The Nanaimo Timbermen take on the Victoria Shamrocks on Friday (April 21) in Nanaimo to begin the B.C Junior A Lacrosse League campaign. (NEWS BULLETIN file)

Timbermen take on Shamrocks to start junior A lacrosse season

The Timbermen take on the Shamrocks on Friday (April 21) in Nanaimo to begin the BCJALL season

Junior lacrosse season is starting the right way – with an Island rivalry matchup front and centre.

The Nanaimo Timbermen take on the Victoria Shamrocks on Friday (April 21) in Nanaimo to begin the B.C Junior A Lacrosse League campaign.

“It’s a great way for both teams to start off the season,” said Dave Bremner, coach and general manager of the junior A Timbermen. “There are a lot of local players playing on both teams from both areas … hopefully the rivalry continues on and they come out and play some of the best lacrosse they’re capable of playing right now.”

The opening-day rosters will be a little different than what the lineups will look like at mid-season. Bremner said like most teams around the league, a core of guys are still away at college at this time of year, but he said the players who have been in camp are showing well.

“Right now I love the way the guys are working,” he said. “They’re working extremely hard and they’re ready to get the season underway.”

Bremner’s coaching philosophy favours a lot of run-and-gun lacrosse and thinks this Timbermen team will be able to push the pace.

“We’re going to make mistakes, but it’s our ability to figure out those mistakes,” he said, adding that the T-men will need to “take the pressure off ourselves by having the ball on our sticks more than usual.”

The Timbermen also recognize they need to be able to keep the ball out of their own net and Bremner said that’s been a major focus in camp.

“We want to be a stronger defensive club, with players taking ownership in both ends of the floor,” he said.

The Timbermen are coming off a last-place finish in 2016, but Bremner said there’s a new attitude this year. The club feels it has a more experienced core, better commitment up and down the roster, and good young players coming up.

“They’re starting to believe we can compete every night [and] as long as you’re competing every night, you’ll get the good end of the draw,” the coach said.

There’s reason for optimism, he said, and he’s expecting to see a bunch of players take the floor Friday and play extremely hard.

“Both teams are going to make a ton of mistakes, but that’s OK,” he said. “It’s going to be fast-paced, exciting, and hopefully we end up on the right end of the scorecard.”

GAME ON … Game time Friday is 7:30 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. Tickets will be available at the door.

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