Shamrocks captain Corey Small keeps his eyes on the ball during the club’s Friday night home loss to the Burnaby Lakers. (Spencer Pickles/Black Press)

Victoria Shamrocks head to WLA finals

Shamrocks will take on either the Maple Ridge Burrards or the New Westminster Salmonbellies

The Victoria Shamrocks have found themselves in a familiar position this week – battling in the Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) finals.

And while the team was still waiting to see if they’ll face the Maple Ridge Burrards or the New Westminster Salmonbellies as of Wednesday, one thing was on their minds – winning the Mann Cup.

“Every year we have bigger goals than winning the WLA, we want to win the Mann Cup. Each and every game and practice, we can’t put the cart before the horse and we can’t be presumptuous, but everything we learn now and how we develop our game is geared towards [winning the cup],” said Shamrocks head coach Bob Heyes.

“To win a Mann Cup a lot of things have to happen. You need lady luck on your side. You need the balls to bounce your own way. You need to be healthy and you need to have depth on your team and all those things need to come together.”

While it hasn’t been an easy road to the Mann Cup, the team defeated the Burnaby Lakers 8-7 in game seven of the semifinals on the Mainland Tuesday to advance to the finals.

The Lakers opened the scoring with a goal from Eli McLaughlin, but the Shamrocks answered right back with one from Joe Resetarits during a six on five man advantage with a delayed penalty against Burnaby.

In the second frame, Lakers sniper Robert Church capitalized on the power play, giving the home team a 3-1 lead, but Victoria responded with a shorthanded marker to trim it back to one. The teams continued to exchange goals until the ‘Rocks took their first lead with Resetarits’ second of the game.

Victoria used a pair of goals 10 minutes apart to go up 8-5 with just over five minutes left. Resetarits scored on a delayed penalty, then Casey Jackson finished off his hat trick with an outside bomb. Burnaby scored a pair late, but it was not enough, as the ‘Rocks held on to their 8-7 lead.

Goaltender Aaron Bold made 45 saves on the night to shut the door on the Lakers.

“The win was outstanding. Everybody contributed and it was great. It’s been an interesting series with us being up, down and even and different scores in each game,” Heyes said. “It’s been a different series, but whether it took four, five, six or seven games, we’re happy with the results.”

Now the team is turning its attention to the finals. The final game of the series between the Maple Ridge Burrards and the New Westminster Salmonbellies took place on Wednesday, after the Gazette print deadline.

Last season, the ‘Rocks fell 10-9 in game 6 of the WLA finals to the Burrards. But whichever team the ‘Rocks play, Heyes is anticipating a tough series ahead.

“We’re going to be ready for either team. We’re going to have them worry about us. We’re going to use our experience and our youth to play our type of game,” Heyes said. “We’ll be ready to go.”

The Shamrocks will open the finals on the road on Friday, Aug. 18 (tonight), before heading back to The Q Centre on Sunday, Aug. 20 for game 2 of the series at 6 p.m.

Tickets for the finals are currently on sale. For more information visit victoriashamrocks.com or call 250-478-7625.

kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com