Rocks Like Home Sweet Home

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By Janice Huckin

August 17, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Shamrocks came back home to Bear Mountain Arena for game 2 in their best-of-seven league final series down 1-0; they say there’s no place like home and despite being at a 4-1 disadvantage after the first period.

The Rocks used the energy in their home barn to outscore the Langley Thunder 9-2 over the final 40 minutes, coming out with a 10-6 victory.

Starting in goal were Matt Vinc for the Shamrocks and big Brodie MacDonald for the Thunder. Despite rumours to the contrary, the Rocks also had their captain Scott Ranger in the line-up, much to the surprise and delight of the fans and, no doubt, his teammates. It was the visitors who got the quick start, however, as Shayne Jackson scored just 1:22 into the opening period with a hard overhand shot. They went up by a pair at 4:33 on a shorthanded tally from Scott Johnston and at 10:05, a power play goal from Garrett Billings had the Thunder up 3-0 and the crowd getting a little quiet.

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Shamrocks Dan MacRae loses his glove in a scuffle – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)

Victoria’s Mitch Jones brought the close to full house to its collective feet at 10:43 when he fought through the defense to get to the front and beat MacDonald. Langley’s Alex Crepinski scored just 7 seconds later, off the faceoff and that was all the scoring in the opening frame. Each team came close in the final few minutes as Victoria hit a goalpost and Langley missed an empty net. Shots on goal were even at 17 apiece and each team took a pair of minor penalties.

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Shamrocks Blair Pinnock prepares to fire the ball on net – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)

Somebody lit a fire under the Rocks during the intermission because they came out like a buzzsaw in the middle period. Jeff Shattler scored at 3:15 following some great pursuit on a loose ball deep. Defender Scott Carnegie drew the home team within a goal, after a great outlet passing play at 5:52, that goal coming shorthanded. The Shamrocks then picked up a power play goal from Scott Ranger who just walked through the middle at 8:42 and things were tied up at 4. Langley regained the lead at 14:21 when Adam Jones picked a top corner but at 17:44, Cory Conway, who has been a little quiet in this series so far, fired a bullet to leave the teams tied 5-5 after 40 minutes. The Shamrocks also held the lead in shots on goal by a margin of 18-12.

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Shamrocks Matt Vinc makes a save – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)

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Shamrocks goaltender Matt Vinc does more than just mind the net – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN) 

The Shamrocks kept rolling in the final period, Rhys Duch finding twine at 4:56, fighting off a check and spinning to bury his shot, giving the home team their first lead of the game. Transition speedster Karsen Leung picked up a rebound at 6:37 to make the score 7-5 Victoria. That was the end of MacDonald’s night in goal for the Thunder as he was replaced by Nick Rose. That didn’t bother the Shamrocks any as Tyler Hass picked up a shorthanded goal, again having success with the speed on transition at 8:24 to give the home team a 3-gopal lead. Langley replied at 10:02, Dane Dobbie scoring from well outside the dotted line. That was the last shot to elude Vinc in the Shamrocks’ net. Ben McCullough picked up an unassisted goal, going coast to coast at 11:25 and Carnegie collected his second of the contest for the Shamrocks at 12:18 to provide the margin of victory. The second half of the period was more or less a steady parade to the penalty box, even more so in the last 5 minutes.

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The battle for the ball gets a little rough – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)

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The Shamrocks and the crowd cheer for the sixth and go-ahead goal – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN) 

It was a much-needed win, no team wants to go into the other team’s building down 2-0 and even better for the Shamrocks to have their leader Scott Ranger in the line-up. Only Scott Carnegie had more than 1 goal as he contributed a pair. Jeff Shattler had a 4-point night on a goal and 3 helpers. Other goals came from Tyler Hass, Rhys Duch, Mitch Jones, Ben McCullough, Karsen Leung, Scott Ranger and Cory Conway. The Shamrocks had a huge edge in shots on goal, 55-38 and Matt Vinc, despite surrendering a few early goals was stronger late in the game and got great support from his defenders. The Rocks swept the three stars with Tyler Hass, Jeff Shattler and Scott Carnegie going 1-2-3.

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The battle for the ball gets a little rough – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)

For the Thunder, Garrett Billings led the way with a goal and 2 assists.

Game 3 in the series is almost a week away, next Wednesday in Langley at 7:45 with game 4 back at Bear Mountain Arena next Friday, August 23, again a 7:45 pm start.

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