It’s been a long time coming but the drought is over for the Victoria Shamrocks as they won the 2015 Mann Cup at home with a 12-6 victory over the Peterborough Lakers in game 6. The last time they accomplished this feat was 10 years ago at the Q Centre (then called Bear Mountain Arena).
It wasn’t easy but the Shamrocks got off to a very quick start in game 6. The starting goaltenders were, as in all previous games, Aaron Bold for the Rocks and Matt Vinc for the Lakers. It was Corey Small opening the scoring just 50 seconds into the game, firing a bullet from the dotted line. At 2:45 speedster Karsen Leung took a long outlet pass from Bold and went in alone to make it 2-0. He wasn’t finished there, however, as he tallied once again at the 5:20 mark, again using his speed to go coast to coast and the green and white were up 3-0. Before the period ended, Rhys Duch got to the front of the net and scored on a shovel shot late in the 30-second clock and the Shamrocks took that 4-0 lead to the dressing room after 20 minutes. Despite the rough play, no penalties were called in the opening frame and Victoria outshot Peterborough by a 16-10 margin. Things were looking good for the packed house.
Peterborough doesn’t quit and they made up some ground in the middle period, outscoring the Rocks 4-2. Their sniper Curtis Dickson got things started at the 25-second mark with a shot from the dotted line. Victoria’s defense once again got into the action when Bradley Kri got an unassisted tally off a loose ball at 2:41. The Lakers went on a 2-goal run, the first coming from Chad Tutton at 4:16 from very close in and the second, also VERY close in off the stick of Scott Evans at 6:30. The teams traded goals before the period ended as Small picked up his second for the Shamrocks at 12:26 with a low shot late in the 30 second clock. Peterborough managed to pull back within a pair at 18:33, Mark Farthing scoring from in front, a shot on which Bold may have been screened. That ended the scoring in period 2. Shots on goal were even at 15 apiece and the Shamrocks had the slim 6-4 lead on the scoreboard. There were three penalties in the period, all to Peterborough and none of which resulted in power play goals. As in the first two periods, scoring started early in period 3 when the Rocks’ Jesse King started a 3-goal run, burying one from in close 30 seconds in and that was a power play goal, one of very few in the series. King followed that up with his second of the night at 4:45, once again going to the crease.
Scott Ranger opened up a 5-goal lead at 5:17 with a quick stick in close before Peterborough once again solved Bold. That goal came at 6:08 off the stick of Turner Evans. That was as close as they would get, as Victoria scored a couple in close succession in the last half of the period. Tyler Hass got one on a break at 14:15 as Vinc just managed to make it back into the net. Small added insult to injury with a power play goal at 15:23 with a hard shot that beat Vinc to the far side. The teams traded goals as Brad Self scored for the Lakers unassisted at 15:57 and Daryl Veltman put the game away at 16:26. Peterborough once again took all 5 penalties in the period, three of them coming at the 18:59 mark when some Lakers bench staff thought it would be smart to throw water bottles on the floor, followed by the requisite white towel. The Shamrocks were content to hold the ball as long as possible, killing off the clock and any chance of a comeback.
Dan Dawson led Victoria’s offense with 8 assists and was named the player of the game. Corey Small had the hat trick and 1 helper and was named the winner of the Mike Kelly Mann Cup MVP award. Jesse King chipped in 2 goals and 2 assists and defender Karsen Leung also had a pair of goals in the win. The Shamrocks defense was once again stellar, Aaron Bold making 31 saves, Tyler Burton winning 14 of 22 faceoffs and every player stepping up. The Shamrocks also played without Rory Smith (and his wooden stick) for the final 2 games and lost hard-nosed Steve Priolo partway through tonight’s contest. For the Lakers it was Brad Self being named the player of the game. Turner Evans and Curtis Dickson each scored once and added an assist. Adam Jones was to return for game 7 but, alas, he’ll have to get back on the plane tomorrow and head back home.