The Victoria Shamrocks (3-1) seem to have a struck a fine balance between the new and the true and tested.
“We’re not short on talent. We’re short on experience,” said head coach Mike Simpson, of his squad that is rebuilding with promising young players.
The youth brigade was prominent Friday night in the 13-7 Western Lacrosse Association victory over the winless Coquitlam Adanacs (0-3) before 2,016 fans at The Q Centre. But so were the returnees.
“A little bit of veteran leadership goes a long way,” Simpson.
Speaking for the vets was Marshal King with an eight-point night on a goal and seven assists and Cole Pickup with two goals. Making the case for the rookies was Patrick Dodds with a goal and two assists and Casey Wilson with two goals and an assist. Dodds, already an impact player in the professional National Lacrosse League, is in his first WLA season. Wilson, from the NCAA Div. 1 Denver University Pioneers and who will represent Canada in the world championship this month in San Diego, were teammates last season on the B.C. Junior A-champion Junior Shamrocks.
“This was a deep draft of Junior ’Rocks,” said Wilson.
Another former Junior Shamrock, Cam Dunkerley, made 26 saves in goal for Victoria for the win.
A Nanaimo Junior Timbermen graduate was not about to be outdone as Thomas Vaesen continued his outstanding start to the season with a hat trick and four points to show why he is already a NLL pro with the Albany Firewolves.
It was part of a withering Victoria attack that launched 65 shots on net with Adanacs goaltender Andrew Gallant living up to his last name with a gallant display to keep it within relative shouting distance as the ’Rocks held period leads of 4-2 and 11-5.
“We want to dictate the pace of play and use our legs and want to run,” said Simpson.
“We pushed the ball and were super-tenacious tonight. Our offence is in a good place. Our guys don’t care who shoots or who scores. When we’re on, we’re on.”
The Shamrocks were certainly that with Nick Preston adding a goal with four assists, Cory Conway a goal and assist before aggravating an injury and Liam Phillips and Bennett Smith with one goal each.
In a rarity, the Shamrocks were not assessed a penalty.
“It was just good, hard-nosed lacrosse,” said Simpson.
“We didn’t have just one guy after the ball when it was on the ground, we had two guys on it.”
The Nanaimo Timbermen (3-2), meanwhile, beat the Lakers (0-4) by an 11-9 count in Burnaby on Friday night as Zach Manns had a hat trick and seven points for the T-Men.
The Shamrocks host the Maple Ridge Burrards (2-2), the only team to beat Victoria this season, next Friday night at The Q Centre before heading up to the Island derby the following night in the Harbour City against the Timbermen, who made the WLA final last season for the first time since 1968.