The Victoria Shamrocks have set the bar high for the 2016 Western Lacrosse Association season.
The defending Mann Cup champions enter Friday’s (May 27) game in Colwood against New Westminster having set an ambitious tone for their next few months.
The ’Rocks kicked off their title defence last week with a dominating 18-6 win over Nanaimo that saw a WLA record-setting 17-point performance from Cory Conway. His two goals and 15 assists were often combined with teammates Corey Small (seven goals, four assists) and Rhys Duch (three goals, nine assists). The trio sit atop the WLA scoring parade after the opening weekend.
Victoria lost its first two games to Nanaimo last season, but lost just two the rest of the way in WLA play. They won the regular season title and swept two series in the playoffs before defeating Peterborough in six games in the Mann Cup series at The Q Centre.
Some lacrosse watchers, including Shamrocks head coach Bob Heyes, predicted a much more even league this year with Victoria missing several key players from last year’s team.
If their first effort is any indication, Shamrocks opponents will have their hands full this year.
Juniors, intermediates in action this weekend
The junior Shamrocks look to make it two wins in a row tomorrow (May 28) when they host the Burnaby Lakers at The Q Centre at 5 p.m.
The ’Rocks (3-5) snapped a three-game losing skid last Sunday with a hard-fought 11-9 road win over Port Coquitlam.
Led with Matthew Hamilton’s three-goal effort and six points from Cole Pickup, the Shamrocks held period leads of 3-1 and 7-6. The winning goal in the third was credited to Victoria goaltender Mitch Gurney, who made a save and saw the ball bounce all the way into the empty PoCo net.
Meanwhile, the intermediate A Shamrocks (7-2), who were cooled off by the Nanaimo Timbermen on Tuesday in Colwood, are on the mainland to face New Westminster on Sunday.
Victoria was coming off a 19-7 thumping of Richmond in the Saturday game at The Q Centre.