Shamrocks Advance to Finals, Minto Cup

by Janice Huckin

It was everything fans would hope a game 7 would be and it was the Jr. ‘A’ Shamrocks coming away with a 9-8 victory over the visiting New Westminster Salmonbellies Wednesday at the Q Center.  Every game was hard-fought and the result was in doubt right until the final seconds as Victoria held period leads of 2-1 and 6-5 but had to hold off a late rally by the visitors to retain the win.

Starting goaltenders, as in every game in the series, were Cameron Dunkerley for the Shamrocks and Kyle Hebert for the ‘Bellies.  It was the visitors getting on the scoreboard first, Will Malcolm scoring unassisted at 12:10.  Victoria replied at 13:26 when Ben Preston found twine on a bullet from the dotted line.  Before the period ended, Teioshontathe McComber gave the Rocks the lead with a hard shot that eluded Hebert at 18:56.  Shots on goal were 17-13 in favour of the home team and they had the slim lead on the scoreboard.

Just 1:26 into the middle frame, Kieran McKay pulled the ‘Bellies even getting in close but Victoria responded with a 3-goal run starting with Brayden Brown’s goal at 6:28 from the dotted line.  Patrick Dodds added another at 7:15 from right in front and Denton Macdonald made it 5-3 Shamrocks at 9:13 getting in close.  Both teams have scored in bunches and now it was New West’s turn as they scored 3 straight to get the score knotted at 5.  Gabe Proczyk struck first at the 10-minute mark and that was followed up by Malcolm’s second of the game at 10:47 from the dotted line.  Making it 3 goals in 1:11, Jacob Patterson went to the net to beat Dunkerley.  Before the period ended, however, Victoria would regain the lead, Dodds picking up his second at 13:34 and that was how the period ended.  The home team held the tenuous 1-goal lead and were outshot 16-14 in the period.

The third period was not for the faint of heart as the Shamrocks made it 7-5 at 3:04 when Zach Manns scored from the dotted line but New Westminster came back with a pair to tie the score again.  Patterson picked up his second of the game at 3:52 and Proczyk collected his second at 9:04, that goal coming shorthanded.  The Rocks regained the lead on Preston’s second of the game at 11:02 with a hard shot from the dotted line and Jackson Boyd scored what proved to be the winner with a shot from outside the dotted line at 13:56.  New Westminster continued to press and were rewarded at 16:52 with Hebert on the bench for the extra attacker, getting in close.  They were unable to improve their situation further despite great aggression in the offensive zone and found themselves on the losing end of the 9-8 score.

Patrick Dodds and Ben Preston each scored a pair of goals while Teioshontathe McComber had a 5-point night on a goal and 4 assists.  Brayden Brown had a goal and 3 assists, Jackson Boyd a goal and 2 assists with other goals coming from Denton Macdonald and Zach Manns.  Austin Madronic chipped in 3 helpers and Cameron Dunkerley made 37 saves to pick up the win.

The league final series will commence likely next weekend in Coquitlam with game 2 probably Sunday at the Q Center.  As noted, both teams will advance to the Minto Cup being held in Langley from August 15-26.  This is historic for the Shamrocks who will play in a Minto Cup for the first time since 2008 when they finished second.  Further information on both the league final and Minto Cup will be forthcoming as it becomes available.