In a back and forth affair that found the Victoria Shamrocks down by four goals on three separate occasions, the team managed to swing momentum their way when it mattered most.
The Shamrocks rattled off seven consecutive goals against the Maple Ridge Burrards to secure a hotly contested 17-14 victory on Tuesday in from of a raucous crowd at The Q Centre. Down 14-10 in the decisive third period, the locals outscored the Maple Ridge senior lacrosse team 8-2 to take a 2 -1 lead in the best of seven series.
Jesse King, who was named the game’s first star, stepped up with 11 points on five goals and six assists in the win. Chris Wardle and Tyson Gibson tallied seven points each, while Tyler pace and Chris Boushey each scored a pair.
Shamrocks general manager Chris Welch said he had to think long and hard to recall a win that came close to matching the drama and late-game heroics.
“The closest I can remember is a game against the Salmonbellies in New West in the first round of the 2014 playoffs,” Welch recalled. “They had a 12-9 lead with a minute 27 to go and we scored four in the last 1: 02 to steal the win.”
Last night’s game was a testament to how hard the Shamrocks have handled adversity after a slew of injuries resulted in one win and four losses to start the season, Welch said. “We hit some holes along the way but this group has battled hard all year,” Welch noted. “Last night it looked like our season could be moving toward a close, but the team just kept pushing and found a way to win.”
Looking ahead to Friday’s game in Maple Ridge, Welch said the ebbs and flows of the previous game underscore that lacrosse is a game of runs.
“Keeping the momentum going that we established in the third period is key,” he said. “We have to maintain the momentum we’ve taken back because we know Maple Ridge is going to come out hard. They had the momentum after game two and we took it back last night. We have to keep our foot on the gas.”
Welch said the extended grind of the regular season followed by the rise in intensity that typifies the playoffs means a lot of players are banged up and playing through pain, but there are no major injuries to report after last night’s game.
“All things considered, we’re pretty healthy going into Sunday.”
The Shamrocks return home after Friday’s game in Maple Ridge to host the Burrards on Sunday at The Q Centre at 6 p.m.
Tickets are on sale at The Q centre box office for the rest of the week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday starting at noon. For more information, check out victoriashamrocks.com.