The Shamrocks defeated the Maple Ridge Burrards 9-4 in the first game of the WLA finals.
Bob Heyes, Shamrocks’ head coach, said the win gives them some confidence and he was happy with Victoria’s defence. Victoria goalie, Adam Shute, stopped 34 of 38 shots, but Heyes said he expects the next game of the series to be different.
“We made the saves when we had to, but we know these guys are going to have a whole lot more next game, we’re going to see them shooting a tonne more,” Heyes said. “I can see it being a chippy affair. I can see them [Maple Ridge] reverting back to their type of lacrosse they played in the past, try to draw us into penalties and stuff like that, it will be a totally different game at the barn on Sunday for sure.”
Victoria got off to a hot start, holding a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period.
The Burrards’ Curtis Dickson scored back-to-back goals in the second to bring them within one, but Shamrocks’ Jesse King scored a tough, short handed goal and Matt Yager added another in the final minute of the second to put the Shamrocks up 5-2.
King and Tyson Gibson scored two goals and had one assist apiece while Rhys Duch and Steve Priolo each scored one goal and had two helpers.
Heyes credited Priolo, one of the stars of the game, as a two-way player with experience that forced the Burrards to adjust.
“He’s great with the ball, he can run the floor,” Heyes said. “He brings that confidence and it really makes Maple Ridge have to defend differently as well.”
Priolo said the key to the rest of the series is to maintain composure and not take penalties on retaliation.
“You see teams implode when you start going at them,” he said. “When they do the stuff that tries to frustrate us, we gotta not get frustrated by it and that’s all mental.”
Priolo said he enjoyed watching the younger Shamrocks players and that he feeds off of their energy.
Victoria travels to Maple Ridge Sunday at 6:30 p.m. and will be back for game 3 at The Q Centre Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.