So far it’s been a season series that has lived up to the hype. After last year’s WLA Final, Victoria had redemption on the mind in the first meeting of this season, a 12-10 Victoria win on the road. Then two weeks later, Maple Ridge responded by stealing two points in Colwood in a third-period comeback. Home teams are 0-2 in the set and Victoria looks to keep that trend alive as they face the Burrards for the final time in the regular season on the mainland Tuesday. It marks the back end of a home-and-home between the teams and officially the start of the second half of the WLA season for the Shamrocks.
Victoria will once again look for a quick start, as they scored the first three goals of the game Friday versus the Burrards. They also look to improve on their third period. “We didn’t do the simple things like protecting the ball,” said head coach Bob Heyes postgame, “we have to learn from these mistakes”. Victoria responded well to their only other loss this season, which was just ahead of the first meeting with Maple Ridge. After falling 7-6 in Coquitlam on Saturday, Victoria scored six times in the first period the next night in Maple Ridge and swung the game with a 6-0 run in the first and second period combined.
Rhys Duch has recorded 13 points against the Burrards this season, the most among Shamrocks. Corey Small, Mike Triolo, and Casey Jackson all sit tied for second in that category with seven points. In Friday’s contest, Corey Small eclipsed both the 20 goal and 50 point plateaus.
Victoria will look to repeat Friday’s special teams effort, improving their already league-best power play by scoring on three of six man advantages, while holding the Burrards to two goals on nine power plays. The penalty killing unit of Mike Triolo and Rhys Duch had an especially strong night a man down, taking minutes off Burrards power plays by controlling the ball in the offensive zone.
Netminder Adam Shute has joined the Shamrocks since the conclusion of the NLL season, where he was a member of the Champions Cup winning Georgia Swarm. Shute played in twenty games with Victoria last season, with twelve of those coming in the postseason. He also recorded fourteen points on the season, all assists, although he does have a goal to his name. It came back in 2011 playing in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League Junior A division.
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