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June 21, 2014, Victoria (ISN) – The Shamrocks held on to their unbeaten record Friday at the Q Centre but only by a whisker as they took a second period 10-3 lead and allowed the visiting New Westminster Salmonbellies to dominate in the third period, outscoring them 7-1.

Shamrocks Matt Yager keeps the ball moving while keeping his eye on the game. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

That allowed the home team to escape with an 11-10 victory in front of close to a full house as the team honoured alumni players, coaches and management from each of their 6 decades of lacrosse here in Victoria.

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It was an awesome turnout for Alumni Night. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)


The Shamrocks started Matt Flindell in goal for the 8th straight game and it was newcomer Alexis Buque in the crease at the Bellies’ end of the floor as the visitors were playing their second game in as many nights, coming off an 11-9 loss against Nanaimo.  Victoria got on the board first, Jesse King returning from injury to score unassisted just 48 seconds in, grabbing a rebound and firing a backhander to the back of the net. 

New West came back with a pair, both off the stick of Sean Lundstrom, the first at 4:01 off a loose ball and the second at 6:38, beating Flindell with a high hard shot.  That was the only lead the visitors would have.  At 8:24 Scott Ranger drew the Rocks even, getting in close and picking a top corner, that goal coming on a power play.  

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Shamrocks Karsen Leung is after Salmonbellies #16 for the ball. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

Greg Harnett scored a rare goal at 16:05 to regain the Shamrocks’ lead, the shot trickling over the goal line.  Brandon Bull made it 4-2 for the boys in green at 17:57, acting like a bull to get to the front of the net and King picked up his second of the contest at 19:37, giving his team the 5-2 lead after the first period.

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Shamrocks Jesse King chalks up 5 goals and 2 assists. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

The home team kept the run going in period 2, Corey Small scoring 25 seconds into the frame, an outside shot that beat Buque to the stick side.  Less than a minute later, at 1:19 Ranger picked up his second of the night, giving a bit of a fake in close.  Making it 8-2, King found the back of the net for his hat trick marker at 8:12, going over top of the Bellies’ goaltender. 

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Salmonbellies Scott MacDonald does all he can to get the ball from Shamrocks Dhys Duch. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

New Westminster finally solved Flindell for the third time, Colton Clark firing from the dotted line to the far side of the net at the 10-minute mark.  Off the ensuing faceoff, however, Karsen got that one back for the home team, that goal credited at 10:05.  The Shamrocks rounded out the second period scoring at 13:26 when King picked up his fourth on the power play, picking the top corner.  Shots on goal after 40 minutes favoured the Shamrocks 40-20 and it showed on the scoreboard.

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Salmonbellies Kyle Robinson, and Shamrocks Scott Ranger keep their eye on the play. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

It looked like the Rocks had things well in hand but one thing you can be sure about in the WLA is that you really can’t be sure of anything on a given night.  In the third period it looked more like it was Victoria playing on the second of back-to-back nights instead of the visitors. 

The Bellies jumped out with a power play marker at 2:16 from Richard Lachlan.  They added another on the same power play at 2:42, Sean Robinson getting the job done as they had 3 minutes of extra man play courtesy of a 5-minute major to Victoria vs a 2-minute minor to New West.  Victoria got one back at 4:13, King’s fifth of the game on a bouncer in close but that was the only one they would manage in the final 20 minutes. 

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Salmonbellies Sean Robinson joins Matt Flindell in net, but only temporarily. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

Jeff Cornwall got a shorthanded unassisted tally at 5:09 and the Bellies kept on rolling, Lachlan adding his second of the game at 8:36, Matt MacKenzie followed.up with another at 9:52 to narrow the gap to 3 goals.  Keegan Bal found the top corner behind Flindell at 15:42 and Jordan McBride got the Bellies within a single goal at 18:21 with the goaltender off for the extra attacker.  That was as close as they would get as Flindell made a couple of key saves and the offense held onto the ball to kill the clock and emerge with the 1-goal victory.

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Shamrocks Rhys Duch races down the floor with the ball. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

Jesse King led the Shamrocks’ offense with 5 goals and 2 assists while Scott Ranger added a pair of goals and 3 helpers as they picked up first and second star honours respectively.  Karsen Leung, Corey Small and Greg Harnett each picked up a goal and 2 assists with Brandon Bull also scoring once.  Rhys Duch had 3 assists.

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Tempers flare but are quickly controlled. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

For the Bellies it was Keegan Bal leading the way with a goal and 6 assists for a 7-point night, while Robert Lachlan and Sean Lundstrom each had 2 goals and 1 helper.  Goaltender Alexis Buque kicked out 43 of the 54 shots he faced to be named the game’s third star.

The result leaves Victoria in first place with 15 points, while a Burnaby victory over Maple Ridge in the other Friday night game has those two teams tied for second place with 10 points.  Langley holds down fourth spot with 8 points, followed by Nanaimo with 5, Coquitlam and New Westminster trailing with just 4 points each.

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The Victoria Shamrocks take the 11-10 win. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

The Shamrocks are on the road Sunday to face Maple Ridge and return to the Q Centre next Friday where they will take on those same Burrards in a 7:45 pm start.