Burnaby Lakers @ Victoria Shamrocks Preview (May 25, 2018)
Rocks Report-Home Opener
May 25, 2018
Shamrocks Nation is Ready
The Victoria Shamrocks kick off their 69th season with a visit from the WLA’s best team in the 2017 regular season, the Burnaby Lakers. Last year, the Shamrocks started the season at home against the Langley Thunder. The Shamrocks came away with a narrow victory, defeating Langley in a tightly contested affair: 10-9. With only 5 seconds remaining in the 3rd period Cody Nass scored with the game-winning goal to put Victoria on top. Shamrocks netminder Cody Hagedorn stopped 28 of 37 shots that evening for his team and like the rest of his team, will look to start the season on a positive note.
The Shamrocks had a busy off-season, making numerous transactions in an effort to contend for this year's Mann Cup. Victoria native Jesse King returns to the Shamrocks for the 2018 season. King, a key part of the Shamrocks 2015 Mann Cup Championship, registered 224 points in 61 games with the Shamrocks before suffering an injury in the 2016 playoffs that caused him to miss the 2017 season. King will look to be a major contributor right away for the Shamrocks as well newly acquired offensive juggernaut Rob Hellyer. A product of Lion's Head, Ontario, Hellyer was a Minto Cup champion in 2012 for the Orangeville Northmen and put up 449 points in 112 games for the Northmen.
The Shamrocks also traded for Ryan Fournier from Cobourg in the Ontario Major Series Lacrosse League. Fournier is a transition player that can dominate at either end of the floor. The 5'9, 190 pounder will gladly take faceoffs for the Shamrocks as well. He was a Minto Cup champion back in 2015 when he was playing for the Six Nations Arrows. Fournier is excited to be bleeding green this summer saying, "The history and tradition within the club is so amazing to me. I'm just thankful I get to be a part of it and help continue it's winning traditions."
For the Shamrocks, the season appears to be a bright one. There is an added element of youth and vivacity to this team that will be something for our Shamrocks Nation to watch as the season progresses. After the 2018 WLA draft, the Shamrocks announced the acquisition of four talented junior A players from the Ontario Lacrosse Association and the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League. Tyson Gibson, Mack Mitchell, Brett Craig and Derek Lloyd will all be playing for the Victoria Shamrocks this season. GM Chris Welch exhibits confidence and excitement for the new young talent on the team, "We're really excited to inject more youth in our lineup this year."
Between the pipers, Shamrocks Nation will recognize some familiar faces. Cody Hagedorn is back in the crease to defend the net for another season with the Shamrocks. He led the team to 7 wins last season and finished with the best goals-against average on the team at 7.85. Cody Cook will also block the rock this season. He is the backup netminder for the Shamrocks. Cook starred in 2 games last season, mostly coming on in relief. He will look to improve on his 10.67 GAA from 2017.
Coach Bob Heyes is back for his 7th season behind the bench as Head Coach of the Victoria Shamrocks. He has a career record of 74-31-3 while coaching the Shamrocks. The team has made the playoffs every single season, since Heyes has provided direction. Defensive coach Art Webster, offensive coach Mike Simpson, and video-coach John Hamilton are all back alongside Coach Heyes to bolster the collective strength of the Shamrocks for a promising 2018 WLA season.
Burnaby Lakers Scouting Report
Burnaby enters tonight game with revenge on the mind after losing to Victoria in 7 games in the WLA semi-finals last season. They will be playing with a chip on their shoulder tonight after losing their first game of the season this Wednesday 12-7 to the Langley Thunder. Peter Tellis returns as the Head Coach for the Lakers, a job he started late in the 2017 season. The Lakers have also added Kyle Sorenson from Peterborough, Ontario to serve as the defensive coach. Sorenson was formerly a coach of the Coquitlam Junior Adanacs that made it all the way to the Minto Cup in 2016. It's hard to say what kind of season the Lakers are in for. With a tough opposition in our Shamrocks, tonight will be a chance for them to test their mettle and give us insight into what we can expect from the Lakers in future games.