Rhys Duch – Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

© Copyright – 2016 – Victoria Sports News

The defending Western Lacrosse Association regular season champions did it again, finishing first overall. This year they waited until the second-to-last game on Friday night to tie the New Westminster Salmonbellies in points with 26, but secured first overall on having one more win. That wasn’t good enough.

“We don’t want to win on a technicality, we want to be alone in first place,” said leading scoring Rhys Duch.

The game had similarities to the Friday night match against the Nanaimo Timbermen. The Shamrocks held leads at the end of both the first and second periods, but were out-scored during the third. Tonight they defeated the Coquitlam Adanacs in Coquitlam by the very same score as last night’s game, 11-8, this time they had to win in overtime to get the job done.

Tonight the Shamrocks, for the second game in a row, faced a team with nothing to lose, which can often be dangerous. But the Shamrocks are in playoff mode and were not going to take the Adanacs lightly.

The Shamrocks are also the defending WLA playoff champions and Mann Cup champions. They again have their eyes on the Mann cup, but know they have work ahead of them. They start the playoffs in Victoria on Friday, August 12th against the Burnaby Lakers.

“They (Burnaby) have a good team and some talented players,” shared Duch after the win over the Timbermen Friday. “We haven’t seen their full line-up yet.”

“They have some stars on the team, they are not going to be easy to play,” shared Corey Small.

The Lakers finished fourth overall, which is the final seed and therefore draw the first place team, while the Salmonbellies will host the Maple Ridge Burrards in the first round.

Duch said that he would like to get the “100” – meaning 100 points as he was sitting at 93 after Friday night’s game, he did just that, plus one better. The winning goal was scored by Jesse King and assisted by Duch at 1:12 of overtime, to make the score 9-7 – the two teams entered overtime tied at 7-7.

Duch ended up with two goals and six assists, while King, who opened the scoring had five points on four goals and one assist. Jeff Shattler scored four, while Small had four helpers.

The Shamrocks outshot the Adanacs 59-40. Adam Shute was solid in goal for the Shamrocks, while Josh Phillips needed to stand on his head to keep the score close. He earned the third star nod, while Duch and King were first and second stars, respectively.

With the regular season now over, the Shamrocks placed three players 1-2-3 in the league points race with Rhys Duch leading the way with 101 points on 43 goals and 58 assists, while Corey Small was second with 33 goals and 42 assists for a total of 75 and third was Cory Conway with nine goals and 63 assists for 72 points. Conway led the league in assists. Jeff Shattler was fifth in league points with 60. Duch also led the league in goals with 43.

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