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Shamrocks and Thunder poised for WLA shoot-out

The Victoria Track Classic, featuring numerous Olympic runners, was last week at Centennial Stadium.

The Victoria Track Classic, featuring numerous Olympic runners, was last week at Centennial Stadium. But expect another track meet today at the Q Centre as the highly-charged offences of the Victoria Shamrocks and Langley Thunder meet in a Western Lacrosse Association game at 5 p.m.

“We are a running team, so I have no problem with it being a track meet, as long as it’s a controlled track meet,” said Shamrocks head coach Mike Simpson.

“We have to play smart lacrosse and can’t try to force things. But other than that, let’s go and let’s run, because that’s what we do.”

That’s also what the Thunder do as they have loaded up for this season with offensive talent.

“They have veteran superstars at the front door,” said Simpson.

And they will be knocking, if not looking to completely break it down and come crashing through. National Lacrosse League pro Curtis Dickson, who in university led the Delaware Blue Hens to their only NCAA Final Four appearance, is one of the most explosive scorers in recent lacrosse history.

Thunder teammate Dane Dobbie plays pro for the San Diego Seals and was the 2018-19 NLL MVP. The crafty Robert Church, out of NCAA Div. 1 Drexel University, is an NLL all-pro selection and the defending WLA MVP from 2019, when he was with the Burnaby Lakers and was also WLA MVP in 2014 and 2017.

Langley is also set at the back end with veteran stingy goaltender Frank Scigliano, who led the WLA with a 7.54 goals-against-average heading into Saturday night.

“This game is a really big test for us,” said Simpson.

The Shamrocks answer with veteran Jesse King, the Claremont Secondary Spartans and NCAA Big Ten Ohio State Buckeyes graduate, who leads the WLA with 39 points. King leads the WLA with a 7.8 points-per-game average with Dobbie second at 6.0 points per game.

The Thunder were 3-1 heading into Saturday night’s late finishing game in Coquitlam against the Adanacs (4-2). The Shamrocks (4-1) are coming off Thursday night’s 12-10 rally victory in New Westminster over the Salmonbellies.

Meanwhile, the Nanaimo Timbermen (2-4) were hosting Burnaby (2-4) in a late-finishing WLA game Saturday night at Frank Crane Arena.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com