They played a solid 20 minutes in game one and doubled that to a good 40-minute effort in game two, but the Victoria Shamrocks know they need a full, 60-minute effort if they want any shot of beating the Orangeville Northmen.
The Shamrocks were up 3-2 following one period and trailed just 6-5 after 40 minutes but the Northmen scored all five goals of the third period to win game two of the 2019 Minto Cup Junior A National Championship by an 11-5 score on Thursday night at Langley Events Centre.
The Northmen lead the best-of-five championship series 2-0 with a chance to win the organization’s seventh Minto Cup when the series resumes Friday (Aug. 23) night. Game time is 7 p.m.
“We have to put 60 (minutes) together to win,” stressed Shamrocks coach Terry Dennett, who was much happier with the team’s start, especially considering during the round-robin and in game one against Orangeville, Victoria was outscored 12-1 combined in those two first periods.
“Good start, but then the momentum swung over and we saw the experience that Orangeville has,” he said.
Orangeville has trailed just four times the entire tournament and game two was also the first time they went into the dressing room behind on the scoreboard as Victoria was up 3-2 following the first period.
“I thought we did a good of sticking with it. I think we had some good chances in the first period. In the second period, we got our transition game going and that ignited the energy in us,” said Northmen coach Bruce Codd.
Orangeville came out of the locker room and scored four straight to take the lead for good with Kyle Waters notching the first of his three on the night and Jonathan Donville adding the other three as he finished with four goals in the game.
In game one, the story was Dylan Watson, who scored seven of his team’s goals while Donville registered the other three in a 10-8 win. The dynamic duo combined for 19 points in the game one effort and have either scored or set up 45 of the team’s 56 goals through five games.
Watson was held to a single goal in game two but with Donville (four goals, two assists) and Waters (three goals, one assist), the Northmen did not miss a beat. It was Waters’ second-straight four-point game.
Ty Thompson (one goal, two assists), Mike McCannell (one goal, one assist) and Zack Deaken (one goal) rounded out the Orangeville attack. Rylan Hartley made 34 saves in the Northmen net.
“Since we added Jon Donville, they have taken turns on who is having the big night, so it is nice to have multiple guys. I thought we had some secondary scoring,” Codd said. “We can’t rely on just two scorers so it was nice to get some different guys (involved).”
“Every single guy up there, it doesn’t matter who we have in, can score and that just helps everyone,” added Waters.
Cameron Dunkerley finished with 45 saves as the Victoria netminder was peppered with 56 shots on goal. Offensively, Zach Manns led the team with a hat trick and Patrick Dodds (one goal, one assist) and Caleb Kueber (one goal) had the other Shamrock scores.
The Shamrocks know that one more loss will end their season. But this situation is nothing new to them as they dropped their first two round-robin games at the Minto Cup and then needed a victory and some math to work in their favour just to get to this point.
“We just have to stick to the process. It’s a five-game series and we just have to make sure we try and make it a five-game series,” Dennett said.
In the other locker room, the Northmen are one victory away from a Minto Cup championship.
“We just have to stick to the game plan of what we have been doing. Come ready, focus, work hard. That has been our motto since day one so we will stick with motto,” Codd said.
“Stay calm, we are not done yet, we still have one more and it’s the biggest one of some of our junior careers, so we are going to stay calm and keep going as we are,” added Waters.
“A lot of these guys have been together since we were three and four years old. I’ve known most of them since I first started playing lacrosse. They are some of my best friends forever so if we can win this it would be absolutely amazing.”