By Janice Huckin
The Shamrocks hosted the Peterborough Lakers in game 1 of the 2015 Mann Cup and came away with a hard-fought 8-6 win in front of a packed house at
the Q Centre.
The Shamrocks have not won the national title since 2005 despite getting to the championship the past 2 years, losing both times to the Six Nations Chiefs. The Lakers are here after a 7-game battle to eliminate the defending champion chiefs. They wrapped that series on Monday while the Rocks have been ‘at rest’ for a couple of weeks after sweeping the New Westminster Salmonbellies in the league final.
Starting goaltenders were Aaron Bold for the home side and Matt Vinc for the Lakers, Vinc having played for Victoria two seasons ago. Victoria opened the scoring at the 4:36 mark, Corey Small finding the back of the net with a bouncer from the dotted line. Bold and his defense held the visitors off the board until 14:12 when Adam Jones found twine. Peterborough took the lead at 15:35, Eric Shewell scooping up a loose ball and taking off on a run.
It was a period played at a hectic pace, with only two penalties being called, one to each team. Shots on goal were even at 14 apiece and the Lakers had the 2-1 lead going to the dressing room after 20 minutes. The Shamrocks struck first again in period 2, defender Dan MacRae putting a shorthanded marker behind Vinc at the 42-second mark to even the score, that goal coming unassisted. Rhys Duch gave the Rocks a 3-2 lead at 6:50 with a hard overhand shot around traffic but just a couple of minutes later, Jones scored his second for the visitors, that goal coming on a power play as Victoria was assessed all 4 penalties in the middle frame. That started a 3-goal run for the Lakers as Mark Steenhaus tallied at 10:24 and Shawn Evans added yet another power play marker at 16:48 to put Peterborough up by a 5-3 score. The officiating left a lot to be desired as multiple infractions appeared to be overlooked or not seen. The Shamrocks managed to pull within a single goal before the period ended, Daryl Veltman scoring with a quick stick from the side of the net at 18:03. The Lakers outshot the Rocks20-14 in the middle period as both goaltenders played strong games.
The Shamrocks brought the fans to their feet at 1:33 Duch getting his second with a bullet from well outside the dotted line to tie things up. That was relatively short-lived as Chad Culp restored the Lakers’ lead at 4:27 getting in close. Just before the halfway mark of the period, Jesse King knotted things once again, diving across to beat Vinc at 9:34. Dangerous Dan Dawson gave the Shamrocks the lead at 12:15 with what would prove to be the winner from the dotted line. Both defenses clamped down and the Lakers called a time out with about a minute to go, pulling Vinc for the extra attacker but Bold held the fort and in fact got an assist on the final goal of the game. With six attackers on the floor, he got a pass from Karsen Leung deep in the Victoria zone and caught Cory Conway up the floor with a long pass and he made no mistake into the empty net at 19:39 to put the victory away and send the fans home happy.
Rhys Duch had a pair of goals in the win but Corey Small led the team offensively with a goal and 4 assists. Cory Conway had a goal and 3 helpers and Dan Dawson had a goal and 2 assists. Other goals came from Jesse King, Daryl Veltman and Dan MacRae. Shawn Evans led the Lakers with a goal and 3 assists while Adam Jones had a pair of goals. The MVP’s were the goaltenders – Aaron Bold for Victoria and Matt Vinc for Peterborough who faced 46 and 44 shots respectively.
Game 2 takes place Saturday at 7:00 at the Q Centre.