Salmonbellies Make it Interesting for Rocks

by Janice Huckin

The Jr. ‘A’ Shamrocks were looking to begin a new winning streak Saturday at the Q Center as they hosted the New Westminster Salmonbellies.  While they accomplished the victory it was very close at the end with an empty netter giving the Rocks an 11-9 win.  Victoria had period leads of 7-1 and 10-3 before New West erupted for 6 straight goals to open the final period prior to the empty net goal.

Cameron Dunkerley took his spot between the pipes for the Shamrocks while Brayden Bell started for the ‘Bellies.  Victoria scored 7 unanswered to open the period and it started with Patrick Dodds’ goal just 1:42 in with a shot from outside the dotted line late in the 30-second window.  Jackson Boyd made it 2-0 at4:10 with a quick stick from the side and at 4:51 league scoring leader Zach Manns made it 3-0 from outside the dotted line.  Brayden Brown extended Victoria’s lead at 6:10 from just inside the dotted line, followed by Ben Preston who scored twice, the first at 9:50 going to the net and the second at 13:31, threading the needle from outside the dotted line, that goal coming with the man advantage.  Manns picked up his second at 19:03 but New Westminster managed to break Dunkerley’s shutout just 6 seconds later when Nick Hannay scored from just inside the dotted line.  Shots on goal were 26-11 in Victoria’s favour after 20 minutes.

New West made a goaltending change to begin period 2, Keegan Melenychuk replacing Bell.  That didn’t deter the home team as the Rocks scored the first 2 goals of the middle frame, Dodds getting his second at 2:49 going to the net and Brown collecting his second on the power play at 5:04 with a quick stick in close.  The visitors picked up a pair, both off the stick of team captain Erik Maas, the first at 5:36 unassisted and the second on the power play at 13:02.  Victoria rounded out the scoring as Dodds got his hat trick marker at 15:16 with a hard shot from outside the dotted line.  Shots on goal were 19-15 for the Shamrocks in the period.

The visitors made a game of it in the third.  It was as if a switch was turned and they rattled off 6 straight goals to get within 1 before the Rocks would again solve Melenychuk.  First it was Maas with his hat trick goal at 1:10, a shorthanded marker.  That was followed by Hannay who scored two in a row, the first on the power play at 9:45 and the second at 10:21.  Another power play goal from the ‘Bellies’ Cam Garlin at 11:24 got the visitors within 3 and they pulled within a goal as Tre Leclaire tallied at 15:02 and Garlin picked up his second at 19:40.  Were we going to have overtime?  Well, the Salmonbellies pulled the goaltender to press for the equalizer but Victoria’s Zach Manns, with a defender draped all over him, scored his hat trick goal at 19:52 to ensure the victory for the home team.

Leading the way for Victoria offensively were Zach Manns and Patrick Dodds each with the hat trick and 2 and 1 assist respectively.  Manns continues to lead the league in points with Langley’s Ryan Martel closing in, 2 points behind.  Ben Preston added a pair of goals and 2 helpers while Brayden Brown also had 2 goals.  Jackson Boyd had the other Shamrocks goal while Caleb Kueber had a 5-point night, all assists.  Cameron Dunkerley made 35 saves to pick up the win in goal.

The Jr. ‘A’ Shamrocks are on the road to take on the Burnaby Lakers and will play several road games before they return to the Q Center, the next home date being Saturday, June 22 when they will host the Delta Islanders in a special day as the Rocks honour alumni with a tailgate party and other events.  Game time on June 22 is 5:00 pm.