Shamrocks Hope To Keep Foot On Gas

Untitled-11Coming off what he describes as his team’s two best efforts of the season, Victoria Shamrocks head coach Bob Heyes is hoping for the same tonight and Friday.

The 8-2 and Western Lacrosse Association-leading club is in New Westminster tonight at 7:45 to face the always tough Salmonbellies (7-3) on their wooden floor. Victoria then returns home on Friday to entertain the Langley Thunder at 7:45 p.m. at The Q Centre.

There is plenty at stake tonight as a Shamrocks win would give them a seasonal series clinching win against the Salmonbellies and improve their hopes at first place overall come playoffs.

“Our last two were definitely our best of the year,” Heyes said of impressive back-to-back 18-8 and 15-3 victories over New West and Coquitlam last week.

Heyes would love to see more of the same in this two-games-in-two-nights set, but the Shamrocks will have to do it without goalie Aaron Bold and sniper Dan Dawson.

“Just getting everybody in [the lineup] was important the last two. Having Aaron Bold and Dawson there, those are impact guys who we sought out and got,” added Heyes. “Those have been two key guys. Plus adding guys like [Steve] Priolo and a few other guys make us a different looking team, on the bigger side.

“There’s the potential there if the you-know-what hits the fan, we’ll be better prepared for it.”

Priolo is a rugged six-foot-five defender who adds even more toughness to the Shamrocks’ lineup, which secured Rory Smith in the off-season.

“[Priolo] is excited about playing in that arena Thursday with that wood floor. It’s a unique thing,” Heyes added of the recent recruit.

“This would also win us the season series and I want that. That’s our first goal and we want to be in first place,” said Heyes. “Fourteen wins should do that, so we still have six to go. Thursday is a big game and then there’s the back-to-back so you never know what’s going to happen in back-to-backs.

“Look at last week, 18-8 and 15-3. But this will be tougher. New West will be tougher at home and with Langley you never know what you’ll get with them. They’ll go out and beat New West one night and lose to whomever the next.”

CLOVER POINTS: Dan MacRae is out game-to-game with a lower body injury and the now No. 2-ranked Shamrocks got down to their final 25-man roster on Wednesday. Derek Lowe was released last week and Mitch McLaren is on injured reserve. “I put in my shopping list early and, really, everything has come in — from an A1 goaltender to the best defence in Canada with the addition of MacRae and Priolo filling that. We have some huge guys on offence and you always want to have depth everywhere,” said Heyes. “We’re where we want to be with [No. 1] Six Nations and Peterborough, out east, stacked as well.”

As Published: TIMES COLONIST - July 2nd, 2015 - by Mario Annicchiarico