By Janice Huckin
Victoria (ISN) – The Shamrocks improved their record to 3-0 with a 15-10 victory Friday at Bear Mountain Arena against the visiting Nanaimo Timbermen. It sounds closer than it really was as the visitors scored the last 4 goals of the game when the result was pretty much not in question.
Starting goaltenders were the two Matts – Flindell for the Shamrocks and King for the Timbermen and it was Nanaimo hitting pay dirt first as Cayle Ratcliff got in close and scored on the first shot of the game at the 12-second mark.
Not to worry – the Rocks came right back, Corey Small making good on a bouncer through traffic at 47 seconds. The home team took the lead with a power play goal at 3:09, that one also off the stick of Small. It looked like it was going to be one of those classic back-and-forth battles between these two island rivals when Scott Ranger netted a shorthander at 9:14 to tie things up. The Rocks weren’t having any of that, however, as they went on a run, scoring 5 of the next 6 goals including 4 straight starting with Dan MacRae’s unassisted tally at 11:47. MacRae picked up his second at 15:51 on a hard overhand shot from the slot.
That had the Timbermen making the first of several goaltending changes, King coming out in favour of Zack Boychuk. Less than a minute later, he surrendered his first when Curt Morwick grabbed a pass in front and put the ball in the back of the net. At 17:22 Ryan Benesch went to the net and it was 6-2 Victoria. King returned to the Nanaimo crease. A power play goal for Ranger at 18:53 drew the visitors within 3 but Kyle Morwick restored the 4-goal Shamrock lead at 19:29. Shots on goal favoured the Shamrocks by a 21-12 margin and they were full value for the 7-3 lead after 20 minutes.
The Shamrocks again had the edge in period two, outscoring the visitors by a 5-2 margin, getting started early when Mike Teeter connected at 2:26 on a hard shot from quite a ways out. Nanaimo replied at 2:55 – again Ranger doing the damage getting in alone off a long pass. At 10:52 Benesch picked up his second for the Shamrocks, going over top off a rebound. At 15:23, after a successful Shamrock penalty kill, Small picked up his 3rd of the contest with a bullet.
Ranger’s fourth goal came at 16:01 – a goal that wasn’t signaled by the goal judge but ruled ‘in’ after a referees’ discussion. The Rocks came straight back at 16:12, Small picking up his fourth goal. Exit King and re-enter Boychuk as the Nanaimo goalie. At 18:12, Teeter picked up his second, tucking the ball in from the side of the crease. Nanaimo held a slight edge in shots on goal, 15-13 but it was still Victoria leading where it counted, 12-5 on the scoreboard.
Kory Kowalyk increased the lead just 10 seconds into the final frame. Ranger picked up another goal for the visitors before a shorthanded marker by Matt Yager at 4:22 and Justin Veuger’s first ever WLA goal at 6:01 had the Shamrocks up 15-6. That came as Veuger broke from the penalty box and gathered in a long lead pass from Koneczny. Unfortunately, Nanaimo took exception to that and Veuger went back to the sin bin, along with Bobby Debrone after the ensuing fisticuffs. Give the decision unanimously to Veuger on that one. Play continued to deteriorate and Victoria took a few rather undisciplined penalties that allowed the T’Men back into the game. Ranger scored on a power play and on a very rare penalty shot with Cory Conway and Pat Smith picking up the others. Nanaimo outshot Victoria 22-11 in the period.
A lot of Victoria players factored into the scoring with Corey Small leading the way with 4 goals and 4 helpers, again picking up first star honours. Ryan Benesch, Dan MacRae and Michael Teeter each picked up a pair of goals and added 3, 2 and 1 assist respectively, earning Benesch the second star designation. Curt Morwick, Kyle Morwick, Justin Veuger, Matt Yager and Kory Kowalyk each scored singles with Kowalyk kicking in 3 assists. Chet Koneczny picked up 3 assists and Mike Pires added 5 helpers. Matt Flindell had another really good game between the pipes kicking out 39 of the 49 shots he faced.
For the visiting Timbermen – maybe we should say Timberman – it was Scott Ranger with 7 goals and 1 assist to be named the game’s third star. Cory Conway kicked in a goal and 4 assists with singles coming from Cayle Ratcliff and Pat Smith. Cody Bremner had 3 assists.
As mentioned, the victory has the Shamrocks at 3-0 atop the WLA standings. New Westminster and Burnaby also have 6 points but have played 4 games. Nanaimo falls to 2-3 on the season. The Rocks are in Maple Ridge Sunday against the Burrards and return to Bear Mountain Arena Wednesday, June 6 for a rare mid-week game against the Coquitlam Adanacs. Game time is 7:45 pm and it will be Kool FM Girls Night Out. All girls qualify for $5 tickets. Check it out!