With their season on the line, the Burnaby Lakers and their oft-stifling defence came through, beating the Victoria Shamrocks 10-8 Sunday to force a game 5 in the Western Lacrosse Association playoff semifinal series.
The Shamrocks will hope to have stalwarts Cory Conway and Jesse King back in the lineup for Wednesday’s game (Aug. 17, 7:45 p.m.) in Colwood. The two stars were absent Sunday as the Shamrocks looked to close out the series with a four-game sweep, having won 10-7 Friday at The Q Centre and 13-8 in Burnaby the night before.
The Lakers never trailed in the game and held period leads of 3-1 and 7-4. They increased the margin to 9-5 with 6:37 to go in the third on a goal from Dane Stevens, but the visitors rallied, led by Rhys Duch.
The WLA scoring leader scored twice, including once on the power play, to make it 9-7. Then at the 17:29 mark Chris Wardle tallied from Corey Small and Jeff Shattler with the goalie pulled for an extra attacker to make it a one-goal game.
That was as close as the Shamrocks could get, however, as Josh Byrne scored his third of the game with 21 seconds to play to clinch the win for the Lakers.
Duch led Victoria with three goals and two assists on the night, while Small added a goal and five helpers. Junior A call-ups Braylon Lumb and Marshall King contributed well in the absence of the two big guns. Lumb finished with two goals and two assists, while King scored once and set up another goal.
The Lakers have been no slouch against the regular season champion Shamrocks through the series. After dropping the opener last week then losing game 2 by five goals, the Lakers shrugged off an early 5-1 deficit Friday to tie the game at six, then seven midway through the third period. As with game 1, however, the Shamrocks scored three straight goals in under six minutes – Duch, Lumb and Taylor Northway tallied – to put things away.
Duch led the scoring parade with four goals and an assist, while Shattler and Conway each had five-point nights as well.
Should the Lakers win tonight’s game, game 6 would happen back in Burnaby on Friday. Game 7, if needed is scheduled for Sunday in Colwood. Advance tickets for any of the local games can be purchased online at victoriashamrocks.com, by phone at 250-478-7625 or in person at the team office at 120-967 Langford Pkwy.