Shamrocks Fired Up For Finals
Written by Ian McNaughton
August 16, 2018
Victoria, BC – Tonight marks the first encounter of the WLA Finals between the #2 seed Victoria Shamrocks and #4 seed Maple Ridge Burrards. Each team won their respective semi-final matchup with the Burrards sweeping the New Westminster Salmonbellies 4 games to nil while the Shamrocks took down their island rivals, the Nanaimo Timbermen, 4 games to 1. This will be a rematch of the 2016 WLA Finals in which the Burrards took down the Shamrocks to advance to play the Six Nations Chiefs in the Mann Cup.
Maple Ridge completely dominated the New Westminster Salmonbellies who were the top team in the WLA all season. The Burrards beat the ‘Bellies with offensive zone pressure and strong goaltending. The leading scorer this season for the Burrards has been Curtis Dickson, an all around superstar when he gets on the floor. Dickson had 22 points against New West in the first round and had 37 goals in the regular season which was tied for 3rd in the WLA. Dickson only played against Victoria once this season. During that specific game on June 15th the ‘Rocks defeated the Burrards 14-9 at The Q Centre. In that game, Dickson had 3 goals, 2 assists and was named 3rd star of the night. He’s a “can’t miss” player when he takes to the court for the Burrards. Burrards fan or not, lacrosse fans will be excited to witness him on the floor.
Someone to keep an eye out on should be Maple Ridge’s Ben McIntosh. After playing just 4 regular season games, McIntosh scored 2 goals in each first round game against New Westminster. He has done well playing with Dickson and also a threat to score when on the powerplay. McIntosh has 4 powerplay goals already in the postseason and the ‘Rocks will want to find a way to shut him down. The Shamrocks penalty killing went 61% against Nanaimo in the first round and will need to keep up that figure to have success against Maple Ridge.
The best player matchup in this series has to be the extraordinary goalie battle. Burrards goalie Frank Scigliano and ‘Rocks goalie Adam Shute are both giving up less than 7.5 goals against average. Both goalies averaged 8 goals against in the regular season so they are each heating up at the right time. Scigliano’s 6.32 GAA and 0.855 save percentage shows just how remarkable he has been in the postseason and how tough it is to get balls past him. Adam Shute has been just as impressive lately as he has given up 10 goals just once in 5 of his last 6 starts.
Not enough can be said about the Shamrocks scoring and all the contributions they have received from several players. At the top, it’s Rob Hellyer lighting the lamp the most as he leads the playoff scoring race with 24 points. Jesse King sits 5 behind the lead as he’s got 19 points so far. Casey Jackson is tied with Curtis Dickson for the playoff lead in goals with 12 in the first round. Tyson Gibson is three goals behind Jackson with 9 and Rhys Duch has 8 entering tonight's game. The Shamrocks have 6 other players who scored a goal in the first round and at this point of the year, every opportunity counts to survive and advance.
The Victoria Shamrocks have home court advantage in Game #1 of the 2018 WLA Finals which will start 6:30pm this Friday, August 17 at The Q Centre in Victoria. Doors open at 5:30pm. Fans can purchase tickets for both Game #1 and Game #3, which is happening on Tuesday, August 21st, here. For the full finals schedule, check out the WLA website for more details.