Shamrocks Take Series Lead
The Jr. ‘A’ Shamrocks took to the floor at the Q Center Saturday and took a 2 games to 1 lead in their semi-final series against the New Westminster Salmonbellies with a 15-14 victory. The Rocks led 6-5 and 14-9 by period before the visitors scored 5 straight goals in the final 20 minutes. That led to defender Brian Robb scoring the winning goal with just 27 seconds on the clock to give the home team the win.
Cameron Dunkerley got the start in goal for the Rocks with Kyle Hebert his counterpart at the other end of the floor. Victoria opened the scoring with a power play goal just 2:21 into the opening period, Ben Preston scoring from outside the dotted line. At 4:45 New West got that one back, Tre Leclaire getting in close and scoring with a 2-man advantage. The lead went back to Victoria at 5:32, Casey Wilson finding twine on a breakaway with the teams playing 4-on-4 but once again the ‘Bellies replied, Jacob Patterson scoring at 6:24, getting in close. Victoria’s second power play, courtesy of Austin Madronic at 7:57 regained the lead as Hebert made the save but had the ball trickle across the line. The visitors answered back once again at 10:28, Will Malcolm tallying on the power play as penalties took a toll on both teams early. This time the visitors were able to keep things rolling as they notched a pair, Malcolm getting his second of the contest at 13:18 from the dotted line and Erik Maas connecting at 15:16, also from well out, giving New West a 5-3 lead. The Rocks’ power play struck again to get within a goal at 17:27, Madronic getting his second on a bullet from outside the dotted line. The home team drew even with Jackson Boyd’s goal at 18:09, late in the 30 second clock from outside the dotted line and before the period ended, Victoria was able to regain the lead. It was Patrick Dodds, cutting across in front, scoring at 18:27 to give the Shamrocks a 6-5 lead after 20 minutes as goals came in bunches. Shots on goal favoured Victoria 18-11.
Period 2 saw 12 more goals scored, not a goaltenders battle today for sure. Victoria scored the first two goals to open up a 3-goal lead. Liam Phillips scored unassisted just 35 seconds in, on a run off a loose ball. Dodds picked up his secondo of the game at 3:38, getting in close. New West closed the gap to a pair of goals at 5:23, Nick Hannay finding twine on a shot that Dunkerley got a piece of but couldn’t quite corral. At 6:01, Teioshontathe Mccomber found the back of the net from outside the dotted line. This prompted a goaltender change for the visitors as Keegan Melenychuk took over from Hebert. The ‘Bellies responded with a goal off the stick of Ben Stewart at 9:18, getting in close but Victoria went on a 4-goal run to open up a 6-goal lead. First it was Caleb Kueber scoring at 10:05 off a rebound on a fast break. Zach Manns followed up at 11:09 with a shot from outside the dotted line and Boyd made it 12-7 with his second of the game at 12:18 with a quick stick in close. Although there were fewer penalties in the middle frame, special teams did manage to play a role. Mccomber got his second of the game at 14:29, a shorthanded tally scored backhanded late in the 30-second clock. The visitors did manage a power play marker at 16:30, in close and closed the gap to 4 goals with Jake Stott’s goal at 18:07. Before the period ended, Brian Robb connected at 18:17, off a faceoff to make the score 14-9 Victoria after 40 minutes with shots on goal once again favouring the Rocks 21-15.
If anyone thought Victoria had the game in hand going into the final period, the Salmonbellies did not as they came out strong and scored 5 straight goals to tie the score. They also started the period with Hebert back between the pipes. First it was Maas getting his second of the game, on the power play, at 3:45 in close. At 4:42, Leclaire picked up his second and what would be the first of 3 in a row, getting in close. At 9:45 he added a shorthanded marker and at 13:59, he closed the gap to a single goal with a hard, low shot from well out. Malcolm got the score knotted at 14 at 14:41 and it very much looked like we might be facing overtime. With time running down, Robb got the winner for the Shamrocks at 19:33, a shot that Hebert stopped, only to have the rebound bounce in off someone in front. New Westminster held the edge in shots in period 3 by a margin of 18-14 but it was the Shamrocks picking up the win as the series moves back to Queen’s Park Arena for game 4 Sunday.
Teioshontathe Mccomber continues to shine since his arrival and he led Victoria’s offense with a pair of goals and 4 helpers. Zach Manns had a 5-point night with a goal and 4 assists but Brian Robb, known more for his defense was instrumental in the win with 2 goals, including the all-important winner. He also had 2 assists as Patrick Dodds and Austin Madronic each also had a pair of goals and 2 helpers. Jackson Boyd had 2 goals while other goals came from Ben Preston, Caleb Kueber, Ben Preston and Casey Wilson. Cam Dunkerley stopped 30 of the 44 shots he faced to preserve the win.
Game 4 of the series takes place Sunday at 4:00 pm with a certain game 5 scheduled for next Saturday, July 27 at 4:00 at Save-On Foods Memorial Center – note the change of venue.
In the other league semi-final series the Coquitlam Adanacs defeated the Nanaimo Timbermen in game 3 of that series, 10-9 to take a 2-1 series lead with game 4 also taking place in Nanaimo at 2:00 pm Sunday.