© Copyright – 2019 – Victoria Sports News

Casey Jackson firing one of his many shots on the night. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

The Victoria Shamrocks opened their 70th Western Lacrosse Association campaign Friday at The Q Centre in Colwood with the2019 season home opener against the Nanaimo Timbermen – an annual tradition. British Columbia premier John Horgan – a big Shamrocks supporter – performed the ceremonial face-off.

The Timbermen outplayed the stacked Shamrocks and won by the score of 11-6. In the sold-out crowd were plenty of up-island supporters.

Missing from the Shamrocks lineup was Jesse King and Rhys Duch who are playing for the Calgary Roughnecks in the National Lacrosse League championships against the Buffalo Bandits and Shamrocks teammate Steve Priolo.

Not missing from the Shamrocks lineup was the talented Casey Jackson who got off five shots before he opened the scoring at 5:50 of the first. Ben McCullough stole the ball at centre and tossed it back to Jackson who ran to the front of the net and buried the ball behind goaltender Charles Claxton, firing a  rising shot that went top right corner. The lead would be short-lived, however.

Junior Shamrocks star Braylon Lumb, in his first ever senior A game, scored twice for Nanaimo and picked up at least one assist.

“They outplayed us in several areas of the game. They played well and took us out of our comfort zone,” said Shamrocks Coach Bob Heyes. “We had several young guys in the lineup and we will have to chalk this one up to the lessons learned.”

Nanaimo came back with two goals in short order and finished the opening frame up 3-1, but not that the Shamrocks didn’t have their opportunities. Nick Preston make a slick move with two minutes remaining in the period and fired the ball off the cross bar from in-close. Jackson hit iron on several opportunities.

Saanich’s Ryan Sheridan scored Nanaimo’s second goal. He was likely the most impressive player on the floor during the opening frame. He was originally drafted by Coquitlam and later traded to Nanaimo.

Throughout the second period, the Shamrocks kept pace, down just three goals after 40-minutes.

Cole Pickup in a fight with a Nanaimo Timbermen player. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Former Victoria Grizzlies and Victoria Junior Shamrock Cole Pickup was in the lineup. Two of his University of Nebraska–Omaha NCAA hockey teammates were in attendance to watch their first ever box lacrosse game. During the third period, Pickup had had enough of the Timbermen and tried to spark the Shamrocks intensity and got into a spirited fight, it was even, but the Nanaimo player earned the take-down.

Shortly after, Chris Boushy scored from Chris Wardle and Mack Mitchell at 7:19 to make it 11-5.

With 9:47 remaining, Keegan Bell scored a five-hole shot from 15 feet in front of Claxton.  Boushy picked up the only assist on the powerplay marker. The Shamrocks hardly celebrated knowing the loss was inevitable.

Shots were even at 46 apiece after 60-minutes.

“It’s early, we are not hitting the panic button yet,” added Heyes.

The Shamrocks next play on Sunday at 6:00 pm at The Q Centre when they host the Langley Thunder.

Bob Heyes interview