BRAMPTON -- The hosts switched to their home whites and the visitors went to a new man in net, but the course that was set in Game 1 of this Mann Cup final remains unchanged.
The Brampton Excelsiors took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven final with a 6-5 win last night, another superior exhibition of lacrosse that sends the New Westminister Salmonbellies into their first day off of the series wondering what they can do to alter what is shaping up to be a very short series.
Pinpoint passing on the attack and a relentless pursuit on defence, aided by the superior goaltending of Anthony Cosmo, have served the Excelsiors well in the first two games.
The Salmonbellies made things interesting with a pair of late goals last night to get to within one with 22 seconds remaining. They won the ensuing faceoff and went on one last attack but couldn't get the equalizer past a very solid Cosmo.
"It was a little bit of a scare tonight, but so far so good," Excelsiors forward Colin Doyle said. "We had our chances but I thought their goalie played really well. We had to earn it."
Salmonbellies head coach Bob Salt stayed with his playoff trend of alternating goalies with Matt Roik, a Dunville native, coming in for Game 1 starter Tyler Richards, the New Westminister rookie who stood on his head throughout the WLA playoffs.
In a bit of irony, Roik and Cosmo were just traded for each other in a National Lacrosse League deal last week with Cosmo going from the San Jose Stealth to Chicago in exchange for Roik and Chicago's first-round pick this year.
Initially the move provided the spark Salt hoped it would as Roik held the Excelsiors off the board for almost the first half of the first period.
ON THE ATTACK
New West's Cliff Smith opened the scoring, as he did in game one, only to see the Excelsiors defence baton down the hatches.
Excelsiors captain Dan Teat finally broke the seal on the Salmonbellies net eight minutes into the game.
Again, just as it did in Game 1, the goal seemed to relieve the tension for the home side, which began pouring it on. Roik held his ground allowing just one more goal -- a second to Teat on a nice feed from Doyle -- in the period but like a shark that gets that first taste of blood, the Excelsiors attack continued unabated.
Doyle, Aaron Wilson and Blaine Manning all beat Roik in the second period as the hosts took a 5-2 lead into the final frame.
Cosmo, who was stellar in Game 1 was no less so last night. The Salmonbellies' five goals marked their lowest output of the season.
"Our defence has been outstanding in front of him (Cosmo), but he makes those five or six saves a game that really changes the direction of the game," Doyle said.
The series resumes tomorrow night back at the Powerade Centre. Game time is 7:30 p.m.