Rocks Hand Langley First Loss

by Janice Huckin

The Langley Thunder came into the Q Center to face the Jr. ‘A’ Shamrocks sporting a league-leading 4-0 record but the Rocks broke the streak with a strongly-played 13-8 win.

It was Cam Dunkerley getting the nod between the pipes for the Shamrocks while Braeden Washington suited up at the other end of the floor.  Langley scored first, Kyle Nichols with a spin-around shot from right in front at 3:08.  Victoria replied with a 3-goal run, the first coming off the stick of Denton Macdonald at 7:45, a shorthanded marker.  Macdonald picked up his second at 9:17 from outside the dotted line and Brayden Brown, in his first game of the season tallied at 10:42, cutting across in front.  Langley managed a 3-goal run of its own before the period expired.  Drew Kask scored at 12:15 off a rebound in front which was followed by Nathaniel Kozevnikove at 14:36 and Ryan Martel at 16:07 to give the visitors a 4-3 lead heading into the dressing rooms after 20 minutes.  Shots on goal were pretty even with the home team holding a slight 16-14 advantage.

Victoria dominated the middle frame, outscoring the visitors 7-3 in the period.  Things got started early with Ben Preston scoring just 34 seconds in, cutting to the net.  Zach Manns regained the lead for the Rocks just 15 seconds later with a shot from outside the dotted line.  Rookie Kyle Pepper made it 6-4 for the boys in green at 1:18 with a breakaway off a loose ball and a power play goal off the stick of Brown, his second of the game extended the lead to 3 at 2:44.  Langley collected a power play goal of its own, Kozevnikov’s second of the contest at 5:25 but Preston replied with his second of the game at 7:27 to restore the 3 goal lead, going to the net.  Connor Watson cut the lead once again, scoring for Langley at 10:32.  A 5-minute major penalty to Langley allowed the Shamrocks to score a pair of power play markers, the first coming at 15:08, Brown’s hat trick goal from outside the dotted line and then another at 18:51 from Patrick Dodds with a quick stick in front.  Langley got one back before the period ended, Kozevnikov picking up his hat trick at 19:20.  That made it 10-7 after 2 periods with the Shamrocks outshooting the Thunder 20-8 in the frame.

Langley scored first in period 3, Nathan McKeigan cutting across to beat Dunkerley at 8:58 but it was all Shamrocks after that with 3 goals coming within the last 5 minutes of the game.  Casey Wilson scored at 15:08 from outside the dotted line.  Brown collected his fourth of the game at 15:37 with a backhander in close and Manns picked up his second at 19:06, an empty-netter as Washington had been pulled and was unable to get back in time to make a save.

Brayden Brown led the victors with 4 goals and 2 assists in his season debut.  Zach Manns continued his strong season with 6 points on 2 goals and 4 helpers while Casey Wilson contributed a goal and 4 assists.  Ben Preston and Denton Macdonald each chipped in 2 goals and 2 assists.  Other goals came from Patrick Dodds and Kyle Pepper with 3 and 2 assists respectively.  Cam Dunkerley made 31 saves to pick up the win.

The Junior ‘A’ Rocks have the luxury of a second home game this weekend as they will host the Delta Islanders Sunday in  5:00 Mother’s Day game.  The Islanders are coming off a 7-6 Saturday loss to the Port Coquitlam Saints Saturday. The Shamrocks are locked in a logjam with 3 other teams, all with 4 points, behind the Thunder.