June 13, 2014, Burnaby (ISN) – The Victoria Shamrocks went into Burnaby Friday night in what was billed as their greatest challenge to date and emerged with their undefeated record intact as they handed the Lakers a 13-10 loss.
Their record now stands at 6 wins and a tie, giving them 13 points, 5 ahead of the second place Maple Ridge Burrards. Burnaby and Langley hold down third place with 6 points but the Lakers hold a pair of games in hand.
Matt Flindell got the start in goal for Victoria, his 7th in the young season while Tyler Richards got the nod for the home Lakers. The teams played hard and fast right from the start with the Shamrocks outshooting Burnaby in the early going but nobody scored until just past the halfway mark of the opening period when Rhys Duch sent a bouncer to the back of the net at 10:26.
That started a barrage of scoring with Tyler Digby replying for the Lakers at 11:17, picking the top corner from well out. Ilija Gajic gave the home team the lead at 11:26, running across in front, that goal coming unassisted. Victoria captain Scott Ranger got the Rocks even less than a minute later, faking high and beating Richards low at 12:11.
The teams traded goals twice more, neither team capable of building any real momentum. Jason Jones restored the Burnaby lead with a shorthanded tally from right in close at 13:30 but Corey Small replied for the Shamrocks at 14:51, firing over his shoulder. And once more before the period ended, Gajic collected his second of the game with a hard low shot at 15:19 but Duch responded with his second at 18:10, right at the end of the 30-second clock. That was how the period ended, Victoria outshooting Burnaby 17-11 but the teams tied at 4-4.
The second period was much of the same but with a little emotion creeping in, much of it likely tied to the frustration of how the game was officiated. Victoria scored just 46 seconds in, Duch picking up a pass right in front. Gajic then collected his hat trick marker for the Lakers at 1:14 as he picked up a shovel pass and got the ball behind Flindell, who got a piece of it.
After Karsen Leung regained the lead for the Rocks with a hard overhand shot from the dotted line at 2:40, Burnaby got a pair from Digby, the first as he worked his way around the defender and scored from the side of the crease at 3:26 and then at 5:17 firing a high shot that eluded Flindell. As the battle see-sawed, the Shamrocks finally got a big of a run going, scoring three in a row.
Small picked up his second of the game at 6:32 on a quick stick, Greg Harnett than added an unassisted shorthanded marker at 8:11, picking up a loose ball and getting in alone. Chris Wardle increased Victoria’s lead to a pair when he gathered in a pass going to the net at 16:15, following a great Shamrock penalty kill.
Burnaby did manage to reduce the lead to a single goal with Digby’s power play goal at 16:48 off a rebound. The Lakers held the edge in shots on goal in the middle frame, 17-13 but were down by a goal on the scoreboard.
A Lakers power play goal got things going in period 3, Scott Jones firing a hard shot from the dotted line at 8:03. Things started going Victoria’s way after that as, once again, they went on a run with 4 unanswered goals. Duch scored on a bullet from the dotted line at 11:25 and rookie Wardle picked up his second of the game, going to the net at 13:26.
Ranger notched a power play goal going 5-hold on Richards at 14:43 and Karsen Leung’s speed on transition paid off when he went coast to coast off a loose ball and scored into the empty net at 17:06as Richards had gone to the bench for the extra attacker.
Former Jr. Shamrock Casey Jackson got one back for Burnaby with a quick stick from the side of the crease at 18:15 but it was too little too late as the Lakers lose for the second time this season.
Rhys Duch led the Shamrocks with 4 goals and 4 assists, but Corey Small led all scorers with a 10-point night on a pair of goals and 8 helpers. Chris Wardle and Scott Ranger each scored twice with Ranger also chipping in 3 helpers. Greg Harnett had the other Victoria goal and Matt Flindell made 35 saves to pick up his 6th victory of the season.
The Rocks are off for a week and return to the Q Centre a week from today, Friday, June 20 when they will host the New Westminster Salmonbellies in a 7:45 pm start. It will also be Alumni week and you can meet and talk to some of Victoria’s stars of the past at the pre-game tailgate party which starts at 5:30.