Written by Janice Huckin – Photos by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
August 1, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – It was a hard-fought battle Wednesday at Bear Mountain Arena as the Victoria Shamrocks hosted the Burnaby Lakers in game 1 of their best-of-seven semi final series. The Rocks held period leads of 5-2 and 9-4 on their way to a 12-8 victory in what was a very physical contest in front of one of the smallest crowds of the season.
Starting goaltenders were Dan Lewis for the visitors and Matt Vinc for the Shamrocks. Burnaby actually took the early lead at 2:46 of the opening period when Robert Church found the back of the net. The Shamrocks did not connect until 9:31 when team captain Scott Ranger got in close. Burnaby replied just 21 seconds later, Jackson Decker picking the top corner.
Lakers T.J. Cowx and Shamrocks Dylan Evans battle for the ball after the face-off – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
The Shamrocks then got on a 4-goal run, Rhys Duch, back with the team for playoffs beating Lewis with a hard shot at 12:04. Just 28 seconds after that, Sr. B call-up Blair Pinnock coming off a strong performance with the Shamrocks in last weekend’s win over Nanaimo, finished off a quick passing play to give the Rocks the lead. Corey Small, with a quick-stick right in front increased the lead to 2 at 15:16 and added his second with less than 3 seconds left on the clock. With the goaltender on the bench and the extra attacker he finished off a passing play from Duch and Ranger to make it 5-2.
Shamrocks Karsen Leung tries to intercept Lakers Shaun Dhaliwal – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
Small picked up the natural hat trick with the first goal of the middle frame, just 1:06 in and that goal coming shorthanded when two defenders ran into each other and went down in a heap. Burnaby replied with a power play goal just 30 seconds later, off the stick of former Jr. Shamrock Casey Jackson as he collected a long outlet pass from goaltender Lewis and went in alone. Two more goals were scored just 35 seconds apart, Cory Conway tallying for the Rocks at 2:10 and Bryan Safarik replying for the Lakers at 2:45. Jr. ‘A’ call-up Brody Eastwood picked up a rebound and scored a power play goal for the Rocks at 6:26 and Ranger picked up his second of the game at 15:34 firing a hard shot to the back of the net to make it 9-4 Shamrocks after 40 minutes. The Shamrocks held a huge edge in shots on goal after 2 periods, 36-19 but the Lakers were still within striking distance.
A scramble for the ball – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
The Lakers struck first in the final frame, Church picking up his second of the game just 44 seconds in. A power play goal from Conway, his second of the contest restored the 5-goal lead at 3:46. Burnaby wasn’t going away and they came back with a pair just 15 seconds apart. Peter McFetridge scored at 4:11 and Church picked up the hat trick at 4:26 with a high hard shot. That drew the visitors within 3 goals but Duch scored a couple, the first on the power play at 6:18 with a hard, low shot from the dotted line and then at 8:37 to pretty much put the game out of reach. Burnaby did manage one more, the second of the game from Decker, on the power play, at 10:49. Even though there was lots of time left, the Shamrocks’ defense and Vinc held fast as the Lakers held the edge in shots on goal in the period by a 15-12 margin.
Lakers Justin Salt and Shamrocks Scott Ranger battle for the loose ball – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
Shamrocks Dan MacRae manages to keep the ball in his stick – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
The Shamrocks must be hurting because they had 2 Jr. Shamrock call-ups in the line-up which seems odd with all the firepower they have, loading up for the Mann Cup run.
Cory Conway and Rhys Duch led the Shamrocks in scoring, each contributing 6 points – Conway with 2 goals and 4 helpers and Duch with 3 of each to earn first and second star honours respectively. Scott Ranger kicked in 2 goals and 3 assists while Corey Small also had a hat-trick and 1 assist. Singles came from Blair Pinnock and Brody Eastwood who also had 2 assists. Jr. Shamrocks call-up Jesse King had 3 assists while Matt Vinc made 26 saves to get the win.
The Shamrocks take the win – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
Burnaby got 3 goals and 2 assists from Robert Church and a pair of goals from Jackson Decker.
It looks like there could be some real animosity building between the two teams but they will have to wait a week before coming together again, game 2 of the series scheduled for Burnaby next Wednesday, August 7. Late in the game, things got really silly with 3 players from each team occupying the sin bin so things should be very interesting. Game 3 of the series will be played at Bear Mountain Arena on Friday, August 9 at 7:45