Expect the Victoria Shamrocks to unleash their high-octane offence Thursday and Friday nights against two of the strongest Western Lacrosse Association teams – it will be the key to them winning either game.
The Shamrocks (3-2) have matches tonight and tomorrow against the New Westminster Salmonbellies in New Westminster and then at The Q Centre in Colwood on Friday at 7:30 pm.
The Salmonbellies are unbeaten this season, sporting a record of 5-0 including a 9-8, season-opening win over Victoria and sit atop of the WLA standings – this was expected. They are built to win this year.
So far, they are the only team to score more than Victoria with 60 goals, to Victoria’s 57. They have the second stingiest defence in the league with 41 goals against, bettered only by Maple Ridge’s 38.
The Burrards are 4-1, however, do not possess the high-powered offence that Victoria and New Westminster have, with just 48 goals scored.
If the Shamrocks can contain Curtis Dickson and his league-leading 22 goals, the Shamrocks can win.
“We can’t really prepare for a lineup before a game. We just have to worry about our game,” said Coach Bob Heyes. “You worry about your 20 guys and work with what you got.”
Which is scoring, ball movement and special teams.
The Shamrocks top line is one of the best in box lacrosse with Casey Jackson, Jesse King and Rhys Duch scoring nearly at will and a strong lineup where everyone is expected to contribute. Sunday, the Shamrocks’ special teams were exactly that, scoring eight of 13 goals on the man advantage and two more short-handed. Nanaimo had no chance on the 13-5 drubbing at The Q Centre.
“It’s nice to know that you can win games in different ways,” said Heyes. “That’s part of a team’s success, you build confidence when you can score 5-on-5, shorthanded and on the man advantage.”
Asked what the Shamrocks need to do to deal with the Salmonbellies, Heyes said, “We know them, we know what they have and we just have to come with a game plan to play to our strengths and make it uncomfortable for them. We have got a pretty healthy group and we will have just about our best lineup for Thursday. They have a very good team, so it will be a good measuring stick for us.”
EXTRAS: The Shamrocks will retire Kevin Alexander’s number 26 Friday night between periods.
Alexander’s pure scoring talent helped the Shamrocks to two Mann Cup championships in 1979 and 1983. His jersey will accompany Whitey Severson and Ranjit Dillon’s to the rafters.