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With Photos by Chad Hipolito – ISN

Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Shamrocks opened the first round of the 2012 Western Lacrosse Association playoffs with an 11-9 loss to the Coquitlam Adanacs at Bear Mountain Arena on Saturday night.

The Victoria Shamrocks began the road to their ninth Mann Cup Championship Saturday night as they opened up the first round of the playoffs versus the third place Coquitlam Adanacs at Bear Mountain Arena. This marked the third time in the last four years that the ‘Rocks and A’s would face each other in the opening round of the post-season – they did so in 2009 and 2008. They also faced each other in round one in 2005, the last time the ‘Rocks won the Mann Cup.

The Shamrocks lost the season series to the Adanacs 2-1 despite outscoring them 27-25 in the three games with the home team winning each game. Victoria hoping that trend would continue as they held home floor advantage.

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Coquitlam Adanacs Jason Jones runs by Victoria Shamrocks Kyle Morwick during game one of the playoffs. The Shamrocks lost 11-9 at the Bear Mountain Arena in Colwood, (Photo: Chad Hipolito/Island Sport News)

Both sides energized making for a fast tempo early on. Each team would create scoring chances early with the A’s hitting a crossbar followed by a Corey Small post, but it would remain scoreless until the 7:25 mark when Jeff Shattler would open the scoring with a shot low to the stick side just inside the post past Coquitlam’s goaltender, Nick Rose, to make it 1-0 Victoria. Dane Dobbie, who cleaned up against the Shamrocks during the regular season, would drive the net and would score to tie the game just 23 seconds after the Shattler goal while shorthanded, 1-1 – Coquitlam would go on to kill the penalty. Victoria would carry the bulk of the play following the penalty, but could not capitalize as Nick Rose stood tall in the Adanacs goal making many miraculous save including one diving across to rob Curtis Morwick on the doorstep. The Adanacs would strike again while four-on-four as Jason Jones would run all the way in towards the goal before beating Matt Flindell high to take the lead 2-1. Victoria would take a too many men penalty, quickly followed by a MacRae high-sticking penalty just seven seconds apart resulting in a Coquitlam four-on-three power play and just 19 seconds into the too many men penalty, Dane Dobbie would beat Flindell for his second of the night to give the A’s a 3-1 lead. With the MacRae penalty kicking in, the A’s would go back to the man advantage, and they would score once again. Dane Dobbie sliding one across the crease with Kevin Olson making no mistake with the open net to make it 4-1 Adanacs. Victoria would go to the power play as the A’s Captain, Bruce Murray, would go to the penalty box with a five minute major for high sticking Kory Kowalyk. With a strong movement on the power play, the Shamrocks would cut the lead in half 1:12 into the man advantage as Jeff Shattler would beat Rose from the top of the crease as he let one go for his second of the night to make it 4-2 Coquitlam and that would be how the first period would end.

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Coquitlam Adanacs Jason Jones runs by Victoria Shamrocks Greg Harnett during game one of the playoffs. The Shamrocks lost 11-9 at the Bear Mountain Arena in Colwood, BC (Chad Hipolito/Island Sport News)

The Shamrocks would open the second period with 3:13 remaining in a five-minute major to Bruce Murray the occurred in the first period. The ‘Rocks wouldn’t waste any time, 47 seconds into the period, Leung sent one across the crease to Corey Small and with the quick-stick, Small beat Rose to make it 4-3 A’s – Shamrocks would remain on the power play until Kory Kowalyk submarined Andrew McBride receiving five-minute major for hip checking. While four-on-four, Coquitlam would make their lead again two, as Jones misplayed a quick-stick, but the ball deflected by Flindell. Dan Dobbie would score his hat trick goal seconds later, still while four-on-four, to make it 6-3 A’s. Coquitlam would finally go to the power play and they would add another at the 3:40 mark as Dobbie found Olson who beat Flindell to make it 7-3 A’s, with 2:39 remaining on the Kowalyk major – Flindell would get the hook following that goal as Chris Levis came in to replace him. Victoria would play very strong on the penalty kill and kill off the remaining time left on the Kowalyk major. Victoria would get back on the board as Kyle Morwick would make a great solo effort getting by the defenseman and eventually beating Rose with a squeeker low to make it 7-4 A’s. After killing off a Gardner tripping penalty, the Shamrocks would go to the power play themselves but it would be the A’s that would score. Their second shorthanded goal of the game by Jon Harnett ran up floor and made a quick stick move before beating Levis to make it 8-4 with 7:30 left in the second period. While four-on-four, Jason Jones would dive across the crease before beating Levis making it 9-4 Coquitlam for his hat trick goal. The Shamrocks would score a beautiful goal as he intercepted a long lead pass, then ran up floor before unloading an absolute laser of a shot past Rose to make it 9-5 A’s. That would be how the second period would end – A’s leading 9-5 despite being outshot 40-26 thru 40 minutes.

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Coquitlam Adanacs Travis Irving pushes Corey Small back during game one of the playoffs. The Shamrocks lost 11-9 at the Bear Mountain Arena in Colwood, BC (Chad Hipolito/Island Sport News)

The third period would start with a bang just 18 seconds into the period, Corey Small would score his second of the game heading to the net and letting it go low past Rose to make it 9-6 A’s. Dan MacRae would take an interference penalty; however, the Shamrocks would kill that off and receive a power play chance of their own. Coquitlam would make it a four-goal lead as Jason Jones would score his 4th of the night making it 10-6 with just over 12 minutes remaining in the third period. Matt Yager would re-energize the Shamrocks and the fans as he flew up floor and beat Rose five-hole to make it 10-7 A’s with 11:21 remaining in the third. The Adanacs Brad Richardson would pick up a two-minute penalty resulting in a man advantage opportunity for the best power play in the regular season. The ‘Rocks would make it interesting as Derek Lowe ripped one home low on Rose to make it a 10-8 game with just over four minutes remaining. Ryan Benesch would rip one home thru the legs of Rose from the top of the ark with 1:37 left in the game to make it 10-9 Adanacs. With an extra attacker, Corey Small would give the ball away, and the Damon Edwards would run up court and pot the empty netter to make it 11-9 and that would be the final.

The Shamrocks would outshoot the A’s 57-39 in the game, but goaltending was the difference as Nick Rose played fantastic in the Coquitlam crease while Matt Flindell and Chris Levis struggled at times allowing 11 goals on 39 shots.

With the victory, the Adanacs have now won three consecutive games over Victoria and take a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-seven semi-finals while claiming home floor advantage from the Shamrocks. Game two will go on Wednesday night in Coquitlam.