The Coquitlam Adanacs may just have awakened a sleeping giant.
Late-game antics and shenanigans, which included Coquitlam's Jason Jones knocking goaltender Matt Flindell off his feet, have brought the Victoria Shamrocks closer together.
What was a disjointed Shamrocks team in Games 1 and 2 of the Western Lacrosse Association semifinal came together as one in a physical, gutsy affair in Friday's 9-6 win that left Flindell injured and his status in question for Game 4 tonight at 7:45 in Coquitlam.
The Adanacs still lead the series 2-1, but they have lathered up the Shamrocks into an all-for-one, one-for-all mentality, rallying around what was a big win.
"You don't have to fight for yourself, but you do have to fight for your team. That's become our motto," said Shamrocks sniper Jeff Shattler, who was one of six players handed misconducts at 13:48 of the third period when Jones literally took out Flindell.
Shattler, Austin Powell and Dan MacRae all became embroiled in the extracurricular activity along with Coquitlam's Jones, Daniel McQuade and Travis Irving, and it became warfare for the final 6:12.
Victoria's Troy Gardner and the Adanacs' Damon Edwards were also handed game misconducts at the final buzzer when another melee occurred, which also led to fan involvement in a zany finish.
"We have to stay out of the penalty box; if we do that as a team and not take any selfish penalties, we'll be OK. ... We have to fight for the guy next to us," Shattler said. "We really bought into that [Friday]."
And it paid off in a big way as the Shamrocks snapped a 10-game playoff losing streak that ran back to the 2010 championship final.
"It's almost been like a curse," Shattler said. "The last four years, it's been hard for us to win in the playoffs. I believe we broke that curse [Friday] night. I call it a curse because I've seen it the last four years.
"That win showed grit and determination. We all fought for our teammates. We grinded it out, played hard, and I think if we do that, we can go a long way. It's probably the best team I've been a part of in those four years."
The showing couldn't have come a moment too soon for Shamrocks head coach Bob Heyes.
"It was a great pushback," he said. "We had a very good first period, and in the second period, we established ourselves. In the third period, there was a lot of goofy stuff, but that's playoff lacrosse.
"They can play the way they want, running goaltenders and stuff. The referees did not have a great game and let them back in the game with a lot of iffy calls, but we came through on it."
Flindell was forced to leave the game due to an upper-body injury, and the Adanacs cut the Shamrocks' lead to 9-6 on two goals in less than a two-minute span with backup Chris Levis coming into a strange situation.
Dane Dobbie, who is definitely under the Shamrocks' skin because of his tenacious play, became the object of attention of the fans.
"I'm just playing the way I've always played," Dobbie said before Game 3. "It's playoff time now, so you notch it up to another level, and each game you get higher and higher."
He took it a little too far getting involved with fans.
"Our fans did a great job getting under their skin," Heyes said. "It's funny, but that's what life is like in the WLA come playoffs.
"It's like it's no holds barred come playoffs," Heyes added. "There is no consistency with it. We're here to play lacrosse, and we'll take care of the other stuff if we have to.
"It was a huge win, though, and the guys will have extra confidence, and we'll come up with a plan to counteract all their extracurricular stuff."
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