By Janice Huckin
Victoria, BC (ISN) – Well, the plot thickens as it pertains to WLA playoff spots as the last place Maple Ridge Burrards came into Bear Mountain Arena Friday night and defeated the Shamrocks by a 15-11 score.
It really wasn’t as close as the score indicates as the visitors outscored the Rocks 7-1 in the middle period to take an 11-5 lead after 40 minutes. The Shamrocks made a late run at getting back into the game but it was too little too late to right the ship.
Matt Flindell got the start in goal for Victoria while Drew Dickie took up his position in the crease at the Burrards’ end of the floor. The visitors scored first when Simon Giourmetakis found the back of the net, running across the front of the crease at 1:04 of the opening period. Jeff Shattler tied things up at 2:46, stealing the ball and scoring unassisted. Brandon Bertoia gave the Burrards the lead once again at 5:53, shoveling the ball low on Flindell. A power play opportunity was seized by the Rocks at 10:24, Cory Small finishing off some quick passes to get even once again. Just 13 seconds later, Victoria took its first and only lead of the game, Brock Armour winning the faceoff and Small getting his second of the contest on a hard low shot from outside the dotted line.
The lead held for a little over two minutes until Jarrett Davis scored shorthanded for the visitors, getting right to the front of the net. That was followed by a breakaway goal for Maple Ridge’s Garrett McIntosh at 13:22. The Rocks made the goalie switch, replacing Flindell with Chris Levis but only for a few seconds. With just a couple of ticks left on the clock, Small picked up his hat trick marker for the Shamrocks and that made it 4-4 after 20 minutes with shots on goal also being pretty even at 16-15 for Victoria. Fans were entertained by the fast pace although play was sloppy for both teams at times.
The second period belonged to the Burrards as they rattled off 7 straight goals before the Shamrocks would hit the scoreboard again. Things got started early once again as Bertoia picked up his second at 1:26, again getting right to the net quite easily. At 2:03, Dayne Michaud scored unassisted into an empty net, Flindell having come out to play the ball late in the 30-second clock only to have Michaud come up with it. At 4:11, McIntosh picked up his second and that resulted in Flindell making way for Levis once again.
The visitors were not at all concerned who was in the net as they scored again at 7:29, Riley Loewen firing low to a corner. Another quick series of 3 goals in a little over 3 minutes followed. At 11:27, Bertoia found the back of the net with his hat trick goal, going over top of Levis. Patrick O’Meara broke in and scored at 12:42 and at 14:58 Loewen bulldozed his way in and notched a shorthanded marker to make it 11-4 for the visitors. Levis left the Victoria crease and Flindell returned. Former Burrard Derek Lowe stopped the bleeding with a goal from in close at 17:31 making it 11-5 after 2 periods with shots on goal even at 34 each. Incidentally, only 4 penalties were called throughout the first two periods, all to Maple Ridge but resulting in only one Victoria power play goal and 2 shorthanded goals by the Burrards.
Maple Ridge jumped right into things in period 3, Colton Porter scoring on a bouncer just 1:43 in. Victoria’s alarm clock must have gone off because they tallied the next 3 goals in just a minute and 3 seconds. Shattler connected at 2:28 for his second of the game. Flindell got a long outlet pass to Matt Yager who buried it at 3:04 and at 3:31, Shattler picked up his hat trick on a hard shot. Randy Daly replied at 6:08 for the visitors with a bullet of his own. Nobody scored for the next 11 minutes or so, prompting many fans to depart and then there was another flurry of goals. Bertoia picked up his fourth at 17:25 only to have Karsen Leung reply for the home team at 17:33. At 17:55 Small picked up his fourth but the teams traded goals before the period ended, Mitch Banister scoring for the Burrards at 19:07 with Flindell trying to get back into net after going to the bench for the extra attacker and Shattler picking up his 4th for the Rocks at 19:55.
That was certainly not the outcome the Shamrocks were hoping for but sometimes those teams with nothing to lose – or gain, other than pride – can be the most dangerous. Cory Small and Jeff Shattler paced the Rocks with 4 goals and 1 assist each while Matt Yager, Derek Lowe and Karsen Leung had the others with Lowe and Leung chipping in 4 and 5 helpers respectively.
Brandon Bertoia led the visitors with 4 goals while Jarrett Davis finished with 8 points on a goal and 7 helpers. Garrett McIntosh and Riley Loewen each scored twice and Colton Porter had a goal and 6 assists. The Burrards swept the 3 stars, Porter-Davis-Bertoia going 1-2-3. Drew Dickie had a strong outing in goal kicking out 50 of the 61 shots he faced.
Things don’t get any easier as the Shamrocks travel to Langley Saturday to take on the league leaders and a thorn in the Rocks’ side. Tonight’s result, coupled with Coquitlam’s win over Burnaby now has the standings like this: Langley – 20 points, Coquitlam 18 points, Victoria, New Westminster and Burnaby all with 16 points but both Victoria and Burnaby holding a game in hand. Right behind them is Nanaimo with 13 points but a game in hand over both Victoria and Burnaby and 2 games in hand over New West.
The Shamrocks finish the season next weekend with a home-and-away series against the Nanaimo Timbermen. Needless to say, nothing is settled for any of these teams in the playoff hunt.