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By Janice Huckin, Photos by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)

September 10, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – On a night when a victory would have given the Victoria Shamrocks a stranglehold in the Mann Cup series against the Six Nations Chiefs, fans were left to wonder where they were, as they came out flat and pretty much stayed that way, going down to an 8-3 defeat and allowing the Chiefs to even the series at two games apiece.

Once again it was Matt Vinc starting in goal for the Shamrocks but the Chiefs went with Brandon Miller who allowed only 3 goals in relief in game 3 in about 42 minutes of play. It turned out to be a good choice for the visitors. The Shamrocks got off to a good start, Rhys Duch getting to the net and finding twine at 6:14. That lead lasted a little over 4 minutes before the visitors tied the score with a hard bouncer from the dotted line off the stick of Cody Jamieson. He followed that up with the second of 3 on the night, that one coming on an almost identical shot but unassisted at 14:44. Jeff Shattler, who was the Shamrocks’ player of the game in the previous 2 contests, scored on a quick stick at 17:06 and that was how the first period went into the books. The score was tied 2-2 and the Chiefs held the edge in shots on goal by a 20-11 margin. Definitely not the start the Shamrocks and their fans were hoping for.


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Chiefs Jesse Gamble and Shamrocks Tyler Hass take a tumble while scrambling for the loose ball.  (Photo: Kasey Eriksen / Island Sports News)

It was a low scoring game and Six Nations picked up the only 3 goals of the middle frame. Jamieson got his hat trick marker at 4:15. Colin Doyle added a power play goal from the dotted line at 6:39 and Colin Boucher contributed an unassisted goal on a breakaway at 16:01. The Rocks did have the edge in shots on goal by the slimmest of margins 17-16 but they were down 5-2 on the board. Unfortunately, as in the previous Victoria loss, nobody was penetrating offensively and shots were hitting Miller pretty solidly.


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Shamrocks Tyler Burton battles hard for the ball that is tucked away in Chiefs Cody Jamieson’s stick. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen / Island Sports News)

Hoping to give his team a lift, defender Jon Harnett went coast to coast to score an unassisted shorthanded goal for the home team at 2:48. Let me just say something about the penalty that put the Shamrocks shorthanded in the first place. Tyler Hass, making a scoring attempt was slammed into the Chiefs goaltender. He was assessed a 5-minute high sticking penalty and a game misconduct. Unfortunately, the Chiefs also scored while that penalty was being served. Steven Keogh picked up a pair of power play goals, the first coming at 3:20 and the second at 4:26. They added another goal late in the game, Kedoh Hill scoring at 14:58.


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The Shamrocks celebrate Jeff Shattler’s tying goal. The game now sits at two each. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen / Island Sports News)

The Shamrocks definitely didn’t play well enough to win – for the team purported to be the younger and quicker, they didn’t look it. Six Nations won loose ball battles and ran their behinds off. The refereeing was at best inconsistent (surprise!!) and at worst, brutal. It will be interesting to see how the off-floor officials will deal with a fight late in the game. Of course, the CLA issued an edict that there will be no fighting. But tonight there was, as Chiefs’ stickman Rory Smith received a 2-minute illegal equipment penalty, a 5-minute major for fighting and a game misconduct for each infraction. Victoria’s Tory Gardner received 5 for fighting and a game misconduct for fighting. Incidentally there wasn’t a clear victor in the fight from what I could see.


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A spectator pulls back slightly as a battle for the loose ball happens right under her nose. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen / Island Sports News)

Victoria’s best player was goaltender Matt Vinc and he was named the Rocks’ player of the game. He did get relief from Matt Flindell late in the contest as he didn’t face a shot and spent most of his time running to the bench for the extra attacker. You may have been able to make a case for some of the ‘d’ guys – Jon Harnett, Karsen Leung again playing pretty well. I have a theory that perhaps the Shamrocks should only wear their home white jerseys in the series; they certainly have played better in them thus far.


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Chiefs goaltender Brandon Miller manages to stop Shamrocks Blair Pinnock from scoring. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen / Island Sports News) 

Six Nations got the hat trick from Cody Jamieson. Steven Keogh finished with a pair and singles came from Colin Doyle, Kedoh Hill and Colin Boucher. The player of the game for the Chiefs was, without a doubt, their goaltender Brandon Miller who stopped 47 of the 50 shots he faced and, in 5 periods plus has allowed the Shamrocks just 6 goals.

Tonight’s result makes the Mann Cup a best-of-three with game 5 coming up tomorrow (Wednesday) at 7:00. A game 6 is now also necessary which will be played Friday, also a 7:00 start.