Chiefs face Lakers in MSL finals

SIX NATIONS – In hockey it’s the Leafs and Montreal or Montreal versus Boston, but in lacrosse it’s Six Nations and the Peterborough Lakers that create the most excitement and the biggest lacrosse rivalry in the game, and have since the days before the Gaylord Powless Arena was built and the Six Nations Warriors played out of Hagersville.

The lacrosse gods have chosen to repeat the matchup this year when the Lakers and the Six Nations Chiefs face-off for the Major Series League lacrosse championship best of seven series which started Tuesday, Aug. 22, at the ILA, at 8 p.m.

The defending Mann Cup champion Chiefs limped through a tough seven game series with some key injuries to get to the Lakers who defeated the Brooklin Redmen in six games.

Face-to-face, the Chiefs and the Lakers have a great deal of respect for each other but that doesn’t mean they like each other and the decades long rivalry includes a lot of extra curricular activities and innumerable fighting penalties. But along with it, some of the best lacrosse games to watch in playoffs.

The Lakers finished first, five points ahead of the Chiefs. Six Nations will have to stop Shawn Evans who led all Major Leaguers with 103 points. Six Nations Ryan Benesch lead the Chiefs with 72 points.

In playoff action so far this year, Evans leads the way with 32 points, but Benesch leads in playoff goals with 10, which he shares with teammate Vaughn Harris.

Behind Evans for scoring leaders are three Chiefs, Benesch (10G,15A in 7GP), Harris (10G,10A in 7GP), and Dhane Smith (8G,11A in 6 GP), tied with Peterborough’s Kyle Buchanan.

It will not be an easy series for the Chiefs. Peterborough’s Matt Vinc led the league in goaltending, while the Lakers led the league in powerplay goals percentage with an 41.56 average. That means the Chiefs need to stay out of the penalty box of they are to win.

The Chiefs had the best penalty killing average in the regular season and have a 77.22 penalty killing average, the best in the league, scoring seven short-handed goals along the way.

After Tuesday’s Game 1, at the ILA, the series switches to the Peterborough Memorial Centre for Games 2 and 3, Thursday, Aug. 24, at 8 p.m., and Sunday Aug. 27 in a mutually agreeable switch of locations to save on travel costs.

Game 4 will be at the ILA, Tuesday, August 29 at 8 p.m., and Game 5 is set for Peterborough Thursday, August 31.

Games 6 and 7 have not been scheduled at this time.

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