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MANN CUP: Kid comes through for Shamrocks in Game 1
Click your heels three times and say Jesse King. The kid is dreaming and he wants to stay home.
The 21-year-old junior call up, who has been a consistent contributor for the Victoria Shamrocks in the 2013 playoffs, scored a natural hat trick in the third period on Friday (Sept. 6) to erase a 4-2 deficit and defeat the Six Nations Chiefs 5-4 in Game 1 of the Mann Cup.
He was named the Shamrocks player of the game while Cody Jamieson, who might be the biggest big-game player going in lacrosse today, took that honour for the Chiefs.
Game 2 goes Saturday night at 7 p.m.
“It’s a dream come true, all I can say is I’m happy I got to play in the Mann Cup,” King said.
Here’s the bad news - King’s NCAA status is limiting him to just one more game. On Sunday he flies out to rejoin the Ohio State Buckeyes. But there was no disappointment from King after the game. The call-up will enter the Western Lacrosse Association draft next February and could end up drafted anywhere.
“I never played at a level like this, never had a sniff of the (junior A national championship) Minto Cup, and now I’m playing for the Mann Cup. I have to thank the Shamrocks, hopefully I can stay here the rest of my life.”
The Chiefs came out the better team to start the game Friday and had things quiet at Bear Mountain Arena.
Craig Point scored twice as the Chiefs took a 4-2 lead into the third period. Ben McCullough and Rhys Duch had scored for the Rocks by that point.
Penalties could have been assessed at every turn throughout the game but remarkably ended almost even with the Chiefs drawing six minor infractions to the Shamrocks’ five. Only two penalties were called during a gladiator third period. King scored his second goal on the Rocks’ power play. Karsen Leung and Duch ragged the ball for most of the Chiefs’ power play.
Then came King’s glorious winner. With 10 minutes left, King took a pass from Cory Conway and headed for the net but was angled away. Without a shot and at an incredibly sharp angle, King whipped the ball over his shoulder, behind his back, and beat goalie Evan Kirk.
It wasn’t quiet anymore.
“A lot of the time with a crappy angle like that, you just gotta get the best shot off. I didn’t score a goal like that my whole junior career, I don’t know why I did that,” King said.
Not bad for a guy who, until this summer, had only ever played in front of friends and family at The Bear as a junior Shamrock.
“King did a phenomenal job,” Shamrocks coach Bob Heyes said. “We made it (more) exciting (than it needed to be) for that last play of the game. We didn’t play a very good first two periods, but a good third and once again (goalie) Matt Vinc was great.”
Cody Jamieson was visible but not the deadly threat expected as the reigning back-to-back MVP of the National Lacrosse League’s Champions Cup. None of his seven shots beat Vinc, though he did pick up assists on three of the four goals.
“Vinc is an all world goalie and he didn’t give that title to himself,” said Jamieson, a former teammate of Vinc's. "Credit to Vinc, he was awesome, hopefully we can put more past him.”
Green vs. green
The Six Nations Chiefs wear green. Who knew?
“It was a little tough to see who had the ball in traffic,” said goalie Matt Vinc.
If he says so that’s saying something as he’s formerly of the Chiefs.
Three deep on the rail
The peanut gallery was out of peanuts as Bear Mountain Arena hummed with over 3,000 people in it. Standing room only is an understatement as the surrounding rail atop the stands was a minimum of two people deep during the game, and three deep at the better vantage points.
The Shamrocks rally towels looked good.