Victoria Shamrocks are the Western Lacrosse League champions after defeating the Maple Ridge Burrards on their home turf this weekend.
Although the Burrards out shot the Shamrocks 51-45 Sunday night, and pushed the game into overtime, the Shamrocks came out shining with Graeme Hossack scoring the winning goal, six minutes into OT, assisted by Chris Wardle.
“We had a slow start, there’s no doubt about that,” said Burrards head coach Rob Williams.
“It was 4-1 before we knew it. I think we were walking on eggshells because of the position we were in. And to be quite honest with you, there might have been some burnout,” he said, explaining that a bunch of his guys went to the National Lacrosse League finals before heading into the WLA season and then right into the playoffs with a tough series against New Westminster.
Williams credits Victoria for heading into Sunday night’s game fresh, running and working hard.
“The coaches had a good game plan and they stuck to it,” he said.
The Burrards called Victoria goaltender Peter Dubenski out on his pads twice during the game, earning him a five-minute major penalty for illegal goalie equipment and a 10-minute game misconduct in the second period.
However, despite a power play advantage for 26 minutes during the game, the Burrards were not able to get ahead.
“Everybody made the ultimate effort,” said Williams.
“There were a couple of guys that deserve honourable mention of, Mike Mallory and Jean-Luc Chetner, who were put in different positions all the time throughout the season. Mallory played between offence and defence and did a great job balancing it,” Williams said, adding that Chetner was outstanding in transition.
“I should also mention that Reece Callies was taking face-offs which normally isn’t his job and playing lots of short man defence. I felt like he played outstanding too,” he added.
Williams also acknowledged the hard work of goaltenders Frank Scigliano and Christian Del Bianco.
“They are good tandem and they are good teammates and good friends and it made life easy on the coaching staff and on the team for them to handle things the way they handled it. Two of the best goalies in the world,” he added.
Three quarters of the way through the season, Williams said, he knew it was going to be a battle down the stretch, “and, I think, the three teams that were really in contention were really tight.”
“We out shot them in the series by 40 shots, which in five games is not a lot. And then power play, short man percentages were pretty close and then goals against was within four goals in a five game series, double overtime, overtime, one goal games. it was a very tight series,” he said.
Williams is really appreciative of the support they received from the hometown crowd, saying that the last couple of games were packed.
Management and staff, he said, will begin getting ready for the new season during the next couple of months, including coming up with a game plan for next season.