The Victoria Shamrocks hope third times the charm.
Recent years playoff success has taken them as far as the Mann Cup in each of the past two season, but both ended in bitter defeat at the hands of the Six Nations Chiefs. However, general manager Chris Welch said he believes this time could be different with as deep a team as he has ever built chomping at the bit to play for lacrosse’s holy grail.
“We are obviously thrilled to have another shot and we are disappointed we are 0-2 at this point,” Welch said. “We hope to take advantage of the opportunity and bring the Mann Cup back to Victoria.”
Welch pointed to the teams increased personnel in all positions for the teams recent success and renewed optimism despite the East’s Mann Cup dominance in securing the world’s most expensive sports trophy each of the past 10 years.
“We really rounded it out this year with a lot of really great additions and the difference between this year’s team and previous two years is the depth that we enjoy,” Welch said. “Depth always comes in handy at this time of year when competition is intense and everyone is battling with everything they got to try to get to the holy grail. The depth is key for us in 2015.”
Welch said some extra time off in between the last round could also play a factor, with the Shamrocks having some extra time to heal up in preparation for the Mann Cup while the Peterborough Lakers were embroiled in a bitterly-contested seven-game series, defeating the defending champion Chiefs 6-5 in the final game.
“We know our competition comes in battle tested and comes on top of their game having dethroned the defending champs so game one will be very interesting, two teams coming from two different places,” Welch said. “We know they are going to give us everything we can handle, they are a very worthy opponent and not to be taken lightly.”
He did say he is confident in the team he has this year, a team that dominated the league to a 14-4 regular season record and an 8-0 playoff record resulting in two sweeps en route to the final series of the season. The last time the West has taken the championship is when the Shamrocks took out the Lakers in 2005.
“I expect it to be a long battle and very close back and forth… We are very aware of who they are and what they have done. We intend to match their level and should be in for a long series,” Welch said. “You won’t see any better lacrosse anywhere in world than what we will enjoy in the next couple weeks and we hope the community comes out like they always do it for us. We are really counting on the sixth man to be behind us and help put us over.”
Game one goes on Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Q Centre. For more information visit victoriashamrocks.com