It’s not the ending the Victoria Shamrocks were hoping for.
The ‘Rocks lost to the Maple Ridge Burrards 9-8 in game 5 of the Western Lacrosse Association finals over the weekend, dashing the team’s hopes of battling for a Mann Cup Championship.
“I’m really proud of the effort the guys put in last night. We took the lead early. The battle that these guys had was great,” head coach Bob Heyes said.
The Shamrocks came out hot during Saturday night’s game at The Q Centre, scoring three straight goals to start the period. After the first 20 minutes, the ‘Rocks continued to hold on to the lead with a score of 4-3.
But the momentum swung in the second as Curtis Dickson found the back of the net twice to tie the score up after 40 minutes. After back and forth play, the Burrards scored with a minute left in the final stanza to make the score to 9-7. Casey Jackson scored late in the game to bring Victoria within a goal.
Jackson, who was a scratch in game 4, was strong offensively for the home team, scoring five goals on the evening, including a hat trick in the first period. Dallas Wade and Rob Hellyer also found the back of the net.
Heyes said there were some last-minute lineup changes that didn’t allow them to put their best foot forward. Jesse King was unable to play due to injury and the team lost a number of players, including Daniel Smith, Alec Molander, and Tyson Gibson, who had to head back to school to play with their respective college teams.
“We were playing to our depth. In playoffs you want to play the best lineup that you can, but it’s kind of a war of attrition. That’s what the playoffs are about. To go as far as you want to a Mann Cup, it takes depth, luck, there’s a lot of things that have to come into play to get that far in a tournament,” Heyes said. “We maxed out what we could get out of our guys last night.”
Despite Saturday night’s loss, Heyes said there was little that separated the ‘Rocks from the Burrards throughout the series. The team came out strong in the first game, winning 9-4, but lost the last four games in a row, often only by one or two goals.
“It’s one shot, one save, one face off. There’s not a lot that separated the two clubs,” Heyes said.
Up next, Heyes will take a breather from the sport for a while before he comes back to reassess the team.
“We should be proud of what we got out of the club this year,” he said.
The Maple Ridge Burrards will take on either the Peterborough Lakers or the Oakville Rock in the Mann Cup Championships.