Another Battle Begins Wednesday night for defending National Champion Victoria Shamrocks

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On Sunday night, the Victoria Shamrocks finally got the job done. After being up 3-0 in the WLA semi-finals, the Burnaby Lakers fought their way back in the series to Game Seven at the Q Centre. The Shamrocks were in control for most of Game Seven, and late goals by Ethan Garland and Cory Conway put the game out of reach. With the 14-11 win, there was a sense of relief throughout the Q Centre as the Shamrocks were finally able to overcome the relentless attack from the Lakers. After that grueling series, however, the journey to the Mann Cup has really only just begun. Waiting for the Shamrocks in the WLA finals is the Maple Ridge Burrards. After just a few nights of rest, the Shamrocks will have to be prepared for more intense lacrosse.

The Shamrocks’ offence finding its rhythm was a huge reason that they were finally able to overcome the Lakers. After missing a couple of games, Cory Conway returned to the lineup in Game Six, which sparked the attack. Although the Shamrocks lost the high scoring Game Six, they had finally seemed to figure out how to break through the stingy Lakers defense and goaltending. This paid off in Game Seven as 14 goals would prove to be more than enough to hold off the Lakers offence, which had also seemed to find its stride.

The Shamrocks had intense battles with the Burrards in all three games that they played. The Burrards took the first game in a thrilling 12-10 overtime contest, but the Shamrocks responded by winning the next two games, winning one in Maple Ridge and one at home. The goal differential in those games finished at 36-30 in favour of the Shamrocks. The Burrards play a physical brand of lacrosse, and this was quite evident in all three matchups. Even though these teams have not played each other in over a month, the intensity of a seven game series should bring out the rivalry between these teams once again.

There is a lot on the line in this series. The Shamrocks have won the WLA championship for the last three years, and a win in this series would give them a chance at defending their Mann Cup championship. This is a different lineup than the team that won the Mann Cup last year, so this is a new experience for many of the Shamrocks players. The strong veteran core will play a huge role in leading the way against a tough team.

Burrards Scouting Report

In the WLA semi-finals, the Burrards showed that they are a team built for the postseason. Facing off against the New Westminster Salmonbellies, Maple Ridge consistently found ways to pull ahead late in games and finished off the series in five games. Frank Scigliano started in all five games for the Burrards, and he finished with a .827 save percentage and a 8.75 goals against average. The Burrards attack is well balanced with several threats. In the first round, Riley Loewen, Ben McIntosh, Mike Mallory lead the way with 17, 16, and 15 points respectively.

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