Written by Janice Huckin
July 20, 2013 (ISN) – A win is a win and the Intermediate Shamrocks are happy and maybe a little bit lucky to emerge with a 9-7 victory over the visiting New Westminster Salmonbellies Saturday in game 1 of their best-of-three playoff series. Certainly the win was not convincing in most aspects.
Victoria gave Liam Reid the start in goal while New Westminster went with Tyler Landry. The early part of the opening period had no flow – neither team seemed particularly adept at catching or keeping the ball and the first goal didn’t go up on the board until the 9:55 mark when Victoria’s leading scorer, McLean Chicquen managed a power play goal from in close. At 13:04, with his team playing 2 men short, Adam Jay broke in alone to give the Rocks a 2-0 lead. The Bellies managed to get 1 back before the period ended, Adam Dickson getting in close to bury a shot at 17:49. Play was chippy and disjointed and the visitors outshot Victoria 17-12 but were down by a goal at the end of 20 minutes.
Period 2 started with New West getting the equalizer just 22 seconds in, Marco Ballarin firing a bullet to the top corner. The Shamrocks then started to look a little more like the Shamrocks offensively as they rattled off 4 straight goals. A power play goal from Cole Pickup put the Rocks back into the lead at 3:39. Matt Hamilton extended the lead at 9:44, faking high and shooting low off transition. Just 22 seconds later McLean collected his second of the night from the side of the crease, that goal coming with the man advantage. Another power play goal at 13:17 from Hamilton had the home team up 6-2. The Bellies didn’t go away, replying with a power play marker of their own at 16:45 from Dickson, his second. The teams traded goals before the period ended. Jamie Jensen capitalized at 17:01 in close for the Shamrocks and New West’s Kyle Pauwels finished the scoring at 18:48 with a laser from the slot. That made it 7-4 for the boys in green after 2 periods. Shots on goal were even.
The Shamrocks scored first in period 3, Hamilton picking up his hat trick after some quick passes inside the dotted line at 2:14. The home team then ran into some penalty trouble – a lot of penalty trouble actually which allowed the Bellies to get back into the game as they rattled off 3 straight power play goals to draw within a goal. At 4:57 it was Riley Peterson finding twine. The next goal didn’t go up on the board until 14:52 when the Bellies’ Preston Lupul got in close. At 18:37, just 10 seconds into another power play, Pauwels collected his second as they had their goaltender on the bench for an extra attacker to go 6-on-4. During the last 4 minutes, Victoria goalie Liam Reid faced shot after shot as his teammates were unable to corral the loose balls and New Westminster just kept on hammering away. At 19:31 that siege was finally broken as the Rocks’ Ryan Taylor picked up the loose ball and went coast-to-coast to score into the empty net and provide the margin of victory.
The Shamrocks are probably breathing a huge sigh of relief after that outing and thanking Reid for keeping them in the game at crucial times. Offensively and unofficially it was Matt Hamilton leading the way with the hat trick and 1 assist. McLean Chicquen picked up a pair of goals and 1 helper. Other goals came from Adam Jay, Ryan Taylor, Jamie Jensen and Cole Pickup who also had 2 assists. Nick Preston and Brock Thompson-Marshall contributed 2 and 3 assists respectively. If I had to pick 3 stars for this game, I’d choose Liam Reid, Liam Reid and Liam Reid – he was that outstanding especially late in the game.
For the Salmonbellies it was Adam Dickson and Kyle Pauwels each with a pair of goals and 3 assists.
Game 2 of this series goes Sunday in Queen’s Park Arena – a win for the Shamrocks and they advance to the Provincials on the August long weekend. A Shamrock loss will force a deciding game 3 back in Bear Mountain Arena next Saturday.