It’s been fifty-one days since the Victoria Shamrocks and Langley Thunder faced off, in what was the first game of the 2017 Western Lacrosse Association season. That game, a 10-9 Victoria win at the Q Centre, was the first of four straight wins to start the season. Victoria was powered by outscoring the Thunder 3-1 in both the opening and final periods, including the game-winning goal with five seconds left by rookie Cody Nass. It was the second professional goal for the Delta product and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the ‘Rocks. Nass was also the game’s highest scorer, tallying two goals and seven points. Corey Small and Mike Triolo each added five points, and Cody Hagedorn made twenty-eight saves.
Langley has struggled in the first half of the season, starting 0-7 before defeating the Salmonbellies in New Westminster 8-6 for their only victory. The Thunder sit last in goals per game (7.2), second to last in goals against (9.9) and have the lowest penalty kill in the league at sixty-percent. That last stat should make Shamrock fans lick their lips as the ‘Rocks trot out the league’s best man advantage unit, clicking at forty-three percent. It’s also a tale of polar opposites in the goal differential category, through ten games, Langley is a league worst -27, while Victoria is at the top at +26.
Corey Small has extended his point lead to twenty-four over the next highest player, Burnaby’s Eli McLaughlin. Small seems primed to top last year’s total, as his seventy-five point 2016 campaign is in reach if he were to record seven points Wednesday. His senior career high is eighty-six points, which he achieved back in 2013. Langley is led by JP Kealey, who sits third in points with thirty-eight. Kealey has scored nineteen times in ten games and had both three goals and a trio of helpers back in May when the team’s first met.
The Shamrocks look to build off a dominant win against Nanaimo last week, as a win would vault Victoria back into top spot in the WLA, currently, they sit tied for second with Burnaby, Maple Ridge is ahead by one point.