WLA final between Shamrocks, Burrards now down to a best-of-five

Nobody on either side thought this was going to be easy. It won’t be.

The second-seed Burrards levelled the best-of-seven 2109 Western Lacrosse Association final series 1-1 with a 10-7 victory Sunday over the top-seed Victoria Shamrocks in Game 2 at Cam Neely Arena in Maple Ridge.

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That followed Victoria’s 7-6 opening-game home win in double overtime. Game 3 is Tuesday night at 6:30 at The Q Centre.

The Shamrocks say they welcome the quick turnaround.

“Our guys want to get right back out there,” Victoria head coach Bob Heyes said.

“Game 3 is huge for us. We don’t want to go into Cam Neely on Friday [Game 4] trailing and them looking to put a stranglehold on it. We want Maple Ridge to play catch-up. We want to put the pressure on them.”

The Shamrocks led 3-1 in Game 2 before four consecutive goals by Ben McIntosh made it 5-3 for the Burrards by the end of the second period.

McIntosh, who missed Game 1 because of commitments in the new professional Premier Field Lacrosse League, finished with six goals to destroy Victoria in the second game.

Jesse King and Tyson Gibson, out of NCAA universities Ohio State and Robert Morris, respectively, each had two goals and two assists to lead the Shamrocks. Tyler Pace, Chris Boushy and Steve Priolo scored the other goals.

Maple Ridge went four-for-eight on the power play and Victoria 0-4, a trend that can’t continue if the Shamrocks are to be successful.

“We started well in the second game and then got into penalty trouble and got nailed with a few questionable calls — and some we deserved,” Heyes said.

“They got away with some pick-and-roll calls that we didn’t get. We lost our focus and got drawn into Maple Ridge’s style of play. We got dragged down to their style. We have to adapt and play above that.”

Pete Dubenski made 40 saves in goal for Victoria and Frank Scigliano, the WLA goaltender of the year, had 29 for Maple Ridge.

“Pete [Dubenski] held us in the game,” Heyes said.

“We need to play better offensively. We don’t need the perfect shot, we just need to shoot.”

The Shamrocks are making their seventh consecutive appearance in the WLA final. This is a rematch of last year’s final won in five games by the Burrards. Game 4 is Friday at Cam Neely Arena and Game 5 on Sunday at The Q Centre. If required, Game 6 would be Aug. 27 at Cam Neely and Game 7 on Aug. 30 at The Q Centre.

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 began Sunday in Peterborough, with the Chiefs prevailing 12-10 in overtime.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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