Intermediate Shamrocks Get Jump in First Round of Playoffs

victoria shamrocks

Story By Janice Huckin, Photos By Kasey Eriksen – ISN

Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Intermediate ‘A’ Shamrocks and Langley Thunder faced each other Saturday at Bear Mountain Arena in Game 1 of their best-of-3 playoff series and it was the home team coming out with a 17-7 victory.

The game was close for about 15 minutes but then the Rocks blew the Thunder out, leading 6-2 and 11-5 after periods 1 and 2.

Tanner Hodgson started in goal for the Rocks while Giulio DelBianco got the nod at the other end of the floor. Victoria’s offense got going early, Cole Pickup getting in close to put the ball over the Langley goaltender just 48 seconds in. Langley replied with a power play goal off the stick of Jesse Hamel at the 6:36 mark. The home team bounced back with a couple of power play goals of their own, Pickup getting his second counter at 8:57, just seconds into the man advantage. Dane Sorensen followed up with another on the power play at 14:22 from the corner of the crease. The Thunder kept things close, pulling within a goal at 14:43 from Chase Fraser before the Shamrocks ran off 3 unanswered to end the period. Sorensen picked up his second at 15:22 on a breakaway from center. At 17:12 it was Shamrocks scoring leader Jake Cullen connecting on another power play goal after some sustained pressure at Langley’s end of the floor. Cullen notched another just 40 seconds later, going over top of DelBianco to give the home team a 6-2 lead after 20 minutes. There was a steady parade to the penalty box, more in the Langley blue than Shamrocks green and the Shamrocks made the most of their opportunities scoring 3 goals with the man advantage to just 1 for the Thunder.

IMG 1478bcovchris
The Shamrock’s Jordan Green runs past Langley’s Derek Rouse during Saturday’s action (Photo by Kasey Eriksen – ISN) 

Victoria opened up a 5-goal lead at 1:45 of the middle period, Matt Hamilton scoring shorthanded. The teams traded goals, Langley’s Fraser scoring a power play marker at 7:10 only to have Cullen reply with his third of the game just 24 seconds later. The Thunder once again shrunk the lead when Jacob Pearson connected at 8:25, a shot that Hodgson seemed to have but squeezed through. Special teams continued to be prominent as the Shamrocks ran off 3 more, the first an unassisted even strength goal from Brock Thompson-Marshall at 11:17. Cullen grabbed his fourth of the contest at 12:08 with his team playing a man short and then Matt Hamilton picked up his second on the power play at 14:18. Langley finished up the scoring with Fraser’s third of the game at 15:48. After 2 periods it was the home team leading by an 11-5 margin.

The Shamrocks put the game away for real with a coupe of 3-goal runs, the first coming right at the beginning of the period as Jamie Jensen, Max Fredrickson and Cullen all scored by the 8:54 mark. A Langley power play goal interrupted things for a minute or two at 13:06 but another 3-goal Victoria run, including another 2 power play goals had the result solidified before Fraser scored his fourth for the visitors at 18:54.

IMG 1502bcovchris
Langley’s Austin Iredale looks to avoid the check of Victoria’s Devan Smith in Saturday’s action (Photo by Kasey Eriksen – ISN)

As noted, a real lack of discipline resulted in numerous penalties and the chippy play also culminated in a lack of flow to the game. Victoria’s offense was led unofficially by Jake Cullen with 5 goals and 3 assists. Matt Hamilton had the hat trick and 1 assist. Dane Sorensen, Cole Pickup and Brock Thompson-Marshall each scored twice with singles coming from Jamie Jensen, Max Fredrickson and Curtis Gailey, Gailey chipping in 3 assists and Fredrickson 5. Each team drew about 48 minutes in penalties including some 10 minute misconducts.

For the visitors only Chase Fraser managed to solve Hodgson more than once as he tallied 4 goals and 1 assist.

Game 2 takes place Sunday in Langley with game 3, if necessary back at Bear Mountain Arena next Saturday, July 28. The series winner will advance to the Provincials to be held in Burnaby from August 3-6. The Shamrocks are looking to return to the Provincials after missing them last year. They brought back a gold medal in 2010.