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Written by Janice Huckin – Photos by Kasey Eriksen (ISN) 

August 24, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Friday’s game 4 of the semi final series between the Victoria Shamrocks and Langley Thunder was one for the ages. Despite combining for 93 shots through regulation time, it took overtime for the home team to come away with a 4-3 win to tie the series at 2 games apiece.

Goaltenders were Matt Vinc for the Shamrocks and the Thunder returning to Brodie MacDonald after starting Nick Rose in game 3. The first goal didn’t go up on the big scoreboard until 13:05 and it was Cory Conway connecting unassisted to put the Rocks up by 1. Langley replied at 14:24 when Brett Mydske got in close on a delayed penalty call with the extra attacker on the floor. The visitors took the lead at 16:57 when Alex Turner capitalized on some sloppy Victoria play and transitioned the ball down the floor. That was all the scoring in period 1. The Shamrocks didn’t get their first shot on goal until almost 10 minutes in, although they fired several shots near the goal, and trailed in that stat by a 14-10 margin after 20 minutes.

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Thunder’s Garrett Billings chases Shamrocks Scott Carnegie for the ball – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)

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Shamrocks Rhys Duch keeps the ball in his stick no matter how tough the challenge – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN) 

Langley opened a 2-goal lead in the middle frame but that didn’t happen until the 17:44 mark as both goaltenders were on their game. Again it was defender Brett Mydske finding twine and that goal came after a hapless Victoria power play. Conway got his second of the game for the home team at 19:17, firing a hard shot from outside the dotted line to the back of the net. After 2 periods, there was not much to choose between the teams as the visitors had the 3-2 lead but the Rocks had surpassed them in shots on goal, 22-13 in the period and 32-27 overall.

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Shamrocks Scott Ranger eyes a teammate waiting for the pass – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)

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Players scramble for the loose ball – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN) 

On the third (and sometimes final) period and the diminishing number of goals continued. There was only 1 scored but it came from Victoria’s Rhys Duch at 5:55, on the power play as he fired a bullet from well out. Both goaltenders were outstanding the rest of the way as the Shamrocks again outshot the visitors 20-14 and we were going into overtime.

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Shamrocks Dylan Evans minds his back as he runs with the ball – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN) 

Overtime is a 10-minute period after a 2-minute break and Shamrocks captain Scott Ranger got the capacity crowd on its collective feet as he gathered in a rebound and beat MacDonald at 2:09. It was the only time the Shamrocks held the lead but it’s really much more important to have it at the end of the game than any other time. That was all there was in the goal-scoring department. The Thunder had one more trick up their sleeve. With 17 seconds left on the clock they asked for a measurement of Jeff Shattler’s stick. Yes, really, they did. Not only was the stick found to be legal, resulting in a delay of game to Langley but they compounded the issue with an unsportsmanlike penalty to Mark Matthews who apparently couldn’t believe it and had things to say to the officials.

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Thunder’s Dane Dobbie battles hard to keep the ball in his stick – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)

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The Shamrocks take the win evening out the series at 2-2 – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN) 

Each team had 9 shots on goal in the extra period but the Shamrocks fans went home happy and hope the momentum will carry their team to a road victory on Sunday. In any event there will be another game at Bear Mountain Arena as game 6 is scheduled for next Thursday, August 29.

Cory Conway had 2 goals and an assist for the Shamrocks and garnered third star honours. Rhys Duch and Scott Ranger had the others. Matt Vinc held the Shamrocks in the game early, kicked out 47 shots and was named first star.

For Langley it was Reid Mydske with a pair of goals and Alex Turner with the other. Goaltender Brodie MacDonald made 57 saves to be named second star of the game.