They’re looking like the best bet to bring the Mann out west in years.
An entire decade spans the time it’s taken for a BC team to win the pinnacle of box lacrosse. With the way Victoria flew through it with such ease, the Island might be the figurative and literal end of the line for this year’s Mann Cup. The Shamrocks capped off a dominant postseason with the systematic dismantling of a young and inexperienced New Westminster Salmonbellies club. As the Peterborough Lakers and Six Nations Chiefs wage war between themselves back east, the Shamrocks will have been resting for close to two weeks, waiting for a wounded animal to emerge into picture.
It was almost as if the Shamrocks had a script written in the first period of game four, keeping the New West defence honest with movement and full 30-second possessions before Rhys Duch caught fire and made it 4-1 at the end of the 20 minutes. Their ability to shut down Logan Schuss worked wonders as well, with the big man touching the ball coming out of the gate and never really seeing it again on a majority of the possessions.
These are the types of wins people are supposed to be accustomed to given the Shamrocks recent run of dominance in the league, but this is almost unfair. Aaron Bold had a relatively easy night, rarely being contested in tight and a Rory-less defence proved to be no problem for the Shamrocks. The Bellies were resigned to the perimeter for most of the night, and no one could step up in the absence of a big night from Logan Schuss.
It’s very rare to see a team as complete as the Shamrocks are out west anymore, which makes the Mann so much more intriguing this year. Victoria was missing Jesse King and Dan Dawson, played a junior call-up in Cole Pickup and had some other guys with injuries and work commitments, yet they outscored the Bellies at one point 8-1. Sure, there is a lot of money invested into the club, but it’s the only proven method of competing with the east on a consistent basis. They don’t do this if the end game doesn’t outweigh the reason you’re doing it in the first place; Victoria’s just also lucky to have developed their homegrown kids as well as they have.
They have a ton of weapons that will be tough for any MSL team to contain over a seven-game series. Now with two previous Mann experiences under their belt, it may finally be time for the cup to stay on the best coast.