MINTO PREVIEW: Victoria Shamrocks

by Owen Munro

shamrocks poised for cinderella run?

Previous Minto Cup Appearances: 13
Last Appearance: 2008
Championships: 3 (1962, 1976 and 1988)
Overall Record (Regular season and playoffs): 18-12

Eleven years after their last appearance, the Victoria Shamrocks are back competing for the Minto Cup.

The Victoria franchise has won three national championships but are in search of their first junior A title in more than three decades, last capturing the Minto Cup in 1988. The Shamrocks last Minto Cup appearance saw them fall to the Orangeville Northmen in the championship game. And since that season, Victoria has been a constant in the BC Junior A Lacrosse League post-season, making the playoff field every season except for one (2016).

The 2019 regular season saw Victoria finish in second place in the BCJALL, winning a three-way tiebreaker over New Westminster and Nanaimo after posting identical 14-7-0 records. 

The Shamrocks were then taken to the wire in their opening round series, using home-floor to their advantage as they won the decisive seventh game over the Salmonbellies 9-8 to claim the BCJALL’s second berth to the Minto Cup.

In the league final, Victoria dropped the championship series 2-0 to Coquitlam.

During the regular season, Victoria boasted the league’s most prolific offence with 11.7 goals per game as they scored 245 times. A large part of that success boils down to the fact the team had three players with 35 or more goals, led by Ben Preston’s 40.

Preston also had 81 points while Patrick Dodds had 36 goals and 78 points.

Zach Manns led all Shamrocks in scoring thanks to 105 points, which was just one back of the BCJALL lead. He was tops among all players when it came to assists, finishing with 67 helpers.

Caleb Kueber was a huge part of the team’s transition success, with 11 goals and 39 points, while Denton MacDonald, Max Wilson and Owen Russell have been stalwarts on the defensive end.

But a major reason for the team’s success comes down to goaltender Cameron Dunkley.

Dunkley was the team’s workhorse, playing the majority of the minutes in the Shamrocks net while posting a league-best dozen victories. He finished with an 8.77 goals against average and an .813 save percentage en route to winning the Henry “Del” Delmonico Trophy as the league’s most valuable player.

The award was one of two presented by the league to the Shamrocks as Ron Hampton, Rod Wood, Lorne McInerney and Wade Murray won the Harry Ferguson Memorial Award  for the executive of the year.

The Shamrocks special teams saw their power play connect at 41 per cent (fourth overall) while their penalty kill was good on a league-best 65 per cent of their short-handed opportunities.