July 9, 2014, Victoria (ISN) – In the first of two late-season match-ups between the Intermediate ‘A’ Shamrocks and their island rivals, the Nanaimo Timbermen it was the host Shamrocks coming up with a 13-8 win Tuesday at the Q Centre. It was typical of most Victoria-Nanaimo match-ups – gritty and definitely not pretty.
Apollo Claxton started in goal for Victoria with Saanich product Nolan Tytgat between the pipes for the visitors. Victoria got a couple of quick goals early, the first coming on the power play at 3:29 as Brad McCulley fired a hard shot from the dotted line at 3:29. At 3:58 Guy Cullen made it 2-0 on a bouncer from fairly close in. Nanaimo replied at 8:23 with a power play of their own at 8:23, Nathan Harmsworth getting in close on a run. There were only 3 penalties in the opening frame, Nanaimo had 2 of them and the Rocks went up 3-1 on their second man advantage, Colten Merilainen converting some quick passes into a goal at 12:21. That was how the period ended, with the home team holding a slight edge.
The Rocks also got thing going in period 2, Merilainen tallying just 1:26 on a delayed penalty call with the extra attacker on the floor, firing from the dotted line. Nanaimo was seriously trying not to let the game get out of hand and responded at 2:55 with a goal from Alec Moldander, as he cut to the net.
The home team finally got some wheels rolling as they rattled off the next 3 goals in the middle frame. Merilainen collected his hat trick marker at 7:05 from in close. Braylon Lumb added to the lead at 7:58 with a shot that went off the goaltender and into the net. McCulley then added another power play marker, his second of the night, at 13:34, cutting to the net and converting a pass.
Nanaimo got a pair back before the period ended, Chris Branting scoring from outside the dotted line at 18:32 and Jake Mickelson getting in close to find twine at 19:23. The home team still held the lead, 7- from in close. Braylon Lumb added to the lead at 7:58 with a shot that went off the goaltender and into the net. McCulley then added another power play marker, his second of the night, at 13:34, cutting to the net and converting a pass. Nanaimo got a pair back before the period ended, Chris Branting scoring from outside the dotted line at 18:32 and Jake Mickelson getting in close to find twine at 19:23. The home team still held the lead, 7-4 after 40 minutes.
The third period saw 10 goals scored altogether, Nanaimo being assessed all the penalties in the period. The T’Men did start the third period scoring at 1:56 Cody Clark connecting with a hard shot. Merilainen, having an outstanding night offensively, scored his fourth of the game at 2:26, shooting from the dotted line. It looked like the teams were just going to trade goals when Nanaimo got one back at 2:48, making it 3 goals in 52 seconds but starting at 7:29, the Rocks got another 3-goal run started as Lumb picked up a pair of power play goals at 7:29 and 10:27 to put the home team up 10-6.
Nick Preston cut to the net to increase the gap to 5 goals at 10:56. The teams did trade goals to the end of the period, Nanaimo getting goals from Harmswrth and Josh Steward while McCulley picked up his hat trick goal and call-up Jack Kendall added the final goal for the Rocks. The Shamrocks also gave intermediate call-up Dakota Kasper a shot in goal for the last 5 minutes or so. He allowed a goal on the first shot he faced, but came back strong to make several big saves in the dying moments in his first intermediate ‘A’ action.
Most of Victoria’s scoring came from 4 players. Colten Merilainen led the way unofficially with 4 goals and 4 assists. Brad McCulley had 3 goals and 3 helpers and Braylon Lumb also had the hat trick. Singles came from Guy Cullen, Jack Kendall and Nick Preston who also chipped in 7 assists for an 8-point night. Preston’s younger brother, Ben also played as a call-up and picked up a pair of assists, as did Kurtis Young.
Next up for the Intermediate Shamrocks is a pair of home games this weekend. Due to the unavailability of the Q Centre, both games will be played at the Westhills Arena at City Centre Park. Saturday at 1:30 the Rocks will host the Richmond Roadrunners and Sunday at 1:30 the visitors will be the New Westminster Salmonbellies. The Shamrocks are still looking to finish in the top 4 to have home floor advantage in the playoffs so every win is big. They will finish the regular season on the road in Nanaimo next Wednesday, July 15.