Victoria Shamrocks Aim to Play Smarter Game

Times Colonist - May 24th - By Mario Annicchiarico

10478673_884058771661021_7494494985580751864_nAt one point during a timeout in the first period on Friday night, Nanaimo Timbermen goaltender Zack Boychuk did a face plant, tripping while trotting back to the bench, which brought about some chuckles at a sold-out Q Centre.

It was about the only time the netminder fell on his face in an 8-6 upset victory for the Timbermen over the Victoria Shamrocks.

Making 44 saves, Boychuk played a big part in Nanaimo’s win. But so, too, did Victoria’s undisciplined play that also showed a lack of chemistry early in this Western Lacrosse Association season.

The Shamrocks (0-1) will get a second chance to get it right tonight at 7 in a rematch against the Timbermen (1-0) at Frank Crane Arena in Nanaimo.

“We have to be smarter,” said Shamrocks sniper Rhys Duch, who scored three of the six goals. “You can’t say they outworked us. You can’t say they outplayed us. They outsmarted us.

“They took advantage of our mistakes. We took a lot of dumb penalties and they capitalized. Special teams killed us. We have to be a little bit better in transition. I don’t think we got any transition goals, but when you out-shoot a team by that much, you have to give kudos to their goalie. Boychuk had a great game.”

Duch wrapped it all up in that statement as the Timbermen scored three power-play goals on the night. Former Junior Shamrocks star Brody Eastwood was spectacular for Nanaimo with four goals and an assist to lead all point-getters.

“We knew they’re a much better team than they have been. They have a lot of young guys who are going to work hard and have a lot of skill. Maybe chemistry-wise we need to be a little more responsible when it comes to practice and things,” said Duch, who had a short-handed goal among his three tallies.

“They’ve been practising hard, looking to build for that game and we had some guys just show up this week [back from the National Lacrosse League]. So I think our chemistry was a bit off and we have to be smarter.”

Surely the defensive focus will shift to Eastwood for tonight’s matchup.

“He’s a great player,” Duch said of Eastwood. “He’s going to be a good player in this league and he’s going to be a great player in the pro leagues. And he was an amazing player at Stony Brook. Sunday, we have to pay more attention to players like him and we have to stay out of the [penalty] box.”

Shamrocks assistant coach Art Webster echoed that sentiment.

“I think we have to pay a little more attention to him. We know he’s a solid left-hand player and that he likes to play low on the crease,” Webster said of Eastwood. “We need to box him out and be aware when he’s on the floor and do a better job of that.

“We were a little bit flat. We knew they were going to come into our building with lots of energy and they did. And I don’t think we played all that intelligent,” Webster added. “Bad penalties at bad times and we couldn’t get on top of it. In the first period, we probably should have had them at 5-1, but our shot selections were terrible, really.

“He’s a good goaltender,” Webster said of Boychuk.

“He’s going to give them 60 solid minutes, so we have to shoot the ball better.”

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