Shamrocks roll to win in game 3

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August 10, 2014, Victoria (ISN) – In a reversal of previous games, the Shamrocks jumped out to a first period 5-0 lead in game 3 Sunday at the Q Centre against the New Westminster Salmonbellies and held on for an 11-8 win and a 3-0 series lead.

Shamrocks’ Jesse King loses the ball while breaking away from the boards. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

The same two goaltenders got the start – Matt Flindell for the Shamrocks and Alexis Buque for the Bellies. The Rocks have gotten off to slow starts in the first two games but they got a jump with their first goal just 39 seconds in when Rhys Duch fired a hard shot that went off Buque and into the net. That was a power play goal – the first penalty called just 24 seconds into the game. 

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Shamrocks’ Karsen Leung scores on Alexis Buque. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

The home team made it 2-0 at 4:14 when Karsen Leung used his outstanding speed to go coast to coast and score unassisted. At 7:25 Chris Wardle notched another off a rebound right in front and just 21 seconds later, another goal came as a result of great transition speed, Tyler Hass scoring unassisted. The home team opened up a 5-0 lead at 13:51 on another tranny goal, Leung collecting his second from Hass and Greg Harnett. That was how the period ended, the crowd very happy with the 5-0 start to the game. The Shamrocks held the edge in shots on goal, 17-12 and Matt Flindell was looking very comfortable between the pipes. 

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Shamrocks’ Tyler Burton wins the face-off. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

When they should have kept their collective pedal to the metal, the Shamrocks seemed to ease up a bit, or maybe the Salmonbellies had another shot of caffeine as they took the second period with 6 goals while allowing just 3. The Bellies opened the scoring at the 48-second mark, Jr. ‘A’ call-up Josh Byrne connecting on a hard shot from the dotted line. They got another at 1:38 when Jordan McBride shot through traffic. 

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Shamrocks’ Dhane Smith braces himself against the pressure of Salmonbellies’ Jesse Fehr. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

Victoria’s power play responded at 2:18, Scott Ranger finishing off some great ball control. The visitors bounced back with a couple more, the first off the stick of Keegan Bal at 3:21 on a last-second shot in the 30-second shot clock. Colten Clark closed the gap to a pair at 7:15 when he walked in unchecked. The Bellies got themselves into more penalty trouble and, while the Shamrocks power play struggled in the regular season, that has not been the case in playoffs as they rattled off two more power play goals. 

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Jesse King and Kyle Ross tumble over each other. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

At 7:56, Corey Small connected, although Buque got a piece. Small picked up his second, also with the man advantage at 10:54 off some great loose ball work. Before the period ended, New West got another pair. At 11:42 McBride got his second, although he did appear to be in the crease. Just 7 seconds later Jesse Fehr picked up an unassisted goal off the faceoff and that sent Flindell to the bench in favour of rookie Cody Hagedorn. It looked as if Flindell might be prepared to come back in but Hagedorn was solid in stopping several shots through the last half of the period and he remained between the pipes. Shots on goal were even at 19 apiece in the middle period. 

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Ben McCullough reluctantly heads off to the penalty box. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

There was very little scoring in the final frame. Victoria opened the scoring at 1:43 with Duch getting his second of the game, getting in close and putting the ball over top of Buque. The next goal didn’t come until the 11:36 mark and it was Bal getting his second for the visitors with the goaltender on the bench for the extra attacker. The Rocks came back with a pair, Jesse King beating Buque with a high, hard shot at 12:54 from outside the dotted line. Duch collected the hat trick with a low laser shot at 15:26 and from there the Shamrocks tried to run the clock as much as they could. New West did manage one before the period ended, Bal with the hat trick goal at 17:47 but that was as close as they could get and they are looking at a VERY long road back, down 3 games to none. There were certainly times during the game when it looked more like All Sooke Days with the lumber flying but that’s old time lacrosse.

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Salmonbellies’ Captain, Curtis Hodgson isn’t too happy with a call. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

Victoria got some great performances from their transition guys and Karsen Leung, with 2 goals and 1 assist was named the game’s first star. Rhys Duch led the offense with 3 goals and 2 helpers while Corey Small picked up a pair of goals. Singles came from Tyler Hass, Chris Wardle, Scott Ranger and Jesse King, who also chipped in 4 assists to earn second star honours. Matt Flindell and Cody Hagedorn combined for 34 saves, Hagedorn stopping 16 of the 18 shots he faced to be named the third star. 

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Officials break up some roughing that started after the final buzzer had sounded. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

For the visitors it was Keegan Bal with 3 goals and 1 assist while Jordan McBride added a pair. 

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The Victoria Shamrocks are up 3-0 in the series. (Photo: Kasey Eriksen ISN)

The teams will have a couple of days off before facing off in game 4. That game takes place at Queen’s Park Arena on Wednesday, August 13 at 7:45 pm. A Shamrocks win of course takes the defending league champs into the league finals against either the Maple Ridge Burrards or the Burnaby Lakers. That series is currently tied 1-1 with game 3 scheduled for Monday in Burnaby. Should a game 5 be required between Victoria and New Westminster it will be played Friday, August 15 at the Q Centre beginning at 6:00 pm.

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