The Victoria Shamrocks (7-3-1) find themselves in a tight battle at the top of the Western Lacrosse Association and they’ll hope to take advantage of a pair of games against the Langley Thunder (1-9-0) this week as they look to separate themselves from the pack.
Entering the final month of the regular season, the Shamrocks sit tied with the Burnaby Lakers (7-3-1) while the defending league champion Maple Ridge Burrards (7-3-0) loom in the rear view mirror and have a game in hand.
They visited Langley on Wednesday, after the Gazette’s print deadline, and will host the Thunder Friday at The Q Centre (7:30 p.m.).
Victoria didn’t do themselves any favours in the battle with Maple Ridge, having suffered a pair of 10-9 setbacks towards the end of June, but the club sandwiched those losses between two wins over the Nanaimo Timbermen to maintain a good position in the overall standings.
Last Friday’s triumph over Nanaimo to close off the month left little doubt over who boasts the top team on the Island.
The Shamrocks roared out of the gates with four opening-period goals, two by Casey Jackson, and hardly looked back.
The Timbermen managed to win the second period by a 5-3 count, including back to back tallies from Chase Fraser less than a minute apart, but the ‘Rocks again took control to open the third period with three tallies in succession to open the frame.
The teams then traded goals and ultimately the Shamrocks earned a comfortable 12-7 win in front of just under 2,000 fans at The Q Centre.
Corey Small paced the Shamrocks with seven points, while Mike Triolo added four goals and an assist. Jackson finished with three goals and two assists and goaltender Aaron Bold made 40 saves on 47 shots.
Small has a sizeable lead in the league’s scoring race. His 63 points put him comfortably ahead of Burnaby’s Eli McLaughlin, who sits in second with 39 points.
Small also leads the league with 26 goals, four ahead of Jackson.