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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

Victoria, BC (ISN) – Chris Wardle had five goals, including the game winner with 1:38 to play to give the Victoria Shamrocks an 11-9 victory over the visiting New Westminstr Salmonbellies in Western Lacrosse League (WLA) action Friday night at The Q Centre in Victoria.

The Shamrocks and their fans were all smiles after Tyler Burton (right) scored eight seconds into the third frame to tie the game 7-7 and set them toward the ultimate win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Wardle’s heroics earned him first-star honours and capped off an exciting see-saw battle that saw the ‘Rocks trail midway through the second period 7-4, but then battle back to tie the game 7-7 eight seconds into the third on a short-handed breakaway goal by Tyler Burton, freshly returned from his duties in the National Lacrosse League.

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Chris Wardle had a great night, scoring five goals, including the game winner to pace the Shamrocks to the 11-9 win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

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The Shamrocks Cory Conway (91) was a regular human on Friday night, scoring only four assists in the win over New Westminster. Last week Conway had two goals and a record 15 assists in a game against Nanaimo (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

From that point on, the Shamrocks would remain in control, but the Salmonbellies would not go away easily, tying the score 8-8 and then 9-9 with 2:50 to go (New Westminsters only two goals of the period) before Wardle notched the winner. Ben McCullough hit the empty net with seven seconds remaining to secure the win for the now 2-0 Shamrocks.

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The Shamrocks Thomas Moffatt (left) puts a well placed stick to the neck of the Salmonbellies Justin Goodwin during third period action Friday night (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

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Rhys Duch fires home one of his two goals Friday against the Salmonbellies (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Also playing big roles for the Shamrocks were Rhys Duch with two goals and two assists, Junior call-up Cole Pickup with a goal (his first in the WLA) and three assists and Cory Conway, who must have been ill, scoring just four assists after coming off a record-setting 15-assist and 17-point night against Nanaimo last week. Thomas Moffat had the other Shamrocks marker.

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Junior ‘Rocks call-up Cole Pick up showed he belonged with the big club Friday, scoring a goal (his first in the WLA) and three assists in the win over New Westminster (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

For the now 0-3 Salmonbellies, Brett Dobray led the way with two goals and three assists, while Brandon Goodwin, Justin Goodwin, and Dane Sorenson had a pair of goals each. Patrick Miles scored the other New West goal and of special note, 52-year old WLA veteran Russ Heard, notched an assist in the losing effort.

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Rhys Duch corrals a pass during first period action Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The first place Shamrocks get right back into action Saturday night, as they travel over the Malahat to have an early season re-match with the Nanaimo Timbermen. Keeping the re-match theme going, they then travel to New Westminster for a game with the Salmonbellies on Thursday June 2nd before returning home on Friday June 3rd to host the Maple Ridge Burrards.

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Victoria’s Tyler Burton fights toward the Salmonbellies net during second period action Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Game Notes: Burton and brothers Greg and Jon Harnett all saw their first action of the season Friday night after returning from the Calgary Roughnecks of the NLL. Cory Small, who had seven goals against Nanaimo last week sat out last night due to an injury. Victoria outshot New Westminter 48-31.