Lakers get a leg up on Rock

PETERBOROUGH — A dominant game from the Peterborough Century 21 Lakers’ right side led them to a 13-9 win and a 2-1 series lead over the Oakville Rock on Sunday night at the Memorial Centre. The Lakers were energetic when it counted and sent the 3261 fans in attendance home happy.

Shawn Evans played his best game of the playoffs so far with a goal and six assists including an assist on Holden Cattoni’s game-winning power play goal. Kyle Buchanan recorded three goals and four assists, Josh Currier had a goal and three assists and Thomas Hoggarth chipped in a late-game goal to ensure every right-handed member of the Lakers’ offense contributed.

“For years Shawny has been our go-to guy,” veteran Cory Vitarelli said. “He always is when he’s on the floor for us. For our team to be successful everyone needs to chip in. On different nights, other guys step up with some big goals but Shawny is always a part of that and for us to be successful going forward it’s going to have to continue to be like that.”

The Lakers took an 8-5 lead into the third period but the Rock came out on fire, tying the game 9-9 by the 5:55 mark. Chad Tutton interrupted the Rock’s four-goal outburst with a transition bounce shot.

“We did a pretty good job until the start of the third,” defenseman Ian Llord said. “They’re a hardworking team. They’re going to shoot from everywhere so if we have any lapses they’re going to shoot. Myself, I did two silly things and they scored. They’re a very opportunistic team and they’re going to score when you give them the chance.”

“They transition the ball very well and they did early in that period,” defensive coach Bobby Keast said. “But when our defense has the opportunity to get back in our zone and set up and play, we’re tough to beat.”

Bolstered by their confident defense, the Lakers then rattled off four in a row including two insurance markers in the last minute and a half while shutting out the Rock in the last 14 minutes of play.

“We have some great leaders on the bench,” said Keast, specifically mentioning Brock Sorensen, Ian Llord, Adam Jones and Cory Vitarelli. “They actually help calm the bench down. And as the coaching staff that’s part of our job too to bring everybody back.”

Buchanan corralled a loose ball back to Cattoni on the power play at 8:40. Buchanan then redirected Evans’ shot off of Rose back into the net off his gloves at 10:55. Corey Small converted Buchanan’s pass with 1:26 left, and Hoggarth bounced Adam Jones’ pass through Rose’s five-hole with 1:08 left.

The Lakers jumped out to a very early 2-0 lead. Buchanan scored 38 seconds after the Rock got caught with too many men heading to the Lakers’ net. Buchanan was still up near Nick Rose and bounced in Shawn Evans’ centre-floor pass. Josh Currier bounced in an Evans’ backhand pass at 1:04. The Rock tied the game but an outside shot from Turner Evans gave the Lakers a 3-2 heading into the second.

“I thought we were a little bit better off the start, more ready to go,” Vitarelli said. “We were hungrier tonight but it was the same thing, a close game, but luckily we were able to answer and get on a couple runs which was the difference tonight.”

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