There was a Shamrocks player laying on a table in the hallway getting stitches in the top of his head, a Burrards player had left in an ambulance, and there was blood splattered all over the floor after Game 2 of the Victoria-Maple Ridge best-of-seven playoff series on Wednesday night.
Victoria took a 2-0 lead in the series with a 12-5 win.
The rowdy and often cheap game was like one from the wooden stick era of the Western Lacrosse Association.
“It’s good old-time lacrosse out there. We’ve got guys getting stitches, they’ve got guys getting stitched up,” said Shamrocks coach Bob Heyes.
Both he and Burrards coach Chris Gill accused the other team of not “playing lacrosse,” and reducing the competition to where the game ended in a bloody line brawl, with three fights underway at once.
“It’s very similar to our series last year against Maple Ridge,” said Heyes. “They’re a team that plays a very gritty, very in-your-face game.”
Last year the two teams met in the league championship, and the Shamrocks advanced to the Mann Cup final.
“We want to play lacrosse. We have a team that can play any style that’s out there, but we’re here to play lacrosse. We did it last year. We beat them in the finals,” said Heyes. “Same thing this year is, we’re going to play lacrosse. If they’re going to challenge us, we’ll deal with it.”
Gill said his team is getting frustrated by offensive players receiving cheap shots. His players are getting hacked in the legs, and on at least four occasions in a much, much worse place.
“Two games in a row we’ve talked about discipline, we’ve played disciplined lacrosse, we say, ‘take the hit, suck it up, it’s a long series,’” said Gill. “At some point, if our players are getting hacked on the shins, we’ve got to protect ourselves.”
The Burrards players and bench staff were incensed that a Shamrock player slammed Creighton Reid’s head into the boards, cutting him badly. There was blood spilled on the floor across almost the entire length of the Burrards bench.
“Their player grabbed our player, had his helmet off, and ran his head into the boards,” said Gill.
He called on the officials to call the cheap shots, and to protect elite players from the NLL who take part in the summer league.
“Unless we can be protected, the boys are going to take it into their own hands,” said Gill. “They’re going to have no players playing in the WLA – no quality players, no superstars, unless they’re protected.”
The Burrards trailed just 5-4 at the midpoint of the game, and then Victoria went off for six unanswered goals.
Three Shamrocks had five points: Daryl Veltman, Jesse King and Corey Small. Small was the game’s first star with four goals.
Ben McIntosh had two goals and an assist for the Burrards, while Riley Loewen, Connor Goodwin and Zack Porter also scored.
There were seven game misconduct penalties to the Shamrocks and five to the Burrards, and the league had not announced any suspensions as of Thursday morning.
Gill said there is no quit in the Burrards.
“We’re in the series,” said the coach. “It’s a long series. We knew we weren’t going to beat them in four.”
The series shifts back to Victoria on Saturday.
“We’ll have 3,000 there for Saturday night, so it’ll be a fun show. I don’t know if either team will have a full lineup though,” said Heyes.
• The next game at Planet Ice will be game four on Sunday at 5 p.m. The sixth game, if necessary, would be at Planet Ice on Aug. 15 at 5 p.m.