By Janice Huckin
Victoria (ISN) – When is a lacrosse game not a lacrosse game? When it’s a shooting gallery maybe? That’s what it seemed like Saturday when the Jr. Shamrocks, on the heels of completing a trade, came out on the winning end of a 17-16 score against the visiting Langley Thunder.
That’s not a typo, as goaltenders faced a total of 95 shots and surrendered 33 goals.
Mike Berti got the start in goal for Victoria, missing Cody Hagedorn due to injury. For the visitors it was Patrick Bayliss getting the start. Langley got the early lead, scoring two goals in a 5 second span. First off it was James Rahe getting the ball behind Berti at 2:09. Right off the ensuing faceoff at 2:14, Reegan Comeault made it 2-0 Thunder. Jesse King got one back at 4:59 on a shot that just dribbled over the goal line and coming with the Shamrocks playing shorthanded. The visitors scored the next two goals, the first coming from Nick Stone at 9:46 on the power play and the next from Jake Taylor at 11:07. The Shamrocks made a goaltending change, Jr. B call-up Cody Cook coming in, then went on a 4-goal run. Devon Casey scored on a bouncer that ricocheted and went in at 12:13. At 12:36 a power play goal from Brody Eastwood finished up a piece of good passing to get within a goal. Eastwood added another at 13:52 and King, with his second, gave the Shamrocks their first lead of the game at 16:30, scoring off a rebound. The teams traded power play goals, Langley drawing even at 17:16 courtesy of Rahe but the Rocks retaking the lead at 17:54 with a power play marker from Dane Schoor. Brendan Mykle-Winkler replied for Langley at 18:04 but another power play goal from Eastwood, off a rebound at the 19-minute mark sent the Rocks to the dressing room with a 7-6 lead. Not your standard goaltenders’ battle for sure, as shots on goal were 16-15 in Victoria’s favour.
The second period also saw 13 goals scored. This time it was Langley with 7 and Victoria with 6. Ryley Brown took over in the Langley goal to begin the period. Casey picked up his second for the Shamrocks just 21 seconds into the middle frame, firing an absolute howitzer to the back of the net. He made it two in a row at 1:54 picking off a pass, getting in alone and beating Brown. Langley responded with a 3-goal run, as Stone, Comeault and Taylor scored at 2:03, 3:49 and 4:39 respectively, the latter two coming with a manpower advantage and tying things up at 9. The goals kept coming, Casey picking up a fourth at 5:32 (his shot packs a wallop), Comeault getting his third for Langley at 5:59. Eastwood restored the lead at 6:53 and his counterpart #18 Brandon Bull got things even again for Langley at 9:39. The Thunder pulled ahead on a goal from Spencer Evans at 12:13, an unassisted tally on a breakaway, at which point Berti went back between the pipes for Victoria. Adam Brown picked up a goal for the Rocks at 14:46, getting in close to beat the other Brown (no relation). Conrad Chapman gave the home team the lead again at 16:30 but it was very short-lived as Bull got his second for the Thunder at 16:53. After 40 minutes the score was 13-13 and the Langley Thunder had the edge in shots on goal by a 36-29 margin.
Victoria went on a 3-goal run to start period 3. Chapman picked up his second of the game off the opening face-off at the 9-second mark. Jamie Sorensen notched another off a great aggressive forecheck at 5:48 and King picked up an unassisted power play goal at 7:06. That brought a goaltending switch at the Thunder end of the floor, Bayliss coming back in. Langley replied with a goal by Zack Porter at 10:34, scoring while diving across the front of the net. Schoor added another for the Shamrocks, his second of the contest, at 13:50, picking up a pass from behind the net. Langley made the valiant comeback attempt. They got within a pair at 18:35, Rahe picking up his third, with the extra attacker on the floor and the goaltender on the bench. The same move paid off with another from Rahe at 19:09 and suddenly it was back to a 1-goal game. Langley coach Jake Elliott called for a measurement on Victoria goaltender Mike Berti’s equipment with just 33 ticks on the clock. He was found to be in violation, resulting in a minor and game misconduct and requiring Cook to play the final seconds of the game. With the Thunder given possession of the ball, they got a shot away that Cook came up with but the visitors re-gained possession. With a last-second shot, Cook came up with a second game-saving stop and that was how things would end. Shots on goal in the game were 51-44 in Langley’s favour.
The Shamrocks have been a bit slow to warm up to the new coaching staff’s systems so they reverted to what was supposed to be offense-defense. They got the offense part right but . . . . . . Devon Casey and Brody Eastwood led the Victoria offense with 4 goals and 4 assists each. Jesse King picked up the hat trick and 4 helpers while Conrad Chapman and Dane Schoor each scored twice and Schoor added 2 assists. Singles came from Adam Brown and Jamie Sorensen who added 3 and 2 assists respectively. Chris Wardle, playing his usual effective game at both ends of the floor, contributed 3 assists. One of the players obtained in the trade with Nanaimo, Ethan Garland, played his first game in the new colours. While not making it onto the scoresheet, he had a strong 2-way game and, with a few practices is expected to make an impact in the stretch run. Both Mike Berti and Cody Cook played pretty well considering the lack of defensive support, Cook playing hero in the last few seconds of the game with 2 huge saves.
For the visiting Langley Thunder it was Reegan Comeault with 3 goals and 5 assists, James Rahe with 4 goals and 3 helpers. Brandon Bull, Jake Taylor and Nick Stone each scored twice with singles coming from Spencer Evans, Brendan Mykle-Winkler and Zack Porter.
Next game for the Jr. Shamrocks is next Saturday, June 22 at Bear Mountain Arena when they will face the Coquitlam Adanacs. The Rocks are hoping to be bolstered by the addition of Paul Brebber, another piece of the puzzle obtained in the trade with Nanaimo. The other addition, Glenn Foley is awaiting medical clearance but was in attendance at the game.