Approaching the midway point of the season, the Victoria Shamrocks continue to prove that they might just be the class of the Western Lacrosse Association in 2017.
A tie and a win over the weekend means the Shamrocks have beaten each of their WLA foes at least once through the season’s first eight games, with the lone setback coming in a one-goal loss on the road against the Coquitlam Adanacs.
Sunday’s trip to Nanaimo was the first matchup between the Island rivals this season. The Shamrocks took all three matchups against the Timbermen a year ago and Victoria continued its run of dominance with a 16-9 win that featured a dazzling eight-goal performance from forward Casey Jackson.
After the first period ended in a 3-3 tie, the Shamrocks began to pull away in the second, going on a four-goal run in the middle part of the frame.
Jackson started to show signs that he was in for a special night, notching three goals to go along with the one he tallied in the opening frame. The Victoria native put the game out of reach in the third with four more goals, all but one including an assist from captain Corey Small, who extended his league scoring lead with nine points.
Cody Hagedorn made 46 saves on 55 shots in the Shamrocks net.
On Friday, the ‘Rocks battled the New Westminster Salmonbellies to a 12-12 draw in a game that featured the season debuts of highly touted netminder Aaron Bold and defender Tyler Hass, both mainstays on the team’s 2015 Mann Cup championship squad.
After the Shamrocks took an early 4-1 lead, the Salmonbellies responded in kind with a pair of late goals in the first and an 8-2 run through to the latter half of the second period.
A late Jackson goal was erased by two more Salmonbellies tallies in the third and the Shamrocks found themselves down 11-7 with under 12 mintues to play.
A run of four that started with a goal from Small and ended with a power play tally from Hass sent the game into overtime.
Josh Fagan got a power play goal for the Shamrocks in the extra session but Zach Herreweyers responded for the visitors to secure a draw.
Bold was busy in the Shamrocks net, making 55 saves on 66 shots. Small led Victoria with six points and Jackson added five.
The Shamrocks play host to the Maple Ridge Burrards on Friday.
Victoria’s 13 points leaves them five clear of both Maple Ridge and the Burnaby Lakers.