The Victoria Shamrocks (4-0) got off to slow starts in each of their first three Western Lacrosse Association games.
The possibility of extending that run to four went out the window quickly on Friday night when captain Corey Small opened the scoring 19 seconds into the game on route to a 14-6 laugher over the Coquitlam Adanacs.
“It’s great because we’re building. I was really happy with how we started the game and it kept flowing. Our defence is playing great and the goaltending is there right now,” said Shamrocks head coach Bob Heyes.
Small scored two more in the first period and added seven assists for his second consecutive 10 point night at The Q Centre.
The win capped a nice week for goaltender Cody Hagedorn, who made 29 saves on 33 Adanac shots a night after keeping the New Westminster Salmonbellies at bay in a 5-4 win.
Victoria talents Matt Hamilton and Cole Pickup were on the receiving end of the majority of Small’s assists, combining for four goals apiece.
“It just kind of went in for me, it was just one of those nights…I couldn’t do it without my teammates. They got me in good position to get the shots and I was just lucky enough to put them in,” Hamilton said.
“(Small’s) a great player. You get open and he finds you,” Pickup said. “It’s pretty surreal growing up and watching those kinds of guys and (now) getting to play with them.”
Pickup, who also captains the Junior Shamrocks and helped lead the B.C. Hockey League’s Victoria Grizzlies to the semifinals, has had a busy run of late but hasn’t shown any signs of fatigue.
“It’s just kind of being smart with your body and making sure you rest up and eat the right food,” he said.
Pickup will head south next month to the University of Nebraska Omaha for classes and training in preparation for his first season of NCAA hockey, but will be back for a week or two in August, where he hopes to rejoin both Shamrocks squads, assuming they are still playing in the playoffs.
Prior to the game, the family of late Const. Sarah Beckett dropped the ball for the ceremonial faceoff to loud cheers. Donations were accepted by West Shore RCMP officers for a memorial scholarship fund in Beckett’s name, and a raffle for the right to drop the opening faceoff in the Shamrocks’ last home game will raise funds for the scholarship throughout the season.
The Shamrocks will have a week off before travelling to the mainland for a two-night trip, where they’ll take on the Adanacs on June 10 before getting their first crack at the Maple Ridge Burrards, the team that eliminated them from the playoffs a year ago, a night later.
They’ll host the Salmonbellies on June 16.