SIX NATIONS Only one more win is needed to open the door to the Six Nations Chiefs’ hope to win three Mann Cups in a row, a feat they accomplished in the 1990’s.
The Defending Mann Cup Champion Six Nations Chiefs fought off the Peterborough Lakers Monday night in Game #5 of their best-of-seven series to determine who will represent the OLA at this year’s Mann Cup.
It was a see-saw first period with neither the Chiefs nor the Lakers taking complete control before the tide suddenly turned in the other direction. But the Chiefs got stronger as the night went on and eventually celebrated a 10-6, Game #5 win.
Early in the first period, the Chiefs took a 3-1 lead, but the Lakers chipped away at it until the period ended 3-3 with Curtis Dickson bringing Peterbotough back into the game with a long distance rocket.
Kasey Beirnes broke the tie in the second with a blistering shot from the high slot past Matt Vinc to give the Chiefs a 4-3 lead. From that point on, the Chiefs slowly pulled ahead further. Meanwhile, Brandon Miller was solid and at times sensational in the Chiefs net robbing the Lakers of at least three sure goals before the game was over.
Following Monday’s game, Randy Staats said, “This is a great team we are playing. You can’t take a shift off against them.”
And for the most part, they didn’t.
“When our offense was struggling, our defense held up their end, and when the defense was struggling we helped them put the ball in the net at the other end. It was an all-round team effort tonight. Hopefully we can get everybody going this Thursday and win the Ontario final.”
That Game is in Peterborough beginning at 8 pm. Should the Lakers win, Game #7 will be hosted at the ILA Sunday, Aug. 30, at 7 pm for all the marbles.
The Chiefs, had an opportunity to even the OLA Major Series championships at two games each on Sunday night, in Peterborough. They completed that mission with an 8-6 win in Game #4 of the OLA Major Series playoffs.
Last Sunday, in Peterborough, the Chiefs called upon Brandon Miller to stand between the pipes and he was up for the challenge, facing 55 Peterborough shots.
Last year, Miller entered Game #7 of the MSL finals with the Chiefs trailing 4-1 and backstopped the Chiefs comeback as they rebounded to win 9-5. Miller was selected as MVP of the Mann Cup as Six Nations earned back-to-back titles. Ironically, Miller took over for Evan Kirk in that game. Kirk, now with Peterborough, suffered the loss in the Lakers’ net Sunday night.
Ryan Benesch opened and closed the first period for the Chiefs with teammate Randy Staats and Peterborough’s Turner and Scott Evens between to end the first period with the Chiefs leading 3-2.
The Chiefs’ lead didn’t last long in the second period when Chad Tutton scored, unassisted, and Chris Dickenson scored to pull the Lakers ahead 4-3.
Randy Staats and Dhane Smith leapfrogged the Lakers with goals 28 seconds apart. That lead didn’t stand either as Cory Vitarelli evened the score. Benesch netting his third of the game at 19:38 to take back the lead, 6-5.
Adam Jones tied it again at 2:20 of the third period but Benesch was on fire and scored the last two goals of the game for a five-goal, two assist night.
The game got a little pushy late in the game as Shawn Evans took two slashing penalties plus two game misconducts at 19:55 triggered by a slash from Chiefs’ Billie Dee Smith.
Down two games to none and with backs up against the wall, the defending Mann Cup Champion Chiefs found a way to win Game #3 of the best of seven 7-6, against the Peterborough Lakers, Friday night at the ILA.
The biggest step towards the Chiefs’ first win of the series was curtailing high scoring Shawn Evens, limiting him to two goals. Dhane Smith, who was awarded the league’s top scorer honours, scored the first goal of the game on a power play from Colin Doyle and Johnny Powless, a minute twenty eight into the game.
Evens and Chad Culp answered before Randy Staats scored the next two to end the period 3-2, in Six Nations favour.
Evens struck again to open the second with Sid Smith off for slashing, before Dhane Smith and Kasey Beirnes took back the lead, 5-3. Curtis Dickson popped in a shorthander at 14:54 to pull the Lakers to within one of the Chiefs at 5-4.
Smith opened the third period as he did the first with a quick power play goal, again assisted by Doyle and Powless to go ahead by two, but Dickson and Adam Jones tied the game for the Lakers.
Stephen Keogh scored what would stand as the game winner from Randy Staats and Doyle at 10:26.