Scott Ranger scores twice to help Victoria win WLA title.
The Victoria Shamrocks were not shy about their intentions before the 2013 season even started: They were gearing up for a run at the Mann Cup. And now, they get their chance. The Shamrocks put on a defensive clinic against a stacked Langley Thunder lineup and came away with an 8-3 win last night (box score), clinching the Western Lacrosse Association championship in 6 games. The back-end effort was a continuation of what they’ve been able to do in this series, and that is to put the clamps on an offense in Langley had featured the likes of Mark Matthews, Adam Jones, Garrett Billings and Athan Iannucci. Last night marked the second time in 3 games that the Thunder were held to 3 goals, and now the Shamrocks will test their defensive fortitude against a Six Nations team that has no shortage of snipers.
Six Nations is back at the Mann Cup for the first time since 1996, while the ‘Rocks are making their first appearance since 2006. Both are here because of the balance they’ve struck between offense and defense but make no mistake about it, the stingy defense is the biggest reason.
Last night in Victoria, goalie Matt Vinc made 34 saves on 37 shots and held the mighty Thunder to a single goal in each period. As a result, the Thunder miss their chance to appear in a third straight Mann tournament, while the Shamrocks are looking to win their first title since 2005 and ninth overall.
Victoria pulled away from a 1-1 tie at the end of the first period with a 5-0 run to open the second. Five different players scored for the Shamrocks in the second and of the 8 goals they scored last night, 7 were scored by different players. Only captain Scott Ranger had more than 1 (he scored 2).
The series opens Friday, Sept. 6 in Victoria. The schedule:
1. Friday, September 6
2. Saturday, September 7
3. Monday, September 9
4. Tuesday, September 10
5. *Wednesday., September 11
6. *Friday, September 13
7. *Saturday, September 14
*– if necessary