Those of a certain vintage will remember the old TV ads for aftershave Mennen Skin Bracer, which ended with a guy exclaiming: “Thanks, I needed that!”
The Victoria Shamrocks could appreciate that sentiment Friday night in the Western Lacrosse Association. They really needed that.
The Shamrocks, with their slow-starting season needing some sort jolt, defeated the New Westminster Salmonbellies 15-10 to move to 2-4 in the standings.
“It’s not a sigh of relief, but it is a good, positive step for us,” said Shamrocks head coach Bob Heyes.
“It was the type of game we needed to play.”
On a night when heralded rookie Marshal King, out of the Junior Shamrocks and NCAA Div. 1 Drexel, made his debut, it was older brother Jesse King who stole the night with nine points on four goals and five assists.
Jesse King, who played field lacrosse in the Big Ten for the Ohio State Buckeyes, returned from injury this spring to help lead the Calgary Roughnecks to the professional National Lacrosse League title. He found that form again Friday.
“It was exciting to get the NLL championship in Calgary. Now, back with a younger group in Victoria, we have to focus on us and play with energy every night.”
That younger group was heard from in the Victoria victory. Larson Sundown scored four goals to lead a big night for an emerging Shamrocks rookie class that also includes Keegan Bell (two goals and an assist), Cole Pickup (one goal and four assists), Chris Boushy (two goals and two assists) and Marshal King (four assists).
“They are all here for a reason,” said Jesse King.
“You can see they are coming into their own.”
Other Victoria goals came from Graeme Hossack and Adrian Sorichetti against type. The pair are NLL pros and considered two of the best defensive players in the sport.
The Shamrocks had ball control much of the night thanks to Tyler Burton going 23-4 on face-offs. The formerly lacklustre Victoria power play awoke and went 3-5.
Keegan Bal led New Westminster with a hat trick.
The Salmonbellies are 4-2 on the floor but 3-3 in the standings after a victory over the Nanaimo Timbermen was taken away because of the use of an ineligible player.
The Shamrocks conclude the weekend by hosting the league-leading Maple Ridge Burrards (6-1) on Sunday evening at the Q Centre in a reprise of the 2018 WLA final.