Shamrocks Sweep Finals - Mann Cup Bound!
A first-period hat trick from Rhys Duch powered the Victoria Shamrocks to a 10-5 win over the New Westminster Salmonbellies at Queenâ€™s Park Arena on Friday night, pacing the green and white to its third straight Western Lacrosse Association championship.
The Shamrocks swept the Salmonbellies 4-0 in the best-of-seven affair and have not lost a playoff game this campaign. They now advance to their third straight Mann Cup appearance, which starts Sept. 4 at The Q Centre.
Ticket purchase options for the national senior lacrosse championship are expected to be announced Tuesday with season-ticket holders having first option.
Victoria is the first team to win three straight WLA crowns since the Salmonbellies managed the feat from 2008-10. Prior to that, the Shamrocks won five consecutive league titles from 2002-06.
â€œIt feels great, but itâ€™s a different feel,â€ said Shamrocks head coach Bob Heyes. â€œThe mindset for us is bigger and better things ahead.
â€œI think what weâ€™ve done throughout these playoffs is developed our identity. We can play it any way you want it. Tonight we had five regulars out and that just shows the depth weâ€™ve built as an organization.â€
The Shamrocks pulled it off without Jesse King, Rory Smith and Greg Harnett in the lineup and also scratched Dan Dawson (work commitment) and Steve Priolo (also job related). Bradley Kri did return to the roster and Victoria also inserted junior call-up Cole Pickup, who had an assist on the opening goal of the night in what can be an intimidating building.
Daryl Veltman picked up right where he left off in Game 3 scoring 4:38 in as he also added two assists in the first frame along with Corey Small and Cory Conway as Victoria built a 4-1 lead.
Shamrocks goalie Aaron Bold made 12 stops on 13 shots in the opening 20 minutes and blocked 45 in total for the win.
The big guns came to play as Duch (four goals), Conway (one goal and four assists) and Veltman and Small (one goal and three assists each) all produced. Tyler Hass, Karsen Leung and Scott Ranger also scored for the Shamrocks.
Keegan Bal, with a pair, Jimmy McBride, Jordan McBride and Richard Lachlan replied for the Salmonbellies who were out-scored 46-26 in the quick series.
Bold was spectacular throughout, named the playoff MVP.
â€œI came here to try and win another WLA title and bring a Mann Cup back to Victoria,â€ he said earlier this week.