Blue Devils pushed to the edge
London Community News
Photo by Mike Maloney/London Community News/Twitter:@mdmaloneyphoto
The London Blue Devils will have their backs to the wall when they take on the Wallaceburg Red Devils at Earl Nichols Recreation Centre on Friday night (July 13).
On Sunday afternoon ( July 8 ) the two squads hit the floor of the Wallaceburg Memorial Arena for game two of their best-of-five Ontario Junior B Lacrosse League (OJBLL) Western Conference semifinal with the Blue Devils trailing the series 1-0.
The better of the two teams on paper, London once again found themselves struggling to contain the Wallaceburg offence over the mid-frame.
A five goal run in the second period followed by three more to open the third, left the Blue Devils trailing 10-6 with just over 16 minutes left to play in regulation time.
London was far from done though with veteran Mike Rybka stepping up to be the spark plug firing the London bench.
First setting up a goal by Brady Doxtator and then Andrew Campbell before markers off the sticks of Davis Prince and Derek Hastings to knot the score at 10-10
Rybka notched what many thought could be the game winner with 1:25 left on the clock, but just like two nights before in London, Wallaceburg was far from dead.
Again it was the playoffs leading scorer, Jordan Durston, doing the damage, setting up Clint Lamarsh with 17 seconds remaining, sending the game into overtime. It was in extra time where he would coordinate two more Red Devils markers to poise the Blue Devils on the brink of elimination, defeating London 13-12 in double overtime to take a 2-0 series lead.
“All in all, we played a really solid game,” said Blue Devils coach Ian Gordon. He noted how after Friday’s 10-9 loss in game one, the team as a whole were pretty upset about the way things went and knew they had to come out strong in game two.
“The fact that we came back to take the lead after being down 10-6 in Wallaceburg says a lot about their will to win and commitment not to quit,” remarked Gordon.
Even with the deck stacked against them going home for game three, he and the entire Blue Devils coaching staff knows the team has what it takes to win.
“Each player is going to have to come out and play the best game they have played all season,” said Gordon. “Every shift, you have to commit to playing better than the shift before and if they do that, we will win.”
Game three of the series goes Friday night back in London at the Earl Nichols Recreation Centre with the opening draw scheduled for 8 p.m.
Game four, if required, goes at 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon (July 15). Should the series go the distance, the two teams will return to London the following night for a winner-take-all game five at 8 p.m. on the floor of the Earl Nichols.
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