Nanaimo Timbermen player Ryan Sheridan is checked by Victoria Shamrocks opponent Mack Mitchell during Thursday’s Game 2 at Frank Crane Arena. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Shamrocks get past Timbermen in Game 2

Nanaimo trails Victoria two games to none in WLA semifinals

Losing a close playoff game was frustrating for the Nanaimo Timbermen, but they will carry their will to win into the next game in the series.

The T-men lost 9-7 to the Victoria Shamrocks in Western Lacrosse Association semifinal action Thursday night at Frank Crane Arena.

The Timbermen led the game 7-6 early in the third period, but the ’Rocks regained momentum and secured the win and a two-games-to-none edge in the best-of-seven series.

Kaleb Toth, Timbermen coach, said he thought his guys played well but said the team was feeling some frustration.

“They’re the Victoria Shamrocks, they’re the ones with all the stars, they’re going to be the ones that get all the breaks, so we’ve just got to continue to work hard,” he said.

Toth said his team raised its game in all areas, including its work ethic, as it bounced back from a rough 11-4 loss in Game 1 two nights earlier in the provincial capital.

“I thought we played a lot better defensively, I thought offensively we moved the ball a bit better. I still think there’s room for improvement, but I was pleased with our game today,” Toth said.

Getting down in a series makes things harder, but the coach said that lacrosse is a game of momentum and if his team gets hot, it can win, as it showed in Game 2 it can compete.

“We had a chance to win, we didn’t fall too behind, we didn’t get down. We can play with these guys,” Toth said. “We’ve got to try to sneak out a game on Saturday and then bring it back here on Monday and tie it up.”

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In Thursday’s Game 2, Evan Messenger, Colton Clark, Nick Finlay, Jon Phillips, Braylon Lumb, Brody Eastwood and Ryan Sheridan scored for Nanaimo. Charles Claxton made 48 saves as his team was outshot 57-47.

Jesse King had a hat trick and Tyson Gibson scored twice for Victoria and Pete Dubenski made 40 saves for the win.

Nanaimo’s injuries continue to mount – the T-men played with two junior call-ups and still played one man short.

“We’re struggling. We’ve got a lot of banged-up guys,” Toth said. “But it’s like the old saying, ‘Who’s next? Who’s willing to step up?’ Guys are working hard and there battling and that’s all we can do is keep trying.”

GAME ON … The Timbermen and Shamrocks play Saturday, Aug. 3, at 7:30 p.m. at the Q Centre, then play Monday, Aug. 5, at 7:30 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena.

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