Burnaby Lakers @ Victoria Shamrocks Game 5 Playoff Preview

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Tonight, the Shamrocks return home with a 3-1 series lead and will have a chance to advance to the WLA finals in front of the home crowd.

On Sunday, the Lakers took their first win of the series in a close game at Bill Copeland Arena. Burnaby held a lead for most of the game, and appeared to have the game out of reach, up 9-5 with less than five minutes to play in the third period. The Shamrocks found their offensive rhythm late; within a three-minute span, Rhys Duch scored two goals, and Chris Wardle added another to make it a one-goal game. Unfortunately for the Shamrocks, Josh Byrne scored a late goal to clinch the game for the Lakers.

Despite the loss, there were some positive signs for Shamrocks in Game Four. Facing playoff injuries, the team has been forced to call in some replacements to fill out the roster, which have played well.  Junior Shamrocks call up Braylon Lumb had two goals and two assists. Filling in for his injured brother Jesse King, Marshal King also had a good night, tallying a goal and an assist. The Shamrocks top tandem of Duch and Corey Small continues click at an elite level as well. Small finished with a goal and five assists, while Duch had three goals and two assists.

After sweeping their way through last year’s playoffs, Sunday night’s contest marked the first time that the Shamrocks have lost a WLA playoff game in two years. With home-floor advantage, the Shamrocks will look to bounce back and win this series in front of their passionate fans. Like any playoff run, the Shamrocks are facing injuries, so it will be interesting to see how head coach Bob Heyes configures his lineup to give the Shamrocks the best chance to win. However the Shamrocks line up looks tonight, it will be up to the team’s veteran core to lead the way.

At tonight’s game, the team will present the Most Popular Player Award as voted by the fans.  In partnership with Campus Nissan, fans were able to vote at home games who they thought was the most popular player.  Corey Small has won the award in the last two seasons.

Lakers Scouting Report

Game Four was the Lakers’ most impressive offensive showing up to this point in the series. While the Lakers are known as a defensive team, it was their offensive production that was most impressive on Sunday night. Byrne led the way with three goals and two assists and he was a dangerous threat throughout the game. Robert Church was also effective, scoring a goal with four assists. At the other end of the floor, Zak Boychuk had an impressive game. The Shamrocks managed 47 shots, and he saved 39 of them to record an .830 save percentage. The Lakers have yet to win a game in the Q Centre this year, and in order to save their season, they will have to accomplish that tonight.

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