The Coquitlam Adanacs came back to beat Six Nations Arrows by a score of 7-6 in Game 1 of the 2014 Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre. (Photo: Dan Brodie)
In a series that’s anticipated to be a long, grinding battle, Game 1 of the 2014 Minto Cup lived up to the hype. And just like the FIL World Lacrosse Championships earlier this summer, NLL players and prospects are playing starring roles in the Canadian Jr. A championship featuring the top team from the East against the best in the West.
2015 NLL Draft prospect Wesley Berg scored the game-winning goal at 9:09 in the third period as the Coquitlam Adanacs defeated the Six Nations Arrows by a score of 7-6 in front of 1,300 fans at Langley Events Centre on Saturday night.
Berg's game winner was the only lead the Adanacs held all game, in a contest that was physical from the opening faceoff. Things started off rocky for Coquitlam as Six Nations scored just eight seconds into the game to give the Arrows a 1-0 lead. Six Nations would make it 2-0 as Josh Johnson put one past Calgary Roughnecks draftee Pete Dubenski. The Adanacs would even the game up in a hurry thanks to two quick goals by Berg and Tyler Pace.
The second period saw a little more offense as Six Nations would score four times in the period with Quinn Powless adding a goal and two assists in the frame. Coquitlam scored twice in the second but still trailed 6-4 going into the third.
“We’ve been down in most of our games early and we always battle back,” said Adanacs head coach Neil Doddridge. “We’re a resilient group with no quit in us."
The third period was where the Adanacs dug deep as Eli McLaughlin, slated as a top-five pick in the upcoming 2014 NLL Draft on Sept. 22, scored two goals in 1:44 to tie the game at six.
A roughing penalty midway through the third would prove costly for the Arrows, as Berg found the back of the net, giving Coquitlam a 7-6 lead.
They would hang to the lead to pick an important game one series win, thanks to the game’s first star, Adanacs goaltender Pete Dubenski, who stopped 43 of 49 shots.
“Dubs is a great goalie”, said McLaughlin. “He really kept us in it early when we started off slow, and closed it out for us. He was a wall back there”.
Six Nations outshot Coquitlam 49-46 but penalties hurt the Arrows who were shorthanded nine times and gave up two powerplay and two shorthanded goals.
“It’s just one game,” Doddridge said. “It’s nice to win it but there’s still a long way to go."
Arrows captain Johnny Powless, who has won three-straight titles with the Rochester Knighthawks, recorded four points (1+3) in the losing effort. Berg, who serves as Coquitlam's captain, finished with a team-high four points for the Adanacs (3+1) while McLaughlin was right behind with three points (2+1).
Click here for the Game 1 boxscore.
The Adanacs have a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-seven. Game 2 of the Minto Cup is set for Sunday at 11 p.m. ET at Langley Events Centre.
Johnny Powless (Six Nations & Rochester Knighthawks)
Don Alton (Six Nations & Philadelphia Wings)
Wenster Green (Six Nations & Rochester Knighthawks)
Peter Dubenski (Coquitlam & Calgary Roughnecks)
Taylor Northway (Coquitlam & Rochester Knighthawks)
NLL draft prospects:
Eli McLaughlin (Coquitlam- eligible for 2014 NLL Draft)
Wes Berg (Coquitlam- eligible for 2015 NLL Draft)