Mann Cup Preview: Victoria Shamrocks

For the second year in a row the Victoria Shamrocks have earned the WLA crown and I don’t think it’s far off to say they did it with domination.

After losing in the Mann cup last year to the Six Nations Chiefs in 6 games on their home floor, the Shamrocks wanted to come back bigger and stronger then last year and, well, mission accomplished. After finishing the season an outstanding 14-2-2 and looking like a train going full speed ahead all year the Shamrocks rolled into the WLA postseason the first overall seed.
The Rocks opened the playoffs against the fourth seeded New Westminster Salmonbellies who ended the season on a high note and ready for the challenge but in the end the Bellie’s would be swept in four games, where until the fourth game the Shamrocks looked to be untouchable and rolling on all cylinders but late in game four their standout starting goalie Matt Flindell was pulled looking a little shaky until Cody Hagedorn came in to close out the series and wait for the Maple Ridge Burrards, winner’s of their first round series against the Burnaby Lakers.
After finishing the regular season against Maple Ridge 2-0-1 the Rock’s were in for a long and hard fought battle from a Burrards team that shocked alot of people with how strong they were all season even without their star player Curtis Dickson in the Lineup the Burrards were a team that could potentially pull off the upset, and then game one happened and we saw how ugly this series got as it was  a 9-5 series opening win for the Rocks who were firing on all cylinders flexing their muscles showing the Burrards were going to be in for a skilled long playoff which progressed with numerous major penalties called (not enough in many peoples opinions) and a number of suspension’s the team’s ended up battling hard for a tough 5 game series that ended in a strong performance on their home floor with Victoria starting goalie Matt Flindell coming back strong between the pipes again to lead his team to a 9-4 game five win to win the series 4-1 and move onto the Mann Cup, which will be a rematch of last year’s Mann Cup, only difference is it’s Six Nation’s turn to host starting this Saturday.
It’s not hard to find out why the shamrocks dominated all year when you look at their roster. Three players were in the top 15 in WLA scoring with Rhys Duch and Corey Small finishing one and two respectively and Jesse King finishing high in the scoring leaders as well. Victoria put teams on notice they were looking to repeat as WLA champs and did exactly that late in the season by acquiring Dhane Smith who was a having a great season for the Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiak’s, as a first year Sr A standout who in only six games had 26 points (12G/14A) to be third overall in Major Series Lacrosse points before coming over to the ‘Rocks earned another 21 points (8G,13A) in nine regular season games and earned another 41 points (10G,31A) in only nine playoff games to help Victoria to the west crown.