By Janice Huckin
August 26, 2013, Victoria Shamrocks (ISN) – The Shamrocks knew they would have to win a game on the road to win their series against the Langley Thunder. They made their move to take away home floor advantage by winning game 5 Sunday in the Langley Events Center 11-8.
Matt Vinc and Brodie MacDonald got the starts in goal for Victoria and Langley respectively. First periods have been a problem for the Rocks but not tonight. Like game 1, it took a while before any scoring took place but it was Cory Conway scoring on a power play at 12:06, firing a shot to the top corner of the net. Exactly 2 minutes later, Mitch Jones put the Shamrocks up by a pair, again going high on MacDonald. Langley replied with a power play marker of their own, from the edge of the crease off the stick of Dane ‘Diver’ Dobbie at 16:54. Brody Eastwood, who was thought to be returning to school, restored the 2-goal Victoria lead at 18:25. The Thunder did manage to get back within 1 before the period ended as Jr. call-up Steven Neufeld found twine with 1 tick left on the clock. That sent the Shamrocks to the dressing room with a 3-2 lead, after outshooting the Thunder 22-13.
Unlike game 4, goals came early and often in the middle frame. Dobbie got the home team even at the 25-second mark, in close (or possibly in crease) but it counted. The Shamrocks got a 3-on-2 break and defender Jon Harnett converted some quick passes at 1:12 to regain the lead. They went up again by a pair when Scott Ranger scored on a quick stick fron the edge of the crease at 2:35. Mark Matthews started a 3-goal run for the Thunder, just after the expiration of a power play at 6:06. Garrett Billings tied things up at the 7-minute mark with a hard rising shot from well out and Langley got their first – and last – lead of the game on a low shovel shot in close from Brett Mydske at 8:15. Victoria rebounded with a 3-goal run of their own to finish the second period scoring. Right off the faceoff the ball found a streaking-to-the-net Brody Eastwood who picked up his second goal of the night at 8:25. Mitch Jones picked up his second at 16:41 when he found himself in all alone shorthanded. And the Rocks took a page out of Langley’s book with a late goal from Dan MacRae with just 10 seconds left on the clock as MacDonald got a piece but not enough. Again the visitors had the edge in shots on goal by a 20-17 margin and they had a 2-goal lead on the scoreboard, 8-6.
Things were looking pretty good for the Shamrocks when they scored the first goal of period 3 at 9:41 when Conway picked up his second of the night with a hard, low shot from well out. Langley almost made the comeback, getting the next 2 goals. Adam Jones connected at 15:07 and Athan Iannucci got the Thunder back within 1 at 15:26, again a goal perilously close to being within the crease. Time was becoming the enemy and Langley decided to pull their goaltender for the extra attacker. Tyler Hass scored from center floor as MacDonald was trying to get back into the net at 16:33 and Cory Conway ran around the floor with the ball for a while before getting it to Mitch Jones who fired into the empty net for his hat trick marker at 19:11. That provided all the Shamrocks would need as they outshot the Thunder 60-43 overall.
Mitch Jones led the Shamrocks with the hat-trick but Cory Conway continued where he left off on Friday with a 5-point night on a pair of goals and 3 helpers and Brody Eastwood also scored twice. Tyler Hass had a goal and 3 assists while Jeff Shattler also got a 4-point night, all assists. Other goals came from Dan MacRae, Jon Harnett, and Scott Ranger. Conway and Shattler were named first and third stars of the contest respectively. Matt Vinc had another strong outing between the pipes and I’m sure Victoria fans and coaching staff were happy to see some scoring in the first period.
For the Thunder, only Dane Dobbie had more than a single goal, tallying twice. Garrett Billings had a goal and 5 assists and was named the game’s second star.
The series returns to Bear Mountain Arena Thursday for game 6 when the Shamrocks can wrap up the series. Game time is 7:45 pm.