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Lyman Beatty celebrates overtime game winner at Trent. (Photo: Cameron Loucks)
Trent downed Bishop's 12-11 in overtime to advance to the Baggataway Cup final 6 weekend.
Lyman Beatty picked the perfect time to score his first goal of the season.?
With just six seconds to play in the first overtime period, Beatty took a pass from Garrett Eddy and ripped it past Bishop's goalie Alex Tooth for what would hold up as the winning goal in Trent's 12-11 win over the Gaiters in the Baggataway Cup playoffs first round.?
Beatty has played primarily on the defensive end of the field but was ready when he got a chance on O.
“He found a role in his third year playing middie-D, which most guys don't want to do,” said Trent head coach Geoff McKinley. “He really embraced it. He put up a lot of points last year and he's more than capable but we asked him to play a role. He saw an opportunity and he was able to bury it. I'm happy for him.”
McKinley had somewhat jokingly referred to the playoff game as a Death Match before the opening faceoff. The unusual scenario of the second- and third-ranked teams in the East Division arose because Queen's gets an automatic bid to the Baggataway final weekend.?
That means that rather than facing the fourth- and fifth-place teams, the Gaiters and Excalibur got each other in one of the highest-quality first-round matchups in CUFLA history.?
Bishop's head coach Rob Engelken wasn't happy about the matchup after the game.?
“Our league has a screwed up set-up with Queen's getting the bye,” he said. “We've beaten them twice this year and instead we have to come here and play a game like this. Not that any of the teams are easier but I'd have preferred somebody else.”
The difference from the usual matchups is clear when looking at the teams' records. Normally, 10-2 Trent and 9-3 Bishop's would have squared off against a pair of teams with 4-8 records - Ottawa and Queen's - in the first round, rather than each other.?
The matchup created a thrilling first-round game, though. The teams were tied after the first quarter.
Trent did an excellent job containing freshman sensation Sam Firth, mostly having long pole Justin Leith shadow Firth wherever he went on the field. Firth did break coverage for one goal, opening the second quarter to give Bishop's a 3-2 lead.?
The Excalibur went on a run then, scoring four straight goals - the last two by local product Adam Kitchen, who tied Eddy for the game high with three goals and three assists - to pull ahead 6-3.
Bishop's responded with a pair of goals in the final minute and a half of the second quarter to make it a one-goal game at the half.?
The Gaiters dominated the third quarter, outscoring Trent 5-2 to go up 10-8 heading into the final 20 minutes. Xavier Perron had two of his game-high four goals in that period.?
Trent dug deep and responded in the fourth, getting goals from Eddy and Kitchen in the first five minutes to tie things up at 10.
The teams traded one more goal each to set up an intense final few minutes. Bishop's called a timeout with three minutes to play and settled in to kill some time, leaving a player standing with the ball near the sideline for almost a minute.?
When the Gaiters did move towards the net, Trent's Joshua Martin came up with a huge strip to gain possession. A pair of Gaiters immediately pounced on Martin, trying to regain control, and were able to knock the ball out of his stick behind the Trent net. In the ensuing scramble, the ball went out of bounds off a Bishop's player, giving the Excailur possession.?
Trent had a chance to win in the dying seconds of regulation but this time it was Bishop's making a big defensive play. The Gaiters knocked the ball loose in the high slot, where players from both teams battle for it. It was eventually picked up by Jeff Fernandes. Not knowing exactly how long was left on the clock, Fernandes chose to shoot but his low skipper from long range was handled easily by Tooth.?
Bishop's got the ball back with what turned out to be about 10 seconds to play but wasn't able to clear the defensive zone and generate a scoring chance, so it was off to overtime.?
Kitchen said the Excalibur were confident they would prevail and weren't worried heading to the extra periods because they had been preparing for just that eventuality.?
“All week during practice we worked on overtime stuff,” said Kitchen. “We knew it was going to be a tough game. Bishop's is a great team. We just came to work. We knew we were going to win from the start but that it wasn't going to be easy.”
McKinley said the overtime practice helped to keep the players focused on what they needed to do in the extra eight minutes of play.?
“When we got there our guys were calm. They knew what to do and were all on the same page,” he said.
For Bishop's part, Engelken said his team came close to reaching their goal but made some mistakes late that hurt their chances.
“We put ourselves in a position to be where we wanted to be. We knew we could play with them if we did our things properly and then down the stretch we shot ourselves in the foot a couple too many times. You can't do that against a team that has the talent they have," Engelken said.?
The good news for the Gaiters, he added, is that they have only two players graduating, leaving a talented young core that should be able to build on the hard lessons they learned this season.?
Trent, meanwhile, heads to the Baggataway Cup looking to go one step further than they did last year, when they lost to Western in the championship game.?
The Excalibur will be joined there by the Mustangs, Guelph and McGillwho all handily won playoff games Saturdayas well as the winner of Sunday's game between unbeaten Brock (12-0) and Laurier (2-10).