Written by Janice Huckin – Photos by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
August 30, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – It was a full house at Bear Mountain Arena Thursday for game 6 of the WLA semi final series between the Langley Thunder and the Victoria Shamrocks.
The place was jumping from the opening faceoff to the final whistle as the Rocks have won the series and the right to host the Six Nations Chiefs in the Mann Cup, handing the Thunder an 8-3 loss.
In what was probably a surprise to most Victoria fans, Langley started Nick Rose in goal while it was Matt Vinc continuing in the Shamrocks crease. The Rocks got on the board first when team captain Scott Ranger fired a hard low shot from close in at 4:40. Shortly after that, Langley started their shenanigans. With Jeff Shattler assessed a minor penalty at 7:11, Langley called for a measurement on some part of Vinc’s equipment. When he emerged from the tunnel with his arms in the air, the Thunder were penalized 2 minutes for delay of game. Langley managed to tie things up late in the period, Mark Matthews finding twine at 19:20, that goal coming shorthanded. The crowd was treated to some great ragging on a Victoria penalty kill by Karsen Leung just prior to the Langley goal. That was how the period ended, 1-1 on the scoreboard and a 14-12 advantage in shots on goal for the visitors.
Shamrocks Scott Carnegie makes off with the ball – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
Thunder’s Mark Matthews doesn’t have much time to think before he has to rid himself of the ball – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
While we were wondering if we would be watching and suffering through another 4-3 type game, the Shamrocks came to life early in period 2, notching 3 goals in a span of just over 2 minutes to tell us ‘NO!’. First Tyler Burton grabbed a loose ball off a transition trip up the floor and capitalized at 2:40. At 3:16 it was Mitch Jones scoring on a quick-stick in close and at 4:47, Rhys Duch let fly a howitzer to score unassisted and opening up a 4-1 lead. That was the end of Nick Rose’s night as he was replaced by Brodie MacDonald between the pipes for Langley. At 8:58, Victoria got an unassisted power play goal from the stick of Greg Harnett and another break off transition found Matt Yager in deep and he made no mistake at the 15:50 mark. Langley again managed to reply late, Athan Iannucci scoring on a hard shot from the dotted line at 16:47. After 40 minutes, the home team had a 6-2 lead.
Shamrocks Derek Lowe protects the ball while contemplating his next move – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
Players struggle to gain the loose ball – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
Period 3 was played at a slower pace, the Shamrocks picking up the first goal of the period at 3:09 when Jeff Shatter made a sneak foray to the front of the net and connected with a quick-stick after another strong Victoria penalty kill. The Thunder got their ‘goal of the period’ at the 10:23 mark, Garrett Billings getting the ball behind Vinc, after he got a piece of it. A power play goal off the stick of Ranger, his second of the game at 14:44 put the game away. The fans were on their feet for the last 2 minutes of the game as the Shamrocks simply used the clock and stayed solid defensively.
Physical words are exchanged and penalties are served – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
The Victoria Shamrocks are the BC Provincial Champions – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
There was not a lot of scoring in the contest but Scott Ranger had a pair for the victorious Shamrocks. Jeff Shattler and Greg Harnett each had a goal and 2 helpers with other goals coming from Rhys Duch, Matt Yager, and Tyler Burton, the ‘d’ guys coming up big again at the other end of the floor. Matt Vinc kicked out 34 of the 37 shots he faced.
A standing ovation of fans cheer for the Shamrocks as they move on to the Mann Cup – Photo by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
The win secures for the Shamrocks the right to host the Mann Cup. The opening game will be played next Friday, September 6 with other games to follow on the 7th, 9th, 10th, and if necessary 11th, 13th, 14th. This will be the first time hosting the Canadian championship since 2005 although the Rocks did make an appearance in Peterborough in 2006, falling to the Lakers in that series.