Shamrocks take aim at top guns
GAME DAY: VICTORIA AT NEW WEST, 7:30 P.M.
The Victoria Shamrocks are the ’Tweeners of the Western Lacrosse Association. “We are in-between, at the moment. We’re better than the lower-level teams but perhaps not up there yet with New Westminster or Maple Ridge,” said Shamrocks head coach Bob Heyes.
So there should be some teachable moments over the next two days as the Shamrocks (3-2) face those WLA upper classmen, beginning tonight in New Westminster against the Salmonbellies (5-0) before hosting the Maple Ridge Burrards (4-1) on Friday on Homecoming Night at The Q Centre.
Tonight’s game at venerable Queen’s Park Arena is a rematch of the 2017 WLA final, won in five games by the Salmonbellies, who don’t seem to have missed a beat in beginning this season undefeated in five games.
“Maple Ridge is loaded, as well, with the return of Curtis Dickson and now with all their pro players back from the NLL champion [Saskatchewan] Rush,” added Heyes.
“Those top two teams have made concerted efforts to build for Mann Cup [national Senior A] championships. Now, we might feel as other teams felt in the past when we had built those strong teams.”
The youthful Shamrocks seem to be melding well heading into the telling back-to-back set against league powers.
“We’re a young team that needs to see where we’re at, so these are two really good tests for us,” said Heyes. “Our young guys are coming along, and there’s certainly no sense of awe going into these two games.”
The sniper Dickson of the Burrards leads the league in scoring with 31 points, with all-arounders Casey Jackson of Victoria and Mitch Jones of the Salmonbellies tied with 30 points each. Shaping out the top-five are Jesse King of the Shamrocks on 28 points and Logan Schuss of the Salmonbellies on 24. Dickson is the clear goals leader with 22.