Written by Janice Huckin
June 23, 2014, Maple Ridge (ISN) – The Shamrocks kept their unbeaten streak alive Sunday with an 8-7 road win against the Maple Ridge Burrards. The Rocks got a tie in their season opener against the Nanaimo Timbermen but have since gone 8-0 to sit atop the WLA standings with 17 points.
Sunday saw rookie netminder and former Jr. Shamrock Cody Hagedorn get his first WLA start and he was solid. At the other end of the floor it was Frankie Scigliano between the pipes. It was the home Burrards taking the lead in the contest, Andrew Murphy getting the first two goals of the game, the first coming at 7:43 on the power play and the second at 12:26. The Shamrocks had the two Westwood brothers dressed so the general feeling was there would be fireworks but in the first period it was Victoria’s Greg Harnett and Maple Ridge’s Ryan McMichael coming together in a middleweight battle.
The consensus was that Harnett got the decision but both players were removed from the game with fighting majors and game misconducts. The heavyweight battle came later but first the home team took a 3-0 lead at 14:37 when Mitch Bannister scored an unassisted goal on a breakaway at 14:37. Brandon Bull got the Shamrocks on the scoreboard at 15:33 running across and that was how the first period ended, with Maple Ridge leading 3-1 and holding the edge in shots on goal by a 20-13 margin.
The Rocks’ offense got rolling in the middle frame but not before the aforementioned heavyweight battle between George Westwood of the Rocks and the Burrards’ Daniel Amesbury. It started when Hagedorn came out of his crease to play the ball and was hit by a Burrard; that brought Westwood off the bench and, despite being heavyweights the bout was more like Dancing With the Stars as both players did the strip tease and more or less danced around. The announcer declared it a draw and both players were banished. Westwood received 4 game misconducts as he had come off the bench and 2 majors.
Anyway, back to lacrosse as the melee did seem to get the Shamrocks going. Derek Lowe connected on a screened shot from well out at 3:55 to get the visitors within a goal and Mike Pires tied things up, again from well out, beating Scigliano 5-hole. Victoria took its first lead of the game at 7:54 when Jesse King went to the net and it was a lead the Shamrocks would not relinquish. At 8:51 Lowe picked up his second, picking the top corner, the third goal for the Rocks in a span of 1:48, all of them from well out. Maple Ridge battled back within a goal at 9:37 when Mike Mallory took an outside that got behind Hagedorn but Victoria added two more before the period ended.
Corey Small took the ball to the front of the net, spun around to find twine at 12:29 and King gathered his second of the night at 15:26 as he collected a pass right in front, faked and shot. That put the Shamrocks up 7-4 after 40 minutes.
Victoria created a 4-goal bulge with Bull’s second goal of the game 2:35 into the final period but then the offense seemed to sputter and that allowed Maple Ridge to respond with 3 straight goals, one of which came on the power play and one shorthanded. Ben McIntosh got in close to score an even strength goal at 3:51 and Riley Loewen added another at 6:59 on a shorthanded breakaway to get within a pair. Play went up and down the floor with both goaltenders playing very well. The Burrards got a power play goal, the second of the game from Mike Mallory at 13:37 but Victoria’s young goaltender battened down the hatch, making some stellar saves late in the contest as his teammates used the clock to good advantage when they had possession.
Brandon Bull and Jesse King each had 2 goals and 2 assists for the Shamrocks, receiving third and firs star honours, while Derek Lowe also had a pair of goals and 1 helper. Singles came from Mike Pires and Corey Small and Scott Ranger had 2 assists. Cody Hagedorn made 36 saves in his first ever start at the Sr. level.
The result leaves Victoria 7 points ahead of the Burrards, Burnaby Lakers and Langley Thunder to round out the top 4. These two teams match up again at the Q Centre next Friday, June 28 at 7:45. It’s family night with special rates for family units so come early to get your favourite seat.