Written by Janice Huckin
July 12, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Shamrocks took the floor at historic Queen’s Park Arena Thursday looking to beat the New Westminster Salmonbellies and take over sole possession of first place. The Bellies had other ideas as they outlasted the visitors to come away with a 13-12 win.
With the Shamrocks playing two games in two nights, it was Matt Flindell getting the starting assignment in goal while New West handed things over to Neil Tyacke. The Rocks actually got things jump-started with a pair of goals in just over a minute and a half. Corey Small scored at the 39-second mark from the wrong side and at 1:31 Mitch Jones picked up a rebound and put it over Tyacke to make it 2-0. That was the only time the Shamrocks would hold a lead as they gave up the next 4 goals, coming within a 3:15 span from 4:16 to 7:31. The teams traded goals before the period ended, Small picking up his second of the game at 8:09, Ilija Gajic replying for the Bellies at 9:22. Cory Conway found twine but that goal was not called until the next stoppage in play. The goal-light was on, the Shamrocks called it a goal but it took a while for the officials to make up their mind which they did at 13:46. An unassisted tally from New West’ Jeff Cornwall at 19:25 gave the home team a 6-4 lead after 20 minutes. Shots on goal were pretty even with New Westminster holding a slight 20-16 edge.
The second period was a bit tamer as far as goal scoring went. Victoria started the middle frame on a 5-minute power play which yielded just one goal off the stick of Scott Ranger at 4:01, despite a barrage of shots towards the New West netminder. The Bellies regained the two-goal lead a 5:58 but some great speed from Rocks’ defender Tyler Burton off transition got things back to a 1-goal gap. Again the teams traded goals, the Salmonbellies scoring once on a 3-minute power play but Victoria replying with a pair, including a beauty from Tyler Hass, showing his long reach and patience in front of the net to tie things at 8. A Salmonbellies power play goal with just 14 seconds left in the period gave the home team the 9-8 lead.
The third stanza was back and forth, New West never getting ahead by more than 2 and Victoria coming back to tie the score 3 times before the Bellies put it away with a rising shot off the stick of Kyle Ross at 15:44. Victoria had the edge in shots on goal overall at 60-48 and put a lot of pressure on Tyacke in the dying minutes of the game but he stood tall and gave his team the chance to win.
Corey Small had 4 goals for the Shamrocks but it was Cory Conway with a 7-point night on 2 goals and 5 assists. Scott Ranger finished with a goal and 4 helpers, Tyler Hass and Mitch Jones each chipped in a pair of goals with the other coming from Tyler Burton.
The result leaves Victoria in a first place with the Langley Thunder who will provide the opposition Friday at Bear Mountain. It will be the battle for the league lead and the Thunder have added even more firepower since their first visit. It promises to be a barn burner and it will be Alumni night. Game time is 7:45 pm so come out and see some of your current and former favourite Shamrocks personnel.