SIX NATIONS – The sound you may have heard at around 11 o’clock Monday night was that of the Six Nations Chiefs flushing away Game #3 of the Mann Cup Championship at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena.
The stunning loss now gives the visiting Victoria Shamrocks a 2-1, best-of-seven series lead with Game #4 set for Tuesday night, the results of which will miss our deadline.
Game #5 will be played Wednesday night, Sept. 10, with Games #6 and #7, if necessary, set for Friday, Sept. 12th, and Saturday, September 13th.
The Chiefs looked ready and capable of running the Shamrocks out of the arena in the second period after playing to a 1-1 tie for the first 20 minutes.
Stephen Keogh made it 1-0 at 5:11 from Cody Jamieson and Jeff Shattler. Then, with Ian Lord serving two minutes for slashing, Corey Small evened the score at 10:05 from Dhane Smith and Scott Ranger, to finish the first period tied at 1-1.
The Chiefs were stung again when both Cody Jameson and Colin Doyle drew penalties on the same play at 1:25 of the second, leaving Six Nations with two of their top players sitting it out for on a 5 on 3 Victoria powerplay, which Chris Wardle capitalized on.
Former Shamrock Jeff Shattler went on a tear in the second, beginning with his first of the night scored at 5:18 from Vaughn Harris. Jamieson put a second notch in his stick at 6:18, also set up by Harris, and Shattler scored his second at 7:08, when he swatted in a crease pass, again assisted by Harris.
Johnny Powless made it 5-2 from Jamieson and Kasey Beirnes at 7:30 before Shattler struck again at 10:24 from Jamieson and Doyle.
The Chiefs were riding high with a 6-2 lead and all the confidence in the world. Tyler Hass picked off a Chiefs pass and scampered in all alone on Brandon Miller to score the Shamrocks third goal and break the Chiefs string. Jamieson responded with a powerplay goal at 13:38 to keep the Chiefs four-goal lead intact.
Former Chief Rhys Duch cut into that lead at 14:29, but Keogh got that back at 15:43 with a diving goal to make it 8-4.
Duch stung the Chiefs with a short handed goal to reduce the Six Nations lead to 8-5 and then, with 8 seconds left, Karsen Leung was sent in all alone with a long pass from goaltender Matt Findell to pull within two of the leaders.
It was a harbinger of things to come as the Chiefs were caught several times on the transmission and became completely porous as the third unwound.
Victoria scored twice to open the first to even the score at 8-8 and turned the tide towards the west. The Chiefs were now the ones on their heels as the Shamrocks kept coming, as they did in Game #2.
Jamieson and Doyle restored the Chiefs lead which the ‘Rocks once again chipped away at with Dhane Smith closing the gap to one, and Small tying it again on a powerplay with Rory Smith off with a double minor for roughing.
Keogh scored the Chiefs last goal of the game at 16:45 to once again take a narrow one-goal lead, as the clock became a factor.
Duch sent the Victoria fans wild with the tying goal scored at 17:49 and held the Chiefs off as regulation time expired.
In the 10 minute OT period, Scott Ranger gave the Shamrocks a 12-11 lead while the Victoria defense put up a wall Six Nations shooters could not easily penetrate.
In the last seconds of the OT period, Shamrocks’ Bradley Kri reached in behind his goaltender to stop a sure goal, before Flindell made two amazing game savers as time ran out on the Chiefs.
It was a game of missed chances and distracted focus for the Chiefs as the Shamrocks and their fans celebrated the win, and the Chiefs and their fans contemplated what happened.
The Chiefs won’t have a lot of time to figure that out, as the teams face each other again Tuesday and Wednesday nights.