Jesse King finds the back of the net against the Burnaby Lakers, for one of his five goals, at the Shamrocks’ home opener at The Q Centre. (Lindsey Horsting/News Gazette staff)

Shamrocks beat Lakers 13-11 in WLA opener

King and Jackson make powerful duo in Victoria win

It was standing room only at The Q Centre as the host Victoria Shamrocks beat the Burnaby Lakers 13-11 in their Western Lacrosse Association season opener Friday night.

Many families and people donning green attended the pre-game tailgate outside of the arena before filtering inside.

Jesse King and Casey Jackson were instrumental in Victoria’s win, scoring five goals apiece. It was a strong performance by both players in their first time playing together.

“I think we just play really well together,” Jackson said. “It was our first time playing together, so trying to get the jitters out I think.”

King said he was happy to be back playing at The Q Centre and he was feeling the adrenaline.

“It’s one of the greatest feelings, playing back home, in Victoria, and playing in the arena that I played in for the majority of my life, with my mom and my dad in the stands and stuff it’s really exciting and I’m just happy we got the W tonight,” he said.

In the first period, Josh Fagan got Victoria on the scoreboard, but the Lakers held the lead 2-1. The Lakers scored their second goal short-handed, and seemed a step ahead of the Shamrocks the whole period.

In the first, the Shamrocks had 24 shots on goal, getting opportunities, but struggled to finish. The Lakers made great defensive stops in the first, and King gave credit to the Lakers’ goalie, Eric Penney, for his performance in the period.

The second period saw a different Shamrocks team on the floor, putting away six goals, four within the first six minutes. Shamrocks’ Tyson Gibson scored one, Jackson had a pair and King had three in the second, all in that order, to give the ‘Rocks a 7-4 lead going into the break.

King said once they were able to find the back of the net it took the pressure off the Shamrocks defence so they were able to relax a bit and play their game. The Shamrocks were getting after loose balls and owned the momentum going into the third.

The final period was exciting, goal-for-goal action, with King scoring two, Jackson with three and Chris Wardle scoring a goal for Victoria.

The final tally of shots on goal for Victoria was 69, compared to Burnaby’s 37.

Bob Heyes, head coach of the Shamrocks, was surprised at the number of shots taken, but was happy his team was able to get those shots.

“The work we did in the offseason created a lot of shots, we just need to work on our accuracy,” Heyes said. “I thought we played well.”

Heyes said the team only had one practice with all players before the game, and with a lot of younger players in the lineup, this game gave them a good taste of what the Western Lacrosse Association is all about.

The three starts of the game were King, Jackson and Rhys Duch. In addition to their five goals, King had one assist, Jackson had three assist and Duch chipped in with nine helpers.

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