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Story by Janice Huckin, Photos by Kasey Eriksen – ISN

Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Shamrocks came into game 3 of their playoff series against the Coquitlam Adanacs in a ‘must win’ situation, having dropped the first two. It may be a cliché but sometimes it fits and in this case, the Rocks responded with a 9-6 victory to get back into the series.

The home team held 1-0 and 4-2 period leads before jumping out to a 9-5 lead by the 13:27 mark of period 3. Coquitlam scored the final 3 goals before the game ended in a general melee between Adanac players and Shamrock fans. The game got ugly well before that – more on this later.

Matt Flindell got the start for Victoria in goal while Nick Rose started for Coquitlam. Shamrocks starters have struggled early in the two previous games but that was not the case tonight as Flindell was strong, at times brilliant. The Rocks scored early in period 1, Ryan Benesch connecting on a hard shot that snuck inside the post at the 2:50 mark. That was it for first-period scoring despite each team having a few power plays. I guess you could look at it that the power plays were dismal or the penalty killing was great. During one episode, Flindell kicked out about 5 or 6 shots in close succession to keep his team in the lead.

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The Adanacs Andrew McBride splits the seam between two Shamrock defenders (Kasey Eriksen / Island Sports News)

In period 2 things opened up a bit as the Shamrocks outscored the Adanacs 3-2 and the parade to the penalty box continued. A power play goal at the 3:29 mark off the stick of Corey Small gave the home team a 2-0 lead when he picked a top corner after a series of shots right into the chest pads of the big Coquitlam netminder. The visitors got on the board at 5:28, Dane Dobbie well in the crease when he took the shot but it counted. The teams traded goals once again as Small netted his second of the contest, this one also with the man advantage at 10:55. Again the success came with a shot just inside the post. Coquitlam replied at 11:49, Jason Jones picking up a rebound off the boards behind the net to beat Flindell. The Rocks picked up one more before the period ended, Kory Kowalyk finding the back of the net very late in the 30-second clock. As mentioned, several penalties were called including a 5 minute major for boarding to Coquitlam’s Jones when he leveled Mitch McLaren. That call was evened out somewhat when Victoria was given a minor for having the gate open on the bench. I’m not sure but how will players go in and out if you can’t open the door? Fans patiently pointed out that the Coquitlam bench remained open many times as well. The Shamrocks outshot the Adanacs by a 28-7 mark in the period but the visitors were still in the game.

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Victoria’s Karsen Leung (right) drives past the Adanacs Jon Harnett (Kasey Eriksen / Island Sports News)

If fans thought the first two periods were rough, they were nothing compared to the final frame as tempers boiled over. To start off, though, Karsen Leung scored just 24 seconds in to open up a 3-goal Victoria lead, putting a hard bouncer behind Rose. Just 20 seconds later, Daniel McQuade replied for Coquitlam before the Rocks went on a 4-goal run. Jeff Shattler scored at 2:44 and at 3:33 it was Michael Pires finishing off a nice passing play to put the Rocks up 7-3. Coquitlam called a time-out and warmed up back-up goaltender Adam Shute but he didn’t face a shot as Rose came back in within a minute of leaving. At 8:08 Small picked up his hat trick goal on the power play. The Victoria lead increased to 6 on a great unassisted, shorthanded goal off the stick of Chet Koneczny, as he dived across the front of the net at 13:27. Dobbie came up with his second of the game, unassisted just 13 seconds later. Things got pretty intense at 13:48 when Coquitlam’s Jones steamrolled Victoria goalie Flindell. He did receive a 5-minute major for charging as well as a game misconduct. Austin Powell came to Flindell’s rescue and got a 5-minute fighting major and game misconduct for his trouble. Flindell left the game and Chris Levis came in to finish up. The melee also saw two other players from each team given 10-minute misconducts. Dobbie added one more at 14:15 and Kevin Olsen scored for Coquitlam with the goaltender off for the extra attacker (and the gate open) at 16:09. In period 3, the Adanacs had a big edge in shots on goal by a 21-14 margin, including14 on Levis during the last 6:12 of the period.

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Victoria’s Jeff Shattler gets sandwiched between two Coquitlam defenders (Kasey Eriksen / Island Sports News)

Some of the Adanac players got into it with some Victoria fans at the end of the game but the scoresheet saw one penalty assessed to each team. Things won’t likely get any nicer between these two teams. It may help for the visiting team to bring a referee with them – it didn’t hurt Coquitlam tonight at any rate. The important thing for the Shamrocks and their fans is that they came away with the win and hopefully Flindell not injured heading into game 4.

The Rocks got strong offensive performances from Corey Small with 3 goals and 1 assist while Ryan Benesch and Jeff Shattler had the reverse, scoring once and adding 3 helpers. Karsen Leung chipped in a goal and 4 helpers with other goals coming from Chet Koneczny, Michael Pires, and Kory Kowalyk. Team captain Matt Lyons contributed 3 assists.

As usual it was Dane “Diver” Dobbie leading the attack for the Adanacs, picking up 3 goals. Singles came from Kevin Olson, Daniel McQuade and Jason Jones. Nick Rose had a busy night between the pipes, facing 54 shots and making 45 saves.

Game 4 goes Sunday in Coquitlam with a game 5 guaranteed back at Bear Mountain Arena on Tuesday evening at 7:45 pm. The crowd was a little on the sparse side tonight, most people coming disguised as empty seats so I’m sure the Rocks would like to see a strong home crowd for game 5.