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By Janice Huckin, Photos by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)

September 9, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Game 3 of the 2013 Mann Cup was another battle but, although the Six Nations had the drummers, the Shamrocks dominated in the opening period, jumping out to a 6-1 lead and holding on for an 8-6 win after the visitors rallied for 4 goals in the final period.

Quick starts have been hard to come by for the Shamrocks, especially in the post season, but it wasn’t a problem Monday. Starting goaltenders were Matt Vinc for the Rocks and Evan Kirk for the Chiefs. Jeff Shattler kept right on rolling from where he left off in game 2, scoring the first Shamrocks goal of the game at 4:05, getting in close. At 5:32, Cory Conway opened up a 2-goal lead when he fired a hard shot from just outside the dotted line through traffic. Just 24 seconds later Kasey Beirnes drew the visitors within a goal with a high hard shot but after that, it was all Shamrocks. Conway picked up his second at 11:06, a bullet that found the back of the net. At 11:59, Mitch Jones tallied on a backhander in close and it was 4-2 Shamrocks. Conway followed up with a first-period hat trick marker at 17:42 on another shot from the dotted line. At that, the crowd bid a fond good-night to Six Nations goaltender Kirk as he was replaced by Brandon Miller. He was welcomed by Karsen Leung who went coast to coast to score an unassisted goal off transition at 18:11 and that was how the first period ended. Shots on goal were 17-12 in favour of the Shamrocks and more importantly they were up 6-2 on the scoreboard.

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A Shamrocks fan starts to cheer during the first face-off. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen / Island Sports News)

The visitors opened scoring in the middle frame, Steven Keogh picking the top corner with a hard shot just 58 seconds in. That was the only goal until late in the period when Shattler connected for his second of the contest at 19:28. That allowed the home team to hold onto the 5-goal lead after 40 minutes and they again had a slight edge in shots, by a margin of 18-15.

With the partisan standing room crowd right into the game, the Rocks got a goal from captain Scott Ranger just 1:25 into the final period as he picked up a rebound, went around the net to find twine. Of course the game isn’t over after 41:25 and the Six Nations team made sure the Rocks knew it as they scored 4 unanswered goals. The first 3 came in pretty close succession early in the period. Cody Jamieson notched a power play marker at 2:50. Roger Vyse followed up just 23 seconds later to close the gap to 4 goals as there seemed to be a bit of a letdown in intensity on the Shamrocks’ part. At 5:49 Keogh picked up his second of the game for the visitors. With lots of time still left, the result could have been in doubt. But it wasn’t. The Shamrocks defense and in particularly Vinc shut the door as they were outshot 16-11 in the period. Late in the period, Victoria got a pair of penalties just 9 seconds apart but they were able to keep the Chiefs off the board with some outstanding saves and penalty killing. The Chiefs did manage to get a late goal with their goaltender on the bench for the extra attacker as Beirnes collected his second at 19:04. Following the faceoff Karsen Leung ran the ball for the final 50 seconds of the game to preserve the win.

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Shamrocks Matt Vinc gets himself involved in the game by running away with the ball. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen / Island Sports News)

There are some things fans aren’t used to seeing at this level of the game. Well, maybe we are used to it, more’s the pity – and that is the level of officiating is not up to the level of play. Because this is a Canadian championship, it makes sense to have officials from both leagues and there is one here from Ontario. You can tell. He isn’t wearing the turquoise jersey – but you can tell. On the other hand, fans may be hard pressed to identify some of the play by Six Nations as lacrosse. I’m not sure if many of them might be lumberjacks in their working life; they could do well at it.

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Shamrocks Cory Conway celebrates one of his goals along with Mitch Jones. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen / Island Sports News) 

In any event it was great to see Cory Conway step up and finish the game with 3 goals. Jeff Shattler was outstanding, being named the Victoria player of the game for the second straight game with a pair of goals and 4 assists for another 6-point night. Mitch Jones, Scott Ranger and Karsen Leung had the other Shamrocks goals, Jones also adding a pair of helpers. Matt Vinc was stellar in goal, especially in the late going with the double penalties and the Chiefs pulling the goalie for the extra attacker. As they have done all year, the defense played great – Jon and Greg Harnett, Dan MacRae, everyone on the ‘d’ side of the ball was strong.

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Chiefs Stephen Keough breaks away from  Shamrocks Greg Harnett and Tyler Burton, with the ball still in his grasp. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen / Island Sports News)

Steven Keogh and Kasey Beirnes each had a pair of goals for the Chiefs, with singles from Roger Vyse and Cody Jamieson. Colin Doyle had 4 helpers and Jesse Gamble finished with 2 assists and was named the Six Nations player of the game for his hustle and playmaking. You certainly could have made a case for relief goalie Brandon Miller for player of the game as he kicked out 28 of the 31 shots he faced in just over 2 periods of play.

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Shamrocks coach Bob Heyes and assistant coach Art Webster  hope that the refs had seen what they had seen. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen / Island Sports News)

No rest for the wicked as they say (or the Shamrocks either) as game 4 goes Tuesday at 7:00 pm at Bear Mountain Arena.