The second place Victoria Shamrocks and fourth place Maple Ridge Burrards have defeated the Nanaimo Timbermen and New Westminster Salmonbellies, respectively, to advance to the final round of the 2018 Western Lacrosse Association Playoffs. The winner of this best-of-seven series will travel to Ontario to represent the WLA in the Mann Cup Championship.
The Burrards went 9-8-1 in the regular season, but swept the Salmonbellies in four straight games to advance to the finals. Led in scoring by Curtis Dickson (12 goals, 10 assists) and Ben McIntosh (10 goals, 9 assists), the Burrards also had strength on defense, with a penalty kill rate of 87%, the best in the playoffs, and effective goaltending from Frank Scigliano, who led the first round in lowest goals against (6.37) and highest save percentage (0.855).
The Shamrocks went 12-6-0 in the regular season, and defeated the Timbermen in the semi-finals in five games to advance to the next round. Rob Hellyer (18 assists) and Jesse King (12 assists) teamed up with Casey Jackson (12 goals), Tyson Gibson (9 goals), and Rhys Duch (8 goals) to produce for the Victoria club. Goaltender Adam Shute was hard at work for the club, stopping 204 shots in the five games, and second in goals against (7.20) and save percentage (0.843) to Burrards netminder Scigliano.
The schedule for the finals is as follows:
- Game #1: Friday, August 17th – 6:30pm – Maple Ridge @ Victoria (The Q Centre)
- Game #2: Sunday, August 19th – 6:30pm – Victoria @ Maple Ridge (Cam Neely Arena)
- Game #3: Tuesday, August 21st – 6:30pm – Maple Ridge @ Victoria (The Q Centre)
- Game #4: Thursday, August 23rd – 6:30pm – Victoria @ Maple Ridge (Cam Neely Arena)
- Game #5: Saturday, August 25th – 6:30pm – Maple Ridge @ Victoria (The Q Centre)
- Game #6: Monday, August 27th – 6:30pm – Victoria @ Maple Ridge (Cam Neely Arena)
- Game #7: Wednesday, August 29th – 6:30pm – Maple Ridge @ Victoria (The Q Centre)
The last time these two clubs met in the finals was in 2016, when Maple Ridge defeated Victoria in six games to advance to the Mann Cup. That series was a closely contested, back-and-forth series with all games ending with a five-goal differential or less, and four of the games with a three-goal differential or less. Both clubs are eager to return to the Mann Cup, and this will be sure to be an exciting series from start to finish.