Game night: Maple Ridge Burrards visit the Victoria Shamrocks, 7:45 p.m. at Bear Mountain Arena, tonight (July 20)
With a huge win over the New Westminster Salmonbellies on Tuesday, the Victoria Shamrocks moved a lot closer to clinching a Western Lacrosse Association playoff spot.
In a contest with dire implications, the Shamrocks took a 7-3 lead over the Salmonbellies, let the lead slip to 8-7 in the third period, but salvaged the win.
The win puts the Shamrocks (8-6) into a three-way tie for second place, and puts an end to the Shamrocks’ four-game losing streak.
“Losing four straight you can become a fragile team, and we avoided that,” said coach Bob Heyes.
“That win was a microcosm of our entire season,” Heyes said. “We take over control at times, then at other times we make it difficult on ourselves.”
The Shamrocks outscored the Salmonbellies 2-1 and 5-2 in the first two periods.
It was hard to pinpoint what was difficult about the third period, when the Salmonbellies came back from 7-3 to within a goal, other than the Salmonbellies stabilizing their defensive game, which was dismal in second-period. Kory Kowalyk, Karsen Leung and Corey Small each scored twice for the Shamrocks, with Matt Yager scoring on a breakaway and Ben McCullough adding the empty-netter.
For Shamrocks captain Matt Lyons, it’s another big win in the ongoing rivalry with New West, a rivalry which he parachuted into three years ago.
“It’s an especially big win with the league being so tight right now. It’s chippy, but that rivalry is how old? It’s not going anywhere.”
The WLA rivalry is actually 62 years old, but Victoria teams have been playing against New West since the 1880s.
Next up for the Shamrocks is the Maple Ridge Burrards (2-12) at home on Friday night, followed by a road game against the first-place Langley Thunder (10-5) on Saturday.
It’s the first time recently acquired Derek Lowe will face his old team.
“Maple Ridge will play with pride, and Lowe will want to show well, so we’ll be motivated,” Heyes sad.
The Shamrocks will conclude the season with a home-and home versus the Nanaimo Timbermen, in Victoria on July 27 and Nanaimo on July 28.