The 2019 Western Lacrosse Association final could be a classic, if Game 1 was any indication.
The top-seed Victoria Shamrocks defeated the second-seed Maple Ridge Burrards 8-7 in a riveting double-overtime opener Friday at The Q Centre.
“Maple Ridge is a good team and that was a long, tough game,” said NLL-pro Connor Robinson, who scored the winner in sudden death in the second overtime period. Robinson said the Shamrocks would abide by the “midnight rule.”
“You get to enjoy wins until 12 p.m. that night, then you forget about it, and think ahead to the next game.”
That comes tonight with Game 2 at Cam Neely Arena in Maple Ridge.
“Every game is going to be a battle,” said Chris Wardle, after scoring four goals for Victoria in Game 1.
“We need to stay steady and just keep playing our game.”
A big part of that is Victoria’s unrelenting defence.
It held Burrards forwards Dane Dobbie and Curtis Dickson — NLL pro superstars and two of the most lethal snipers in the history of the sport — to a goal and two assists combined between them in Game 1.
The goaltending was superb in the series opener, with Pete Dubenski of the Shamrocks, the comeback story of the season, and Frank Scigliano of the Burrards, the WLA goalie of the year, making diving and toe saves galore.
The best-of-seven series, a rematch of last year’s WLA final won in five games by the Burrards, continues with Game 3 Tuesday at The Q Centre and Game 4 Friday at Cam Neely Arena. If needed, a fifth game will be Aug. 25 in Victoria, sixth game Aug. 27 at Cam Neely and seventh game Aug. 30 in Victoria.
The WLA champion will host the Ontario Major Series champion in the best-of-seven Mann Cup national final next month.
The best-of-seven Ontario final between the defending Mann Cup-champion Peterborough Lakers and Six Nations Chiefs begins tonight in Peterborough.
MINTO CUP: The Victoria Junior Shamrocks’ first Minto Cup appearance in more than a decade hasn’t gone well, as the B.C. second seeds fell to 0-2 following a 13-10 loss Saturday to the Alberta champion Okotoks Raiders at the Langley Events Centre. Victoria opened Friday with a 12-1 loss to the Ontario-champion Orangeville Northmen. The Junior Shamrocks, playing in the Canadian Junior A championship tournament for the first time since 2008, close out the round-robin portion tonight at Langley against the B.C. champion Coquitlam Junior Adanacs. Only three Victoria teams have won the Minto Cup, the last being Esquimalt Legion with the superstar Gait twins in 1988.