Rocks Take Stranglehold

by Janice Huckin

The Jr. ‘A’ Shamrocks never trailed in game 5 of their semi-final series Saturday at the Save-On Foods Memorial Center Friday.  They held period leads of 2-1 and 7-3 before outscoring the visiting New Westminster Salmonbellies 3-1 over the final 20 minutes to take a 10-4 decision and a 3-2 series lead with game 6 scheduled for Queen’s Park Arena Sunday.

Cameron Dunkerley got the start in goal for Victoria while Kyle Hebert was his counterpart for the ‘Bellies and it was the Shamrocks getting on the scoreboard first, Jackson Boyd scoring from outside the dotted line just 19 seconds into the opening period.  New Westminster replied with a power play goal at 5:10, Ty Yanko getting in close.  Victoria regained the lead with a power play goal of their own, Ben Preston with a bullet from the dotted line at the 17:58 mark.  They took that lead to the dressing room despite being outshot 15-13 in the period.

The home team definitely had the momentum early in period 2, rattling off 3 straight goals.  First, Casey Wilson found twine at 4:57 from the dotted line.  That was followed by Patrick Dodds’ goal at 6:34, getting in close.  Victoria opened up a 4-ghoal lead with Teioshontathe McComber’s goal at 6:54 from the dotted line, a shot that LeClair got a piece of but couldn’t quite hold on.  New Westminster got a pair of power play goals to pull closer, penalties definitely hurting Victoria.  At 10:56 Tre Leclair made it 5-2 getting in close and at 13:36 Will Malcolm closed the gap to a pair from the dotted line.  Victoria would get a couple more before the period ended, both off the stick of Brian Robb as he tallied at 14:10 with a hard shot from the dotted line and followed that up with a shorthanded goal at 15:10 on a break off a loose ball.  That made it 7-3 Rocks and the ‘Bellies made a goaltending change, inserting Keegan Melenychuk. That was the score heading into the dressing room after 40 minutes, despite the Shamrocks being outshot once again by a margin of 18-13.

Victoria kept the run going with the first 2 goals of the final frame, Boyd picking up his second of the game at the 41-second mark from inside the dotted line.  Denton Macdonald extended the lead to 6 goals at 1:21 on a break.  Melenychuk was removed from the Salmonbellies net once again for Hebert and the ‘Bellies got a goal from the stick of Jacob Patterson at 14:30, the only New West goal at even strength but Liam Phillips replied at 15:54, beating the goaltender back to the net.  Shots on goal were 17-14 for the visitors making it 50-40 overall but they saw the short end of the 10-4 final score.

Leading the way for the Shamrocks offensively was Zach Manns with 5 assists.  Both Teioshontathe McComber and Casey Wilson had a goal and 3 helpers while Brian Robb and Jackson Boyd chipped in a pair of goals each.  Other goals came from Patrick Dodds, Ben Preston, Denton Macdonald and Liam Phillips.  Cam Dunkerley made 42 saves on 46 shots while getting some relief from Brody Harris late in the game as he stopped all 4 shots he faced.

Game 6 goes Sunday at Queen’s Park Arena at 4:00 pm.  A win will propel the Shamrocks into the league final against the Coquitlam Adanacs who took the Nanaimo Timbermen 4 games to 2 in the other semi-final.