Victoria, BC – Lacrosse fans shall rejoice as today is the start of the 2018 WLA playoffs. The first game between the #2 seed Victoria Shamrocks and the remarkable #3 seed Nanaimo Timbermen goes tonight at The Q Centre in Victoria. The all-island series starts at 7:30pm tonight and the doors will open at 6:30pm. This will be the first time ever that the Shamrocks take on the Timbermen in the playoffs and for fans of both teams – it will be a can’t miss series.
The Shamrocks took the season series from the Timbermen, winning both home games they had against Nanaimo. The most dramatic game was the 11-10 overtime win for the ‘Rocks at The Q Center on June 29th. Matt Yager scored the game-winning goal in that game 2:34 minutes into the overtime period while Jesse King had 3 goals and 3 assists that night. The previous results included a 13-5 win for Victoria on June 10th and a 12-9 win for the Timbermen in their home opener on June 2nd.
As Premiere John Horgen put it, “Having an island rivalry is really good for lacrosse, it’s good for both cities, it’s good for the game.”
The last time Nanaimo was in a WLA playoff game was 2007 when Superbad was the top box office movie in the US. To say it has been a “little while” since Nanaimo made the playoffs is a bit of an understatement. Every team has made the playoffs since 2007 with the exception of the Timbermen. After the successful regular season Nanaimo had fans should be glad to see Nanaimo in the position they find themselves. WLA fans should be excited at the potential that the island rivalry brings when the calendar turns to August.
Nanaimo has been an exceptional team to watch all season. Numbers wise, the Timbermen give up an average of 8.67 goals per game which is the lowest number in the league. Nanaimo was also the most disciplined team in the regular season as they had just 230 penalty minutes as a team. The Timbermen have had great performances all season from goaltender Charles Claxton who is tonight’s player to watch for Shamrocks to watch.
Claxton (along with the Timbermen) has been one of the biggest success stories of the WLA this season. The 2015 1st All-Star team goalie for the Junior Shamrocks was drafted in 2016 by Maple Ridge. He played sparingly for the Burrards before he was shipped off to the Langley Thunder where he played as a second stringer for the Thunder last year. In February, the Timbermen traded a 3rd round pick for Claxton and he has been an impact player since day 1. Along with finishing second in the league in goals-against- average (8.71), Claxton finished the regular season in the top 5 for goalies in wins, save percentage, and minutes played. This season has been his break out year and he will look to continue the success against the Shamrocks.