West is BEST - Shamrocks WIN MANN CUP!
The Victoria Shamrocks raised their level of play; their lively fans raised the roof and now the organization will proudly be raising its ninth Mann Cup banner.
Thanks to an early 4-0 lead, the Shamrocks disposed of the Peterborough Lakers 12-6 on Friday night, clinching the national senior lacrosse championship series in six games before a rambunctious soldout crowd at The Q Centre.
The Shamrocks last won the cup in 2005, also in six games over the Lakers in the same building, and the victory avenges two straight national final losses to the Six Nations Chiefs in 2013 and 2014.
The addition of Dan Dawson, goaltender Aaron Bold, Steve Priolo and Daryl Veltman and the return of Dan MacRae and Cory Conway were huge for the Shamrocks, who as a team played a tight, defensive game allowing just 27 goals in the last four games of the series.
â€œThis is sweet. We earned this and thatâ€™s what is great about it,â€ said Dawson, who had eight assists in the win and was named Victoriaâ€™s player of the game. â€œWe didnâ€™t make it any easier on ourselves. To do it on home soil like this just goes to show how thankful we are to the fans for staying with us the whole time.â€
All nine Shamrocksâ€™ Mann Cups have come at home.
â€œWe feed off their energy. Without them we donâ€™t win this thing,â€ said Dawson, who held four-month-old Theo in his hands and wife Alyse by his side. â€œSheâ€™s from here, yes. Iâ€™m forever in debt to this city for giving me my wife and my baby boy.â€
Dawson was a member of the last Shamrocks team to win in 2005.
Captain Scott Ranger was weeping on the floor as he had a chance to accept the Mann Cup after the victory.
â€œWords just canâ€™t describe it,â€ said Ranger. â€œItâ€™s a long time coming. We knew we had to answer the bell. We knew they were going to come out hard.â€
Ranger has likely ended his career, giving up the National Lacrosse League last year to help him heal.
â€œIâ€™m going to celebrate tonight and weâ€™ll figure that out later,â€ said Ranger, who had a goal.
Corey Small, named the Mann Cup MVP, had three goals while Karsen Leung and Jesse King added two each for Victoria. Tyler Hass, Daryl Veltman, Rhys Duch and Bradley Kri, who stepped in for injured defenceman Rory Smith the last two games, also scored.
â€œIâ€™m so happy for these guys from Scott Ranger to Matt Yager, who has been here since Day 1 with me. Bradley Kri steps up for Rory Smith, who was a warrior,â€ said head coach Bob Heyes. â€œHe did such an awesome job for us, to get us here and show us the way and what it takes. The bruises show it.â€
It was Heyesâ€™ first Mann Cup as a coach to go with two as a player. His assistant Art Webster has been to 15 Mann Cups as a player or coach (three in Brampton), winning five, all with the Shamrocks. Assistants Jordan Sundher and Dave Lowdon also collected their first as coaches. Sundher had won one as a player as well.
Turner Evans, Mark Farthing, Chad Tutton, Scott Evans and Curtis Dickson all had goals for Peterborough, which trailed 4-0 after one period, but fought back to within 6-4 after two.
The Lakers had won five of the last 11 Mann Cups and were coming off a hard-fought, seven-game series win over Six Nations in the Major Series Lacrosse championship. Victoria swept New Westminster for their third straight Western Lacrosse Association crown.
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