© Copyright – 2016 – Victoria Sports News
The Olympics are over, Royal Athletic Park is vacant as the HarbourCats post-season ended early, and the Victoria Royals and Victoria Grizzlies hockey teams are just getting their camps together. Meanwhile the Vikes’ various teams are a couple of weeks away from opening the equipment rooms in CARSA – we are still in the thick of summer. So don’t be surprised if on Wednesday, The Q Centre has a packed house for round two of the Western Lacrosse Association playoffs. Game time is scheduled for 7:45 PM.
The two teams to battle for the WLA Championships are the tougher-than-nails Maple Ridge Burrards and the faster-than-flight Victoria Shamrocks.
The Burrards dispatched the second-place New Westminster Salmonbellies in five games. They will be rested, while the Shamrocks went seven games against the Burnaby Lakers.
No rest for the wicked.
The Shamrocks had a 3-0 stranglehold over the Lakers, but just couldn’t put them away. The series was decided last night at The Q Centre, with the Shamrocks finally solving the mystery of the amazing Zach Boychuck, the circus act who stole games for his team with his magical sleight of hand.
“You can only face 50 shots per night for so long,” said sharpshooter Corey Small. The Shamrocks indeed outshot the Lakers handily in five of the seven games, averaging 46 shots per, with highs of 56, 54 and 50.
But the ‘Rocks won two of their games while being outshot, for example in game two the Lakers let fly 49 shots to Victoria’s 44, that resulted in a 13-8 Victoria win. During the final game, the ‘Rocks were outshot 39-35 and won 14-11.
Head Coach Bob Heyes said after game four, “I’d rather see 40 quality shots than whatever we had tonight (54).” His prevailing wisdom was about the team firing from the outside and perhaps from bad angles, rather than in-close.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” is a classic quote by Wayne Gretzky after his 92-goal season from 1981-1982. One of those 92 goals was a shot from Jari Kurri that went off of Gretzky’s helmet and into the net.
Anyways, perhaps Boychuck was sick of making all those saves; it’s hard work.
With the Burrards being rested, will the Shamrocks get off to the flying start like they did against the Lakers? It was a luxury that they could – not that they wanted to – but could rest on.
Let’s hope that the 2016 regular season WLA champs and 2015 defending Mann Cup Champion Victoria Shamrocks have got the Burrards number as they will need to be rested and recovered to face whoever will be hosting the 2016 Mann Cup series back in Ontario – should they get that far.
Somewhere in the foosball and table-tennis -littered halls of ViaTech, there is a super geek in socks and sandals who can whiz up an algorithm to sort this problem out; a ratio of the optimum number of shots-versus-real opportunities quotient and where they should be taken from.
The Shamrocks seemed to have found it Sunday night with 35 quality shots, but there were about 20 more that ricocheted off the glass and boards and player’s helmets and down the road to the lagoon.
Gretzky also famously said, “at the end of the season they don’t ask how, they ask how many.”