but Kirk downplayed his part in the theatrics.
“There were lots of awkward rebounds. Those saves looked a little unorthodox and like I was moving but they got big rebounds so it turned into a different style save,” he explained.
The goaltender wasn’t all that happy with his play despite the win.
“I think there are four or five that I wanted back, that’s for sure,” he said. “We gotta get better. We’re slow, we gotta do the little things. Get off the floor, let the O set up, let the D set up, and we need to communicate a lot more.”
He recognizes though that growing pains are expected and necessary and that the team has already made improvements from last week.
“It’s early in the season. I know you don't want to make excuses, but we’re missing a couple faces, there are lots of new faces on the team, so we’re trying to get to know one another. [Last week] was a little quiet on our part. It was tough and we obviously wanted to do better than we did last home game.”
The Lakers are on the road Tuesday in Six Nations before returning home next Thursday, June 16, to host the Cobourg Kodiaks.
Longtime Lakers' board member Ron Keast was honoured prior to the game. Keast passed away in November. His sons Bobby and Monty, and daughter Fay, participated in the ceremonial face-off.
Nick Weiss, originally scheduled to play his first game of the season, sat out the game for a little more rest after a tough NLL final series.
George Burrows, 98, was in attendance. Burrows is the oldest living Canadian lacrosse player, an alumni of the Brampton Excelsiors. Burrows also took in the Brooklin Redmen game on Wednesday evening.
Matt Vinc and Ian Llord were unavailable due to family commitments.
Mark Farthing warmed up with the Lakers although he will not play this season as he awaits surgery to repair a torn ACL.
June 2, 2016
by Anna Taylor
PETERBOROUGH - The last time the Century 21 Lakers lost their home opener was the year they started their run of five Mann Cups in 11 years. So nobody is worried about the results of Thursday’s first home game at the Memorial Centre, an 11-7 loss to the Brooklin Redmen.
The Redmen silenced the 3313 fans in the crowd as they took a 2-0 lead early in the first. Despite outshooting the Redmen 57-36, the Lakers were caught playing catch-up all game long. Adam Jones and Shawn Evans scored all seven of the Lakers' goals. Evan Kirk made 25 saves.
“We got down a couple early and we just couldn't put the ball in the net in the first and second and they got a couple goals late in the second and early third and we just couldn't catch up,” Adam Jones said.
“It wasn’t the effort we were looking for right from the get go,” head coach Mike Hasen said. “I think we were a step behind, a little slow. You go back to where we were on Monday (an 11-4 win in Oakville), it’s two totally different teams here. It’s 18 lessons along the way though, we just have to make sure we’re getting better.”
Brooklin missed the playoffs in 2015 but look to be much improved this season, their 50th anniversary. Several superstars such as Mark Matthews and Steve Priolo are still with their NLL clubs but it was the rising talent of Dan Lintner and Shayne Jackson that stuck it to the Lakers on Thursday. Rookies like Austin Shanks and Ryan Keenan were some of the better players on the night. Goaltender Zach Higgins was unbeatable in net.
“They were a little bit sharper than we were,” captain Scott Self said. “They’re a very good team. I think we underestimated them a little bit because they are young, but they’re all guys that have been in this league or the NLL or were really good guys in junior… they came in and executed tonight and they were the better team.”
Shayne Jackson opened the scoring just 48 seconds in after Shawn Evans had a good chance in close on the Brooklin net. Dan Lintner and Adam Jones traded the next four goals, as Lintner scored on a quick-stick jump shot from beside the crease 20 seconds into a power play to make it 2-0 before Jones got free in front of Brooklin netminder Zach Higgins. Lintner scored again on a play identical to his first goal to make it 3-1. Jones picked up his second on a power play to pull the Lakers within one but Ryan Keenan popped a late one to kill the momentum.
Evans squeaked the ball past Higgins on a power play to open the second period. He then tied the game on a bounce shot near the ten minute mark, but Brooklin scored two more from Keenan, on an extended five on three, and Jackson, four on four, for a 6-4 lead.
Brooklin outscored the Lakers 5-3 in the final frame. Austin Shanks scored shorthanded early before TJ Sanders and Derek Hopcroft added to the lead. Jones put one over the shoulder of Higgins on a power play to make it 9-5. The Lakers pulled Kirk early and Jackson scored on the empty net for his third of the game for a 10-5 lead. Peterborough then scored two in a row from Evans and Jones with Kirk pulled but Ryan McSpayden came out of a late face-off with the ball and put it into the empty Lakers' cage to cap off the scoring.
Self says the Lakers must be better.
“Most of us know the league this year, there’s no easy ones,” he said. “In years past it might have been us and Brampton and Six Nations and then the other three teams were maybe weaker but this year every night you’re going to have to show up and compete because it’s pretty much a pro league this summer. You want to push yourself every night you step on the floor and it keeps you in good habits. Sometimes when you play those weaker teams and then you go in and play Six Nations you end up thinking you’re a lot better than you are and you find out the hard way, so I think this starting with tonight will kind of wake us up and a little and we’ll be better for it.”
Jones agrees that the Lakers must work harder.
“There’s a lot of parity in the league and I think it’s a good thing,” he said. “We have to be a little less complacent at the beginning of the game and come out a little sharper.”
This was not the Lakers only tough test this season. With all teams loading up for a chance to host the Mann Cup, wins are going to take more than just talent. Hasen knows the Lakers can work harder and hopes to see it from here on out.
“We got taught a lesson here tonight that every team is gong to come in here and work hard,” he said. “Tonight we got outworked for 58 minutes… We did have spurts but that’s the lesson we have to take from here that we have to be as consistent if not better than consistent than everyone else.”
The Lakers are in Brampton on Saturday evening at 8:00 p.m. before returning home to host the Excelsiors next Thursday, June 9.
Matt Vinc was unavailable for the game as he was coaching the Denis Morris High School boys lacrosse team at OFSAA. Cole Murray from the Ennismore James Gang backed up Evan Kirk in goal.
Making their home debuts for the Lakers were Ian Llord, Joel Matthews, and Bryce Sweeting. Jake Withers played one game as a call-up in 2015. Fellow junior graduates Zach Currier and Holden Cattoni made several appearances in 2015 including the Mann Cup.
Withers was 12/17 in the face-off circle and Zach Currier was 3/4.
May 29, 2016
by Anna Taylor
The 2016 Century 21 Lakers are starting to take form. The defending MSL champs practised for the first time on Thursday evening at the Memorial Centre. Twelve players were put through drills by coaches Mike Hasen and Tracey Kelusky. A second practice is scheduled for Sunday night at 7:30. Fans are welcome to watch.
Although there were only 12 players at practice Thursday, coach Kelusky expects more for Sunday and expects to have a full roster for Monday’s opener in Oakville.
“We’ve got a handful of guys that are still with the Bandits, a handful of guys that are still playing college, and some guys that just finished playing so I’m sure there are some that might want to rest a bit, but we’ll be pretty close (to a full roster),” he says.
Kelusky says the practice was to get the players legs back under them and get them familiar with one another. It was a relaxed atmosphere to get the players back into the summer game.
“Guys are still just finishing college or NLL and they need a little bit of hiatus to rest the bodies and get refreshed and get ready to go. It’s important not only to rest the body, but the novelty and excitement of wanting to play needs to be there and if guys need a week or a couple weeks to get to that spot then so be it, but everybody for the most part is used to this - one season ends and another begins… There were a couple of laughs, but at the same time the guys knew what [the practice] was for. Get the kinks out, get reacclimatized with each other and have a little fun. After a long winter in which 100% of the guys have played ball, whether it be college or NLL, it gets the kinks out, get reacclimatized, get in Lakers' mode.”
Head coach Mike Hasen says that the team has unfinished business from last season. Everyone is committed to repeating last season’s MSL success and this year, winning the Mann Cup.
“Our expectation in this city is to win,” he says. “We didn’t finish what we wanted to do last year, we were a couple games short and we want to get back there again. We are younger, we have a couple fresh faces in here that are going to push the older guys a little bit. These guys know our expectations. The whole league is going to be a lot tougher this year and we’ll have our work cut out for us. I like the team that we have, we’ll add a few pieces to it, and we’ll be better for it.”
GM Paul Day says the fresh faces in the lineup belong to graduating juniors Jake Withers and Bryce Sweeting, as well as Zach Currier who saw some Mann Cup action last season. Kelusky says that Withers will take the majority of face-offs for the Lakers, an area on which they want to improve their stats. Sweeting spent the NLL season in Colorado so he’s ready to jump right in on defense and make a difference.
Ian Llord will be another new face on defense as the team looks to replace Brock Sorensen and Mark Farthing who both suffered season ending injuries playing for the Toronto Rock. Llord was acquired last season but did not suit up.
“It’ll definitely be a different look with Ian Llord coming in,” Day says. “He’s a very physical big body on the defense and we’re excited to add that to our defense.”
Scott Self will return as captain, and Nick Weiss and Robert Hope have developed into two of the best defenders in the NLL.
Key players on offense are unchanged; Curtis Dickson and Shawn Evans will once again lead the team offensively. Mark Steenhuis, Adam Jones, Cory Vitarelli, Josh Currier, and Josh Gillam will also help out the offense.
Matt Vinc and Evan Kirk will return in goal.
Every other team in the MSL has also made improvements to their roster this offseason, meaning the 2016 season will be the most competitive one fans have seen in years.
“This is probably going be the best major series lacrosse people have seen in awhile,” Day says. “Everybody’s that much better, we’re that much better too. It’s a chance to host the Mann Cup, that’s what we want, that’s the reason we’re all back here and it’s exciting.”
- Mike Kirk has retired from summer lacrosse
- Scott Evans has not decided whether he will play this season
- Mike Accursi will not return; Bobby Keast will take his place as assistant coach
April 2, 2016
The Century 21 Lakers have once again obtained the rights to power forward Curtis Dickson for the 2016 lacrosse season.
General Manager Paul Day made the announcement on Wednesday. The transaction is pending Canadian Lacrosse Association of the approval of Dickson’s transfer from the Western Lacrosse Association's Maple Ridge Burrards.
Transfers are only for one year through the CLA. Dickson first came to the team last season.
“We have an excellent working relationship with the Burrards and they have allowed us to have Curtis play in Peterborough again this year,” said Day.
“Curtis was an integral part of our success last season and our #1 priority in the off season was to be able to have him back.”
Dickson, who quickly became a fan favourite and one of the top point getters last year in Peterborough said from Calgary, where he plays in the National Lacrosse League: “I am thrilled to be returning to Peterborough. The Lakers’ fans are second to none and it is an honour to be able to put on that jersey.
“Our goal for the season is obviously a Mann Cup. We fell just short last year and that sour taste is going to be left in all the guys’ mouths. We're excited for another opportunity to get back there and host it this year.
“There is no experience like getting to step on the floor at the Peterborough Memorial Centre and playing in front of those fans. I have to be excited to play next to my buddy Evy (Shawn Evans) again.”
Major Series Lacrosse in Ontario will be a hotly contested 18 game season as Day points out: “Each team in the MSL has improved this year and the Lakers want to remain on top. Curtis Dickson will be a big part of our success moving forward."
The Lakers start their season on the road in Oakville on May 30 before opening at the Memorial Centre June 2 with Brooklin on their regular Thursday home game night.
All season ticket holders are reminded to renew their seats at the Memorial Centre by 5 p.m. Friday. Season ticket holders will also receive season tickets to all the regular season Merit Precision Junior Lakers home games which begin next month.
January 27, 2016
PETERBOROUGH - The Century 21 Lakers got bigger and stronger in their first trade of 2016 giving up Matt Crough and Pete Rennie and senior B Dylan Goddard for 6'3" 220 pound Joel Matthews a 25 year old offensive righthander and a third rounder from the former Kitchener team now based out of Cobourg.
GM Paul Day who is also with the National Lacrosse League Rochester
Knighthawks team said "We need to get bigger and stronger. I have coached Joel the last two years and he is big, strong and an off ball player that plays with a lot of energy , fans will love him and he
will make a lot of room for our offense."
On the other side of the coin he said the trade will give Crough and Rennie a chance to play every night.
Matthews a Rochester fan favourite from St. Catherines was Rochester's rookie of the year in 2014.
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