June 6, 2014, Victoria (ISN) – The Shamrocks remain unbeaten early in the new season as they came from behind to beat the New Westminster Salmonbellis 9-7 on the mainland Thursday.
The Rocks were down 4-3 after the first period but rallied for 5 straight goals in the middle frame before giving up a late goal to hold an 8-5 lead after 40 minutes and held on for the victory.
Matt Flindell started in goal for Victoria with Alex Buque between the pipes at the New West end of the floor. It was the home town Salmonbellies getting on the scoreboard first, as Martin Cummings got in close to beat Flindell just 28 seconds in, 6 seconds into a power play after an early penalty to Victoria’s Rhys Duch.
Duch atoned when he got that one back for Victoria before the game was a minute old as he made the hidden ball trick pay off at the 58-second mark. Cummings picked up his second of the night on the second New West shot at 2:01, The Bellies opened up a 2-goal lead with a long low bouncer off the stick of Jordan McBride, unassisted at 3:16.
Play was fast but no other goals went up on the board until a power play goal from Duch, one of his long hard shots from outside the dotted line at 14:45. Karsen Leung, in his first game of the season after a good year with the NLL’s Calgary Roughnecks, collected a long pass from Tyler Burton on a break down the floor and beat Buque at 15:32 to tie things up. The tie didn’t last very long, however, as New Westminster replied 18 seconds later, McBride getting his second of the night by dumping the ball over top of Flindell. That gave the home team a 4-3 lead after the first period with shots slightly favouring Victoria by a 17-14 margin.
The Shamrocks came out with some intensity in period 2, rattling off 5 straight goals coming with Derek Lowe’s tally from well out just 50 seconds in. The Rocks then got into some penalty trouble but the Bellies couldn’t make them pay.
Late into a 5-minute penalty kill, Corey Small added to his league-leading total with a shorthanded goal at 5:19. He added a power play goal at 6:36 with a quick stick from the side of the crease to give the Shamrocks their first lead of the game. Tyler Hass added to that lead with a quick spin-around in front, another shorthanded marker unassisted at 9:18.
Chris Wardle made it 8-4 Shamrocks as he collected his first goal as a senior, scoring despite being knocked down from behind at 15:12, that goal coming on the power play. New Westminster finally stopped the Victoria run when Colton Clark got a power play marker at 18:55. That gave the visitors an 8-5 lead after 40 minutes.
As Victoria did early in period 3, it was the Bellies responding early in the final frame, scoring two early goals to decrease the lead to a single goal. At 1:30 a power play goal from Cummings, his hat trick marker, beat Flindell to the far side and at 2:32 McBride picked up his third with a bit of a floater that fooled Flindell.
Hass added his second for the Rocks at 4:04, grabbing a pass one-handed and making no mistake to bury a shot to the top shelf and restoring a 2-goal lead that stood up through the remaining 15:56. New West did pull their goaltender late but were unable to get any closer.
Rhys Duch, Tyler Hass and Corey Small each had a pair of goals to lead the Shamrocks with Small also contributing 3 helpers. Singles came from rookie Chris Wardle, Karsen Leung and Derek Lowe. Matt Flindell settled down after allowing 3 early goals, making 33 saves to get the win. Duch and Hass were named the game’s first and third stars respectively.
For the Salmonbellies, Jordan McBride and Martin Cummings both had hat-tricks with McBride adding 3 assists to pick up second star honours. The other goal came from Colton Clark who also chipped in 2 helpers.
The result solidifies Victoria’s hold on first place in the league with 7 points, 3 ahead of Burnaby, New Westminster, Langley and Maple Ridge who they will play host to Friday at the Q Centre in a game beginning at 7:45 pm.