Game report: Mann Cup game 2 – Maple Ridge 13 @ Six Nations 9

My mini game report (mini-report on a game, not a report on a mini-game) covers most of what I saw in game 2:

Perhaps I can expand on that a little.

I don’t follow the MSL or WLA all that closely, but close enough to know that (a) the Six Nations Chiefs were expected to challenge for the right to represent their league in the Mann Cup, and (b) the Maple Ridge Burrards were not. They even got into… um… penalty trouble earlier this year, but not only pulled through that but made everyone forget about it.

While watching the warmups before the game, I was once again floored at the number of familiar names on the Chiefs. The Dawsons. Dillon Ward. Stephen Keogh. Ryan Benesch. Dhane Smith. Jeremy Thompson. Sid Smith. Brodie Merrill. Randy Staats. David Brock. Dan Coates. Ethan O’Connor (which is spelled wrong on his jersey). That’s a pretty impressive lineup of NLL stars right there – and that’s with Cody Jamieson, Billy Dee Smith, Jordan Durston, and Craig Point out of the lineup. Include a number of non-NLL players (including Randy Staats’s little brother Austin) and you have a pretty powerful team.

On the other hand, you have the Maple Ridge Burrards, who aren’t nearly the stacked team the Chiefs are. No disrespect to a guy like Ben McIntosh, who I’d take on my team in a heartbeat, or goalie Frankie Scigliano, or other solid NLL guys like Creighton Reid, Jarrett Davis, and Riley Loewen, but the Chiefs have five players who were the in the top 2 in scoring on their NLL team last year and Dillon Ward is up for Goalie of the Year and Jeremy Thompson is up for Transition Player of the Year. No Burrards were in the top 2 on any NLL teams last year and none are up for any NLL awards. In addition, the Chiefs seem to be the strong favourites to win the series. Some predicted that the Burrards wouldn’t win a single period, let alone a game.

But the Burrards don’t care about any of that. They won the WLA because they played well as a team, and they won game 2 for the same reason. They moved the ball around well and took well-timed and accurate shots, while it seemed that the Chiefs fired anything and everything at Frankie Scigliano.

Frankie!

From the buzz on Twitter, Frankie has been stellar for the Burrards over the playoffs and Saturday night was no exception. He allowed one goal on 19 shots in the first period and three on 22 shots in the second. Other than a five-minute lapse in the third, Frankie was in control all night. Dillon Ward wasn’t seeing the ball so well, though he was far from terrible. He was pulled a couple of minutes into the third for Doug Jamieson, who I assume is related to Cody. Jamieson played OK and along with the 4-goal run in the third, helped to give the Six Nations faithful some hope for a big comeback. But the Chiefs got into some penalty trouble of their own late in the third which allowed the Burrards to kill time and end the comeback bid.

It seemed to me that the Chiefs, other than Ryan Benesch, were all really big and the Burrards were not. Looking over the roster on the Burrards web site, most of their players are in the 5’11” – 6’2″ range, with a couple of 6’4″s and a 6’5″, so pretty much what you’d expect from a lacrosse team. There are a couple of guys named Porter who are Josh Sanderson-sized, but gritty and quick. It seemed that those guys were everywhere. On the other hand, the Chiefs seemed to have Beni and a bunch of guys 6’3″ and bigger. I’m sure most of that is seeing Dan Dawson, Paul Dawson, Brodie Merrill, and Dhane Smith together – those guys look like they belong on a basketball team, not a lacrosse team. I’m sure in reality it’s not as uneven as it seemed. Not that it mattered.

I’m heading back to the ILA for game three on Monday night, but I won’t be able to make games four, five, or six. I don’t have a particular rooting interest, so I’m rooting for a seven game series. If it goes to game seven, I’m there.

Other game notes:

  • I need a CLA rule book. It seemed that sometimes the team had to get the ball out of their end in 10 seconds, other times they didn’t. Over and back wasn’t called most of the time, but I think it was once or twice.
  • In the third, the Burrards got a tripping penalty, and then got a bench minor which was served by DJ Saari. The Chiefs scored on the 5-on-3, which ended the tripping penalty, but Saari came out of the box.
  • The ILA is weird. There are places that I’ve sat in the arena and had internet service on my phone, though kind of spotty. In other areas of the arena, I don’t even have phone service, let alone internet.
  • After his 2nd intermission interview, Dan Dawson left the floor and walked through a bunch of kids, then turned around and came back to give them all fist bumps. Classy.
  • The shot clock whistle is really loud.
  • All three media timeouts took place at 9:45 of the period.
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