Langley Thunder defend WLA against Victoria Shamrocks

Langley Thunder begin WLA title defence against Victoria Shamrocks tonight at LEC.

It will be the league’s best defence versus the top offence as the host Langley Thunder and Victoria Shamrocks tangle in the Western Lacrosse Association final starting tonight at the Events Centre.

The two-time defending champion Thunder, anchored by Vernon netminder Brodie MacDonald, posted a stingy 7.61 goals-against average, while the high-flying Rocks racked up 11.05 goals per game.

Langley finished atop the WLA with an 11-5-2 record, two points ahead of the second-place Shamrocks (11-7). The Thunder won the regular-season series 2-1.

The Thunder returned to the final after sweeping the Coquitlam Adanacs 4-0 in their best-of seven semifinal, ending with an 11-9 win Saturday at the Coquitlam Sports Centre.

Shayne Jackson, with four goals and three assists, and Garrett Billings, with 2+3, powered the Thunder offence. Adam Jones (2), Brett Mydske, Daniel McQuade and Mike Grimes also found the net. MacDonald finished with 38 saves.

Langley never trailed in Game 4, leading 4-2 after one period and 8-5 after 40 minutes.

The Shamrocks earned their first finals appearance since 2010 by sweeping the Burnaby Lakers. Victoria outlasted Burnaby 10-7 in Sunday’s Game 4, with four-point nights coming from Corey Small (3+1), Rhys Duch (2+2), Brody Eastwood (1+4) and Jeff Shattler (4A).

They outscored Burnaby 51-29 in the series.

The Irish are led offensively by Cory Conway (20-67-87 in 18 games) and Small (42-44-86 in 18 games), who ranked second and third, respectively, in regular-season scoring.

“They have a lot of firepower; they really loaded up to make a run,” Langley coach Rod Jensen told Black Press. “If we are disciplined, we should be good… (because) a team like that will really make you pay.”