Conway set a new WLA record for points in a single period, but Conway was just beginning to rewrite the record book
By: Lucas Wilson
Shamrocks Nation was treated to an unbelievable experience on Friday night at the 100.3 The Q Centre. The atmosphere in the arena was electric beforehand, as the Shamrocks celebrated the 2015 Mann Cup championship one last time. But once the ball dropped and the action began, the Shamrocks made it abundantly clear: they are still the team to beat. Led by a record-breaking, 17-point performance by Cory Conway, the Shamrocks dominated the Nanaimo Timbermen by a score of 18-6.
Inspired by the raucous crowd, the Shamrocks came out firing on all cylinders in the first period. Just five minutes in, two goals by Corey Small and a goal each from Rhys Duch and Chris Wardle made it 4-0. The relentless attack would continue, and by the end of the first period, the score was 11-2 for the Shamrocks. Remarkably, Conway had a point in every goal with one goal and ten assists. This set a new WLA record for points in a single period, but Conway was just beginning to rewrite the record book.
The Shamrocks continued their dominance in the second period, outscoring the T-Men, 5-0. In his first game as captain of the team, Corey Small had seven goals after 40 minutes. The second period also saw a couple of rookies find success on offence. 2016 Shamrocks draft pick Thomas Moffat added a goal, and Nova Scotia native Ian McShane scored his first of two goals on the night. Along with a goal of his own in the second, Conway assisted the other four goals in the period, which brought his point total up to 16. That tied the single-game point record, set by Jim Douglas in 1941. It is often said that records are meant to be broken, but there’s usually a good reason why some records stand for over seven decades. With 16 points in just two periods, Conway had made it look easy.
As the third period began, it seemed inevitable that a goal or an assist from Conway would come quickly. Every time Conway was on the floor there was a buzz in the arena, as the fans were well aware of the history that they were observing. Offence did not come as easily for the Shamrocks in the third. Halfway through the period, the Shamrocks had added just one goal, which Conway had no involvement with. He had plenty great chances for a point, but Timbermen goalie Mike DeGirolamo made a couple of impressive saves to shut the door on Duch and Small, on great passes from Conway. After Nanaimo added a couple of goals in the third, a nervous energy entered the Q Centre, as fans wanted to see Conway get rewarded with the record. At the 3:25 mark of the third, the fans got what they wanted. Conway fired a pass to Small, who got it over to Duch, who shot it passed DeGirolamo. The crowd immediately erupted into a standing ovation, which lasted well into the resumption of play. In his first lacrosse game since hoisting the Mann Cup in September, Conway had put together one of the single greatest performances in WLA history. The Timbermen would add a couple of late goals, but the final buzzer sound with a score of 18-6. Shamrocks goalie Cody Hagedorn had a good performance, making 36 saves on 42 shots, but all eyes were on Conway and the dynamic Shamrocks offence.
After such an incredible game, it is hard not to be excited about the team’s potential in 2016. It is worth noting that the Shamrocks were playing without key players Jeff Shattler, Jesse King, Tyler Burton, and Greg and Jon Harnett. Perhaps Shamrocks Nation has yet to see just how good this team can be.