Shamrocks Punch Ticket to Minto Final

by Janice Huckin

The Victoria Jr. ‘A’ Shamrocks and the Okotoks Raiders took to the floor at the Langley Events Center Monday to determine who would advance to the Minto Cup final series against the Orangeville Northman.  It was the Shamrocks coming away with a 12-8 overtime win.  Okotoks held period leads of 3-2 and 7-6 before opening up an 8-6 lead in period 3 before Victoria scored the final 2 goals of that period and added 4 more in a ten-minute extra frame to secure their final berth.

Starting goaltenders were Cam Dunkerley for the Rocks and Jack Bruzell Frieze for the Raiders.  Okotoks opened the scoring at 4:47 into the opening frame, Jake Gillis scoring on a low bouncer from outside the dotted line.  Jackson Boyd got that one back for the Rocks at 5:42 with an overhand shot from the dotted line and a Victoria power play goal at 6:33 from Zach Manns a shot that found twine just inside the post gave them the lead.  It was short-lived, however, as Zach Mantei drew the Raiders even getting in close at 8:49 and before the period ended, Gillis picked up his second of the game, a hard, low shot from outside the dotted line eluding Dunkerley to make it 3-2 after 20 minutes, that goal coming at 15:24.  That was all the scoring in the opening frame, shots on goal favouring the Shamrocks by a 15-13 margin.

Victoria evened the score in the middle period when Zach Manns tallied at 3:44 with a quick stick from the side of the crease and Rocks captain Brian Robb gave his team the lead on a run off transition, finding twine at 4:06.  Neither team was able to extend a lead and once again the Raiders answered back, Ethan Landymore picking up a power play goal in close at 6:12.  The lead switched back to Okotoks when Levi Anderson scored at 8:27 but Victoria got a power play goal of their own, Teioshontathe McComber scoring on a low sidearm shot from outside the dotted line at 12:36.  Patrick Dodds restored a Victoria lead, finding the top corner in close at 17:43 but before the period ended, the Raiders managed two more to take a 1-goal lead into the dressing room after 40 minutes.  Those goals came from Kean Moon and Myles Hamm, the latter with just 28 ticks left on the clock.  Shots on goal once again favoured Victoria 20-15 but they were down a goal on the scoreboard.

Okotoks took the first 2-goal lead of the game in period 3, Anderson getting his second of the contest at 4:02 from outside the dotted line but Victoria took matters into their own hands after that.  Dodds picked up his second goal of the game with a one-handed shot in close at 5:20 and Austin Madronic got the score knotted at 8 at the 7:30 mark from inside the dotted line.  The teams played scoreless lacrosse for the remainder of period 3, both goaltenders outstanding and after 60 minutes nothing was resolved so the game would go to a full 10-minute extra period.

That period belonged to the Shamrocks.  Madronic collected his second goal of the game with a bullet from the dotted line at the 7:14 mark.  Ben Preston made it 10-8 for the Rocks with a quick stick from the side at 7:44 and that was all the Shamrocks would need but, with Okotoks pulling the goaltender for the extra attacker, Liam Phillips and Robb with his second made sure there would be no comeback and provided the extra insurance.

Austin Madronic had a 5-point night with 2 goals and 3 helpers while Zach Manns and Patrick Dodds each had 2 goals and 2 assists.  Brian Robb had a pair of goals with singles coming from Teioshontathe McComber, Ben Preston, Liam Phillips and Jackson Boyd.  Brayden Brown chipped in 4 helpers and Cam Dunkerley made 41 saves to pick up the win.  Kyle Pepper was masterful in the faceoff circle allowing Victoria to gain possession on multiple occasions.

So the next step is a best-of-five match-up against the Orangeville Northmen beginning Wednesday, Tuesday being an off-day.  Orangeville went undefeated in the round-robin and handed the Shamrocks their first loss of the tournament on day 1 but the Rocks have gotten better as the tournament progressed and will be looking to win their first Minto Cup since 1988.