The Victoria Shamrocks got the better of the Nanaimo Timbermen in a game where push came to shove.
The rival teams met in Western Lacrosse Association action on Saturday night at Frank Crane Arena and the visitors won 15-9 in a feisty affair.
The game didn’t get lopsided until the third period, as the Coastal Windows Timbermen closed out the second period on a 4-0 run to deadlock the score at 8-8 through 40 minutes.
“A tough one to swallow tonight because we were right there,” said Cayle Ratcliff, T-men alternate captain.
Saturday’s matchup was the most physical and chippy of the season so far, as the teams had a couple of fights and also took turns running the opponent’s goalie.
“We don’t like each other so we’re going to battle and it’s going to be a physical game,” said Ratcliff.
Saturday’s turning point came early in the third period. After some good penalty killing by Nanaimo on a five-on-three, the Timbermen got a power play and surrendered three shorthanded goals.
“We have to be better on the raggers,” said Kaleb Toth, Timbermen coach. “We can’t give up three short-handed goals in one shift and it comes down to simple things, guys just not doing what they do, not cross-checking.”
The quick goals got the T-men off their game and they let the Shamrocks spin off checks and get prime shooting lanes.
“We have to contest them, we have to hit them, we have to make sure that we’re always keeping them busy,” Toth said. “It’s as simple as putting your stick on theirs.”
One of the frustrating aspects of Saturday’s loss for the T-men was that losing those one-on-one battles and the races for loose balls had them questioning their effort.
“With our team there’s no excuses for being outworked and we were outworked tonight,” Ratcliff said.
He led the way with four goals for the T-men, Cody Bremner had two goals and three assists and Myles Dennett scored a pair. Blake Kenny added a goal and three assists. Zak Boychuk suffered the loss and Paul Brebber and Braden Kmita had fights.
Jeff Shattler had four goals for the Shamrocks, Corey Small had three goals and three helpers and Rhys Duch scored twice. Scott Ranger missed the game due to injury.
Toth said the Timbermen would address their mistakes at Tuesday’s practice and then try to forget about the game.
“All you can do is put it behind you and practise hard … and try to be better for the next game,” he said. “And that’s what I hope we do.”
Ratcliff said there’s lots of time for the T-men to get back to playing winning lacrosse.
“With this league and all the parity, you can’t dwell on a game,” he said. “I think the boys will stay focused and keep on track.”
GAME ON … The Timbermen (4-8) play the Maple Ridge Burrards (6-4) on Saturday (July 6) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena.