The Victoria Shamrocks opened their 2018 Western Lacrosse Association season at home, by defeating the Burnaby Lakers 13-11 at The Q Centre in Colwood. It was a nail-biter despite the Shamrocks taking an unprecedented 69 shots to 36 for the Lakers.
Wednesday, the Lakers opened their season in Langley with a 12-7 loss; they showed up motivated, while the first period proved to be a rusty affair for the Shamrocks.
“Yeah, I think it showed,” said Casey Jackson. “We took a while to get going for sure, but we just needed to get that first goal, to get going.”
At 1:45, Jared Pozzobon opened the scoring for the Lakers, with a five-hole shot on goaltender Cody Hagedorn, Shaun Dhaliwal and Tristan Rai assisted on the play.
The Shamrocks took at least 15 shots during the first period, where they aimed high and subsequently failed to solve Lakers goaltender Eric Penney for much of the period.
Asked if there was a method to taking so many high shots coach Bob Heyes said, “no it was just bad shooting, early in the first game, but the guys found the back of the net eventually. They just needed that first ball to drop.”
With just 1:09 remaining in the first period, Josh Fagan scored from the left side going glove-hand and waist-height on Penney. For Penney, who arguably was a star of the game, exposed a weak spot.
Dane Stevens had scored twice, to lead the Lakers to the dressing room up 3-1.
The Shamrocks found their groove as soon as they hit the floor for the second period. Within the first 5:57, Casey Jackson and Jesse King scored twice each, while Lakers’ Tyson Gibson had scored the first goal of the period to set the pace. In a span of 3:02 the Shamrocks appeared to take control with those four goals – but Burnaby wasn’t going away.
King scored his hat-trick marker at 10:57, going five-hole, the ball just dribbled past Penney.
Asked about his injury (he was wearing a knee wrap), King said, “It’s better, I tore my ACL, MCL and Meniscus, but I am feeling great.”
The game turned chippy for the third period. A couple missed penalties – according to Shamrocks’ faithful – turned into motivation. At 3:15 Casey Jackson completed his own hat-trick, again going glove side, close-in.
He then turned on a 30-foot Duch pass and went short side on Penney with a bullet. The Shamrocks were feasting on that glove side. The goal came at 5:45. At 6:19 King, not to be outdone scored his fourth of the game. Ryan Fournier delivered a devastating hit near his bench on an unsuspecting Lakers player, and then delivered the ball to King, who made no mistake.
Jackson scored his fifth while on the powerplay at 13:18. Again Kinger wasn’t going to be outdone, scoring his fifth at 14:27. Duch earned his ninth assist of the game on that goal.
Asked about playing after having a season off due to injury, King said, “It was a great night, to play in my hometown, drive just 15 minutes to the arena and play in the arena I grew up playing and watching the Shamrocks was great. It was great to have my parents in the stands.“
The teams exchanged goals throughout the period, scoring a total of 13, with the Lakers netting seven including Eli McLaughlin’s third-period hat-trick, to keep his team in the hunt.
With the score 12-10 Chris Wardle notched a goal at 16:30 that was set-up by Fournier. Hagedorn earned an assist on the play.
With less than three minutes remaining in the game, the Shamrocks went on the powerplay, but Penney closed the door and Stevens completed his hat-trick at 19:06.
The Shamrocks next play against the WLA favourite New Westminster Salmonbellies, who won their season opener Thursday over the Maple Ridge Burrards 13-6.
EXTRAS: Rhys Duch took 12 shots, but failed to score, however, he earned nine assists on the night. Jackson went: 5g, 3a for 8 points. King picked up an assist for a total of 6 points.