Thursday, May 26, 2016

1977 Lewis Cup Finals

The 1977 Lewis Cup Finals would pit the Ottawa Beavers, a team making it's first appearance in the finals, against the LA Wizards, a team looking to repeat as champs. After the Wizards got off to a fast start in game one, taking a 2-0 lead, Ottawa got goals from Casey Beckett, Vince Ward, and Jeff Grant in the third period to take a 1-0 series lead. Game two would be a tight one, with both teams nursing a 2-2 tie through two periods. As the third began, Ottawa had a terrific chance to take the lead once again when Randy McCracken hit the post with a wide open net. At the other end, Sheldon Hopkins scored to give LA the lead before Theo Howell sealed the win with the empty netter. Back in Ottawa for game three, The Beavers took an immediate 2-0 lead, only to have Ray Fowler tie it with two goals late in the second period. Early in the third period, Casey Beckett put the Beavers up 3-2. two minutes later, Brad Tearney scored to give Ottawa a 4-2 lead and ultimately a 2-1 series lead.

 LA desperately needed their captain Stuart Holly, pointless through the first three games, to step up. Holly showed up in a big way in game 4, scoring two goals and assisting on a third from Gilbert Giroux as LA won 3-1 to tie the series. Heading back home for a best of three, LA felt confident they could get control of the series, while Ottawa now knew they could beat the seemingly invincible Wizards. Game 5 was tight, as Holly and Doug Sampson each scored in a 1-1 tie that would hold up throughout regulation. In OT, Dennis Carter made two brilliant saves as Ottawa pressured LA hard for the game winner. towards the end of the first overtime period, Sheldon Hopkins was called for a trip on Vince Ward. Now on the powerplay, Ottawa continued to push. Carter made 7 big saves while defensemen Dennis Garbutt and Sheldon Lane blocked several shots. After killing the penalty successfully, LA began a push of their own. Finally, Ray Fowler scored off a rebound to give the Wizards a 2-1 victory and a chance to repeat. Game six back in Ottawa was dominated by the Wizards, who jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first period on goals from Holly, Hopkins, and rookie Eric Mosher. Ottawa made a push late in the third period but it was too little too late. The LA Wizards capped a record-setting season by hoisting the Lewis Cup for the second straight season.

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