Connor Robinson scored at 4:31 of sudden-death in the second period of overtime to give the Victoria Shamrocks a 7-6 victory in a terrifically taut Game 1 of the 2019 Western Lacrosse Association final series at The Q Centre.
“I got two great picks which gave me time and room to take the shot,” said Robinson.
The first, straight-time 10-minute overtime went scoreless.
Victoria got to overtime thanks to an old name making new waves. With a fresh crop of forwards emerging in the WLA, it’s easy to forget just how good a sniper Chris Wardle used to be for the Shamrocks. How about still is good. Wardle scored four goals to pace Victoria.
“Everybody battled hard,” said the 27-year-old.
“We grinded it out. Both goaltenders were stellar and each defence is unbelievable. Every game is going to be a battle.”
The game featured sublime goaltending from Victoria's Pete Dubenski, the WLA comeback player of the year, and Maple Ridge’s Frank Scigliano, the WLA goaltender of the year.
The Burrards led 3-1 after the first period before the cagey veteran Wardle brought the Shamrocks level with two goals in the second period. The tie held until Ryan Keenan scored for Maple Ridge with five seconds remaining in the middle period on a set-piece six-on-five goal scored with Scigliano pulled for an extra attacker.
Wardle was back to make it 4-4 on the power play at 4:06 of the third period and then provided Victoria the lead with a nifty double-pump fake at 8:07. A reverse backhand by Tyson Gibson gave Victoria a two-goal led before Keenan's hat-trick goal made it 6-5 at 13:02. Dane Dobbie tied it at 18:21 to send it to extra time.
The best-of-seven series, a rematch of last year’s WLA final won in five games by the Burrards, continues with Game 2 Sunday at Cam Neely Arena in Maple Ridge. The third game is Tuesday at The Q Centre and fourth game next Friday at Cam Neely Arena. If needed, a fifth game will be played 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 champion — either the defending national-champion Peterborough Lakers or Six Nations Chiefs — in the best-of-seven Mann Cup national final next month.
MINTO CUP: The Victoria Junior Shamrocks’ first Minto Cup game in more than a decade didn’t go well Friday as the B.C. second seeds opened with a 12-1 loss to the Ontario-champion Orangeville Northmen at the Langley Events Centre. The Junior Shamrocks, playing in the Canadian Junior A championship tournament today with a game against the Alberta-champion Okotoks Raiders at the LEC. The Junior Shamrocks are attempting to become the fourth Victoria team to lift junior lacrosse’s holy grail and first since the superstar Gait twins in 1988.