Lakers silence Thunder in Game 7

by Gary Ahuja

Game seven, tie score, 20 minutes to play with the Mann Cup championship on the line. That is the situation the Langley Thunder and Peterborough Lakers found themselves in on Saturday night at the Peterborough Memorial Centre.

The Thunder had stormed back after trailing 7-3 with just over six minutes to go in the first period, cutting the deficit to two goals after 20 minutes and then after falling behind 8-5, scoring four straight to take their first lead since being up 1-0. The Lakers would tie the score at nine before period’s end setting up 20 minutes to determine the Canadian national champion.

But Peterborough would score goals 36 seconds apart and add a third 99 seconds later for what became an insurmountable lead. The Lakers would cap off the period with a goal into the empty net for the 13-9 victory and their fourth consecutive Mann Cup championship.

“Unfortunately, the last 20 minutes didn’t go our way. Our team came out this year, we gave it our all, we put up a fight the whole season … came out here and pushing it all the way to game seven, which no one has done in a really long time,” said Langley captain Connor Robinson, mentioning the stat that no B.C. team had won the Mann Cup in Ontario since 1986.

“We came out and gave it our all and unfortunately, the bounces didn’t go our way in the third period. But building blocks for next year,” he added. “I think our team showed a lot of resiliency; we have a couple of older guys, but the majority of our group is young, and this is a great learning experience and no matter way to learn than against the best in the world.”

The Lakers won a fourth consecutive Mann Cup with Lakers head coach Mike Hasen calling this title probably the hardest of the four.

”They(Langley) were really good, really deep, they are young, they are hungry and they had a lot of weapons. It was a tough battle,” he said.

The Lakers defence did a fantastic job in the third period on getting sticks in shooting lanes and deflecting Langley’s attempts on the goal. And of the shots that made it through, goaltender Matt Vinc was up to the task, making 10 of his 35 saves in the period.

“It is a whole team effort, especially when they have great shooters like Dane Dobbie and obviously Curtis Dickson,” Vinc said. “Langley is a hell of a team and they have a great offence, great goaltending. They played us tough, but we are fortunate we have a lot of good leaders, a lot of character in that room. It is hard to win in the East, especially when you are playing in Peterborough, the fans make a big difference.”

The Lakers were led by Holden Cattoni’s three goals and nine points while Cory Vitarelli and Mark Matthews each had had tricks and five points. Joe Resetarits (two goals, four assists) and Thomas Hoggarth (two goals, two assists) also had multi-goal games.

Langley was led by Robert Church’s two goals and seven points while Robinson (three goals, two assists), Dickson (two goals, three assists) and Dobbie (one goals, four assists) each had five points, Erik Maas (one goal, one assist) and Dylan Kinnear (two assists) also had multiple points.

Frank Scigliano made 37 saves on 49 shots.

Dickson was also the recipient of Mike Kelley Memorial Trophy as the Mann Cup MVP after scoring 18 goals and 42 points over the series.