The Six Nations Chiefs have a 2-1 lead on the Maple Ridge Burrards at the Mann Cup, under way in Ohsweken, Ont.
The WLA champion Burrards are at the national senior A lacrosse championship for the first time since the organization’s move to Maple Ridge from Vancouver.
The Vancouver Burrards were at the Mann Cup in 1990, and were swept in four straight by the Brooklin Redmen.
This year’s series started on Friday with a 15-8 Chiefs win, after a tough day of travel for the host Burrards.
But the Ridge team evened the series Saturday witgh a 13-9 win, and then the two teams went to overtime on Monday night, in a game that was eventually won by the Chiefs 9-7.
The Saturday victory was the first in the Mann Cup by the Burrards organization since 1977.
In Game 2, Ben McIntosh led the way with three goals and seven points, and goaltender Frankie Scigliano, MVP of the WLA, made 51 saves on 60 shots.
The Burrards led Game 3 into the final minute, but the Chiefs tied it up, and sent it into a 10-minute overtime period that was not sudden death.
Maple Ridge coach Rob Williams said the Chiefs are the best team the Burrards have faced, and they have won two of the last three Mann Cups.
“They battle just as hard as we do, and they have a really good power play,” said Williams.
He said improving the penalty kill is an area where the Burrards can give themselves a better chance of winning the series.
Williams said the first game demanded a lot of adjustment.
“The rules are different, and we had to get used to them,” he said, citing an example being no slashing allowed off the ball. “We [the WLA] let it go a little bit more than they do. We had to adjust to it.”
But the Burrards played well in the second and third games, he said.
“It [Game 3] was a see-saw battle, and they got a couple of bounces and a couple of calls go their way.”
McIntosh is second in series scoring with six goals and 13 points, behind only Six Nations sniper Dan Dawson, who has five goals and 19 points.
Riley Loewen and Dan Taylor both have three goals and 10 points in the series.
Chiefs star Cody Jamieson had been sidelined with an injured knee that will require surgery, but he put a brace on it and entered the series in Game 3. On one leg, he led his team with three goals and four assists.
No B.C. team has won the Mann Cup in Ontario since 1986, but Williams isn’t feeling like the underdog. As the series grinds along, he likes his team’s chances.
“We’ve young. We’ve got young legs. We’ll just try to wear them down, a shift at a time,” he said. “We just have to keep it rolling, a shift at a time.”
The series is being played at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena, which is one of the great venues in the sport.
“If you’re a lacrosse player, it’s one of those arenas you want to play in someday.”
• Games 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven are slated for Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.
— Cdn Lacrosse Assoc. (@LacrosseCanada) September 13, 2016