The 2016 Minto Cup will be decided in a winner-take-all game tomorrow night, as the Orangeville Northmen survived elimination by holding off a third period comeback from the Coquitlam Adanacs to claim a hard fought 6-5 win.
A crowd over well over 2,000 fans packed the Langley Events Centre for the chance to see the historic trophy awarded to the Adanacs, who held a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five championship series. However, the Northmen were able to withstand a late offensive surge from their opponents to force a fifth and final game.
Matt Van Galen lead the way for the winner’s with a goal and three assists, while the tournament’s leading scorer Adam Charalambides added another goal and two assists to his totals, giving him 30 points in seven games.
The game got off to a slow start, with exactly 16 minutes expiring from the game clock before the first goal was scored off the stick of Orangeville’s Lucas Ducharme. Coquitlam’s John Hofseth replied a few minutes to tie things up at 1-1, which is how the first period would end.
Goaltenders Christian Del Bianco and Nolan Clayton were both kept busy, turning away 17 shots a piece in the frame.
It was an eerily familiar feeling after the opening period, as it appeared the team’s were headed for yet another low scoring affair. However, things picked up in the second and third periods, culminating with a exciting finish.
Orangeville scored three unanswered goals in the second frame and looked to be in complete control with a 4-1 lead, but Coquitlam scored one of their own in the final minutes to give them some life heading into the dressing room.
The Northmen failed to capitalize on a power play opportunity near the halfway point but managed to do so on their following possession, advancing the ball quickly down the floor and scoring on a Charalambides’ shot. Van Galen and Dallas Bridle added the others.
Hofseth added his second of the game at the 2:45 mark, finishing a nice cross-floor passing play with captain Tyler Pace by faking out goaltender Clayton before putting one behind him.
“In the second we didn’t really have the intensity,” said Coquitlam head coach Pat Coyle. “If we’re more intense the crowd feeds off of that, and we didn’t take advantage of that in the second.”
Many fans had not yet returned to their seats when Joel Coyle opened the scoring nine seconds into the third period, intercepting an Adanacs’ pass in the offensive zone and burying his first of the tournament past Del Bianco, giving his squad a 5-2 lead.
While it looked to be a sure momentum changer, Coquitlam never looked discouraged. They stuck to their game plan and controlled the play for almost the entire rest of the game.
“We started the third with that big goal, but we let them back into it a little bit,” said Clevely. “They worked to get those goals back.”
Jean-Luc Chetner and Colin Munro both had great chances denied by the post, but followed up by scoring shortly thereafter, Chetner’s on the power play and Munro’s off an outlet pass from teammate Eli Salama.
With the lead now cut to a single goal, Brett Kujula tied the game up at 5-5 with 3:44 remaining.
“We have a resilient group,” said Northmen head coach DJ Clevely. “It’s something that we’re use to. You’re not going to hold a team like that to two goals, that’s the reality of it.”
It looked as though the team’s were destined for overtime, but Orangeville’s Joel Tinney had a different idea.
After launching countless shots towards the net, seven of which were turned away by the goalie, he was finally rewarded as he sliced in from the side and beat Del Bianco to score the go-ahead goal with 1:47 remaining.
“I’m happy for Joel,” added Clevely. “He’s been great for us, but has had a tough time putting them in the back of the net, so I felt good for him.”
The Adanacs had one final possession but were unable to tie things up, their comeback falling short.
These two evenly matched team’s will battle for a final time, with the winner taking home the prestigious Minto Cup and the title of Canada’s Junior ‘A’ lacrosse national champion.
When asked what it would take for his team to win the Minto Cup tomorrow, Orangeville’s coach Clevely said “We’re gonna need a consistent effort for 60 minutes, our defense is gonna have to be solid, and we’re gonna have to finish on our chances.”
Coquitlam’s coach Coyle had a much more direct answer, stating “We’ll have a higher score than the other team.”
The best-of-five championship series continues on Monday, August 29 at 8:00PM PST at the Langley Events Centre.
- Thursday, August 25 at 8:00PM PST (Coquitlam 3, Orangeville 2)
- Friday, August 26 at 8:00PM PST (Coquitlam 6, Orangeville 9)
- Saturday, August 27 at 8:00PM PST (Coquitlam 9, Orangeville 7)
- Sunday, August 28 at 8:00PM PST (Coquitlam 5, Orangeville 6)
- Monday, August 29 at 8:00PM PST (if necessary)