Victoria Shamrocks player Cory Conway

Timbermen lose to record-setting Shamrocks

VICTORIA – The Shamrocks defeated the T-men 18-6 to start the Western Lacrosse Association regular season on Friday night at the Q Centre.

The Nanaimo Timbermen were no match for the defending champs on a record-setting night in Victoria.

The Shamrocks defeated the T-men 18-6 to start the Western Lacrosse Association regular season on Friday night at the Q Centre.

Victoria’s Cory Conway set four different league records, including most points in a game with 17.

“It’s a game of momentum; we obviously got off to a quick start and capitalized on our chances…” said Conway. “We were just going about our business, swinging the ball and attacking off the swing.”

The Shamrocks took an 11-1 lead after one period, scoring on every other shot on goal, while the Timbermen were misfiring at the other end. It didn’t help that the visitors were penalized early and often. The ’Rocks scored eight power-play goals.

“I think we came out a little overexcited…” said Kaleb Toth, Timbermen coach. “We had a couple mistakes and then it just added on to another mistake and another mistake and another mistake.”

Nanaimo had problems in all phases of the game, as the goaltending wasn’t a strength, defenders got beat and forwards were missing the net with shots.

“It was the first game of the year, so we know there’s nowhere else to go but up,” Toth said. “I still think we’ve got a good young team; we’ve just got to play a little smarter.”

The Shamrocks, meanwhile, picked up where they left off. The defending Mann Cup champions unveiled their 2015 banner in a pregame ceremony Friday, then started 2016 by rewriting the record books.

Conway realized after the first period that he could be on record pace, and teammates made sure he had the ball on his stick the rest of the night.

“I’ve got to admit I was excited and the guys were, too, they were trying to find me,” he said.

With the public address announcer keeping the fans well-informed about Conway’s record-setting night, it created a buzz in the building.

“The most special part is doing it in front of your friends and family,” he said. “I had a lot of people come out and support me today and I always have in this city and it’s something I don’t take for granted and I really do appreciate it.”

He finished with two goals and 15 assists. Corey Small scored seven goals to go with four assists and Rhys Duch had three goals and nine helpers. Chris Wardle and Ian McShane had two goals apiece and Thomas Moffatt and Steve Higgs were other scorers. Cody Hagedorn was the winning goalie as shots were 49-42 in favour of the home team.

For Nanaimo, Colton Clark had a goal and three assists, Brett Hawrys had a goal and two assists and Cody Bremner, Mitch Parker, Cole Kryworuchka and Chase McIntyre also tallied.

Conway’s 17 points in one game broke a record that had stood since Jim Douglas scored 16 points in 1941. Conway’s 15 assists surpassed Brian Evans’s 12 assists in a game in 1978. Conway also set the record for points in one period (11), bettering the record of eight that had been held by Wayne Goss and Paul Gait, and assists in one period (10), previously held by Evans, with seven.

GAME ON … Next action for the Timbermen is Thursday (May 26), when they visit the New Westminster Salmonbellies. Victoria hosts the Salmonbellies on Friday at 7:45 p.m. at the Q Centre, then the Shamrocks and T-men meet Saturday (May 28) in a 7 p.m. game at Frank Crane Arena.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com