Written by Janice Huckin

June 23, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Shamrocks began their annual mainland doubleheader Saturday, visiting the Ladner Leisure Center to take on the Delta Islanders. It was anything but a goaltenders’ battle as the teams battled to a 15-15 tie in regulation and the Rocks came away with a 17-16 overtime victory.

Matt Keith was the starting goaltender for Delta while workhorse Cody Hagedorn was between the pipes for the Shamrocks. The Rocks jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead as Jake Cullen capitalized on a fake and shoot in close at 1:35. Chris Wardle followed up at 2:45, scoring from in close. Delta’s Evan Messenger got one back at 8:03 with a hard cross-floor shot from the dotted line but just 9 seconds later, Kurtis Green got a shot away that Keith got a piece of but managed to dribble across the line to make it 3-1 Victoria. Delta made a goaltending change, bringing in David Mathers at the 8:14 mark. The Rocks took a couple of penalties and the Islanders made them pay with a pair of power goals. First Eli McLaughlin took a pass in front to reduce the gap to 1 at 10:31. Cody Nass followed up with a shot from the dotted line and things were knotted at 3. The teams traded goals, neither seeming to gain any real traction. At 12:57 Brody Eastwood got another trickler behind Mathers. Jonathan Phillips fired a long hard shot to the back of the Shamrocks net at 13:44. Again at 18:33, the Rocks took the lead on a Devon Casey sub shot, only to have Delta tie it up with 11 ticks left on the clock when Randy Jones scored from the corner of the crease.

The second period was more of the same – Victoria took the lead just 1:35 in on Eastwood’s quick stick for his second of the game. Tyler Nett replied at 3:12, another goal with the man advantage. Then Delta got into some penalty trouble, allowing the Shamrocks to score the next 3 goals on the power play, two of them with a 5-on-3 advantage. It was Jesse King, Wardle and Dane Schoor doing the damage and the Rocks were up 9-6. Alas, it was only a temporary setback as Delta came back with the next 4 , the final one another power play marker, to take a 10-9 lead. Two more Victoria power play goals gave the Rocks an 11-10 lead, heading into the second intermission.

If anybody expected the defenses to tighten up, well, they were wrong as the teams combined for 9 more goals. A power play goal from Schoor started things off just 43 seconds in, as he put it in the back of the net from the corner of the crease – Schoor’s ‘office’ as it were. A shorthanded goal from Delta’s Jones got them back within a goal but more penalties gave the Shamrocks yet another power play goal at 9:42 from Eastwood and an even strength marker from Jake Cullen at 11:33 had the visitors ahead again by 3. As we were seeing, no lead was safe and the Islanders once again ran off 3 straight including the 4th and 5th from Messenger who was outstanding in the game. Sandwiched between those was a third counter from Jones. Victoria pulled ahead at 15:46 on a beautiful quick-stick from Dominik Pesek but McLaughlin replied at 19:14 and we were tied up at 15.

Onto overtime we went and it was Delta taking the early lead on McLaughlin’s 5th goal of the game just 1:07 into the 10-minute extra period. Play was a little scrambly, both teams no doubt tiring but Pesek collected his second of the night for Victoria to tie the score at 16. Wardle scored what proved to be the winner with a low shovel shot at the 5:46 mark, another power play for the Shamrocks that gave them the win.

Chris Wardle finished the game with 4 goals and 3 assists for the Shamrocks while Brody Eastwood had the hat trick and 2 helpers. Jesse King contributed a goal and 7 assists but Devon Casey led the way with an outstanding performance, collecting 2 goals and 8 assists. He was everywhere. Dane Schoor had 2 goals and 2 assists while Dominik also was a key cog in the victory with 2 goals and 1 helper. Kurtis Green tallied once as the Rocks scored 8 times with the man advantage. Cody Hagedorn faced 49 shots in recording the victory and was particularly good in the late stages of overtime as Delta was pressing.

For the Islanders, Evan Messenger had an 11-point night on 5 goals and 6 assists while Eli McLaughlin also found twine 5 times and added 2 helpers. Cody Nass piled up 10 points on a goal and 9 assists, Tyler Nett scored once and chipped in 5 helpers, Randy Jones contributed the hat trick and 1 helper while Jonathan Phillips had the other goal and 2 assists.

The result tightens the standings even more. Currently Coquitlam and New Westminster are tied atop the standings with 24 points with Victoria and Delta tied right behind them at 20 points. Incidentally, the Shamrocks hold a few games in hand over Delta. Langley has 18 points after defeating the Nanaimo Timbermen Saturday and Port Coquitlam holds down the final playoff spot with 14 points.

The Shamrocks remain on the mainland overnight and take on the Langley Thunder Sunday in a 2:00 start. Next home game is next Saturday, June 29 when Langley will make the return trip to face the Shamrocks at Bear Mountain Arena in a 5:00 pm start.