When you look at all that Shawn Evans has done in the game of lacrosse, it’s hard to imagine he might just be entering his prime.
Only 26 years old, he’s in his eighth season in the NLL and has been a dominant force since he started off in the league as a fresh faced 18-year-old.
In Rochester, he shared the spotlight with the likes of John Grant Jr., Shawn Williams, and his brother Scott Evans. The team was successful but the individual accolades rarely followed. In fact, his only appearance in the NLL All-Pro team came last year as a member of the Roughnecks.
It doesn’t matter to Evans though, he’s all about championship titles, and has found plenty of it so far in his lacrosse career. He’s won the NLL Champions Cup (2007), the Minto Cup for junior lacrosse (2006) and the Mann Cup for senior lacrosse (2004, 2006, 2010, 2012).
“I like to win championships,” he stated simply. “I’m not really big on individual goals. I’ve won the Minto, Mann, NLL Championships and want to keep that going.
“You get remembered on championships and not individual awards. The biggest thing is to keep winning championships from a team perspective.”
It’s what drives the pugnacious pitbull on the offensive side. Standing only 5-foot-8 and weighing only 175 pounds, his attitude leaves an impression on every game.
At the 2011 NLL Entry Draft, Roughnecks general manager Mike Board swung a deal for Evans, sending Rochester the fifth pick (Johnny Powless) for Evans and a 2012 first round pick, which turned out to be Joe Resetarits.
During last year’s training camp, Board expected Evans to lead the team in points, and that’s exactly what he did, tying his career-high with 79 points.
“I find that we move the ball quick, we move the ball well,” Evans said when comparing Rochester to Calgary. “Good things were happening last year, and I want to carry it on to this year.”
In the off-season, Evans suited up for the Peterborough Lakers of the Major Series Lacrosse, and was the top scorer during the regular season and playoffs on a team that featured Grant Jr., former Roughnecks captain Tracey Kelusky, Shawn’s brother Scott Evans, and NLL all-time leading scorer John Tavares. The Lakers downed the Langley Thunder in six games to win the Mann Cup, the fourth of Evans’s career.
“I worked a lot in the offseason to get my body into better shape so it feels better than in past years when I was slower starting and finished stronger,” Evans said. “I want to be on my game early. After last year getting knocked out in the first round, we want to be ready and we want to get going this year.”
And he has been on his game early.
Evans was singled out by his head coach Curt Malawsky as one of the few Roughnecks playing well after the first two games of the season. During the opening two losses, he’s still managed to put up 12 points.
Finaly, the offense got on the same page during last week’s road trip, and Evans was glue in the middle.
Against Colorado on Friday night, he scored at a never before seen pace, notching 10 points before halftime and broke the Roughnecks franchise record with 13 points by the end of the game. The previous record was 11 points held by Dane Dobbie, Lewis Ratcliff and John Kilbride.
“When we were down 4-0 so we knew we had to do something,” Evans said. “When the first couple shots went in, things were going good for us. Probably our next eight shots hit the back of the net so when that happens, it’s always easy.”
He followed that performance up with a six-point night against the Philadelphia Wings, which was enough to garner NLL Player of the Week honours.
Through four games of 2013, he’s racked up 31 points, which puts him on pace to smash his career high as well as break the NLL record of 116 set last year by Lakers teammate Grant Jr.
“I just feel like a got a jump in my step,” Evans said. “I feel healthy, my body feels great.”