By Janice Huckin
After a somewhat lacklustre performance in game 2, the Shamrocks stars came out to shine in game 3, beating the Peterborough Lakers 14-8 to take a 2-1 series lead. Leading 3-2 after the first 20 minutes, the Rocks broke the game open in the middle frame, outscoring the Lakers 7-2 and never looked back.
Peterborough went with Matt Vinc in goal and Victoria responded with Aaron Bold, as in the previous two meetings. Peterborough opened the scoring at the 1:48 mark of the opening period, Brad Self going on a run off a loose ball. That held up until 8:17 when Corey Small scored the first of what would be 5 in the game, shooting through traffic. He followed that up with his second at 8:53 with a shot from the dotted line and a delayed penalty about to be called on the Lakers. Karsen Leung made it 3-1 for the boys in green at 15:53, using his speed on transition to get in alone. Peterborough got within a goal at 17:33, Holden Cattoni finding twine from the dotted line.
Despite the nonsense in game 2, only 2 penalties were called in the first period, one to each team as Victoria held the 3-2 lead after 20 minutes. Lakers got a second goal from Cattoni at 1:54 of the middle frame, that goal coming with his team shorthanded as the ball seemed to bounce off a Victoria player in front and eluded Bold. That tied the score at 3 but just 18 seconds later, the Rocks started a 3-goal run, the first coming from – who else – Corey Small, his hat trick marker from the dotted line. At 5:03 Rhys Duch notched a goal, going to the net and beating Vinc and he collected his second at 13:43 to open up a 6-3 lead for the home team. Chad Culp replied at 14:02 with an unassisted tally but the Shamrocks roared back with 4 unanswered to take the 10-4 lead after 40 minutes. All the powerful offensive guys were getting into the action as captain Scott Ranger scored at 14:27, tip toeing to the crease. A pair of power play goals, one from Dangerous Dan Dawson at 17:10 from the dotted line and a fourth from Small at 18:49 made it 9-4 and after a time-out with just a few seconds on the clock Small got his 5th at 19:57 with the goaltender off for an extra attacker. Things looked promising with only 3 penalties called, although on second thought, things were starting to get out of hand and nothing was being called so maybe it was just a matter of time.
The Shamrocks kept their goal-soring streak going into the third period, notching the first 3 before the Lakers would again find the back of the net. Daryl Veltman found twine at 4:28, a goal that really was possible due to the great work of Chris Wardle on the loose ball, Wardle seeing his first action in the series and bringing a different dimension to the offense. Jesse King followed up at 6:18 with a bullet from the dotted line and that was the end of the night for Lakers goaltender Vinc as he was replaced by Evan Kirk. He spent much of the game going to the bench for the extra attacker. Duch added his hat trick marker at 7:03 but Peterborough seemed to rally after that, scoring 3 straight goals including one shorthanded. Ah, yes, the shoe dropped as there was a steady parade to the penalty box in period 3. Most calls were of the offsetting minor variety, after all the referees apparently have a problem just sending one guy off. Scoring for Peterborough in the 3- goal run were Corey Vitarelli, Shawn Evans at 8:09 and 8:36 respectively and then a shorthanded marker from Mark Steenhaus at 15:04. There was one setback for Peterborough as ‘Superman’ Curtis Dickson became ‘Supermouth’ and was sent off for a 2-minute crosscheck to which he took offense, earning him two 10-minute misconducts and a game misconduct.
The teams traded goals before the period ended, Mitch Jones scoring into the empty net at 15:43 and Steenhaus picking up his second of the game on the power play at 18:14. Mike Kirk took a 10-minute misconduct at the 20- minute mark of the period. Shots on goal favoured Victoria 45-39. Corey Small led all scorers with 5 goals and 3 helpers to take player of the game honours for the Rocks. Rhys Duch had the hat trick and 2 assists, Dan Dawson chipped in a goal and 4 helpers while Jesse King, Daryl Veltman and Scott Ranger had a goal and 3 assists each. Mitch Jones and Karsen Leung had the others. Mark Steenhaus and Holden Cattoni each had a pair for Peterborough and it was Robert Hope being named the player of the game.
Games 4 and 5 take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, both games beginning at 7 pm at the Q Centre.