Jr. ‘Rocks draw Adanacs for round two

Junior-A Shamrocks finding playoff chemistry

Junior Shamrock Ben Stebbins checks Nanaimo's Paul Brebber during the Shamrocks 14-8 win in Nanaimo on Thursday. The win clinched the best-of-three series for Victoria in two-straight games.

Junior-A Shamrocks finding playoff chemistry

This year’s junior Victoria Shamrocks team was supposed to be a work-in-progress, a proving ground for a championship run in 2012, if not 2013.

But the way the Jr. ’Rocks swept the Nanaimo Timbermen in two games last week has some wondering whether this team might be ready to do some damage in this season’s playoffs.

On Saturday the Shamrocks host the top dog Coquitlam Adanacs in round two of the B.C. Junior Lacrosse League playoffs, 5 p.m. at Bear Mountain Arena.

“We love the chance to play Coquitlam. The pressure is on them and it’s exactly the spot for us to be in,” said coach Jordan Sundher.

The best-of-five series continues July 24 and 30 in Coquitlam and returns to Colwood, 5 p.m. on July 31, if necessary.The Shamrocks eliminated the Nanaimo Timbermen in the first round.

The Jr. ’Rocks ended a quick and tidy first-round sweep over Nanaimo with a 14-8 win on the road Thursday to win the best-of-three series. Even popping Nanaimo in the first round for the second year in a row isn’t a surprise. It’s the efficiency with which the Shamrocks won that was unexpected.

“For whatever reason we weren’t jelling that well in the first three quarters of the year,” Sundher said.

“With so many rookies on the team, 15 of them – and 12 of them first year (1992-born) juniors – the team has (finally) come together.”

The Shamrocks’ awakening is one that has Sundher, an ex-junior and senior Shamrock himself, excited but wondering if he could have done something different earlier in the season to get his team playing the way it is now.

“We’ve got a mixed scoring punch, five or six guys who can put it in the net, which is much different than last year when (current Adanacs’ player) Casey Jackson was the go-to-guy on offence.”

As long as the Shamrocks’ rookies are learning to play at the junior-A level the team’s future is bright. Their core of first-year players was part of the provincial intermediate-A championship last year and features transition stars-in-the-making Jesse King and Kurtis Green, and the teams’ top attacker Brody Eastwood.

“It’s just figuring out chemistry,” Sundher said.

 

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