The forecast was for thunder Friday night but it wasn’t the Langley Thunder as they remain without a win, falling 13-3 to the Shamrocks at the Q Centre.
By Janice Huckin
Having said that, the Rocks needed to come out with a strong start and they were strong from start to finish in this game, leading 5-1 after the first and 9-3 after 2 on their way to the victory.
Cody Hagedorn started in goal for Victoria with big Brodie McDonald his counterpart at the other end of the floor. The Shamrocks got off on the right foot, scoring the first 3 goals of the contest, the first coming at 2:22 off the stick of Rhys Duch as he cut to the net. At 4:52 Jeff Shattler fired a shot from the dotted line that McDonald got a piece of but could not contain it. Greg Harnett added an unassisted tally, getting in close at 9:01. Langley finally solved Hagedorn at 15:51, James Rahe getting in close but the Rocks closed the period with a quick pair. Duch picked up his second on the power play at 16:36 and WLA rookie Ian McShane tallied at the 18-minute mark, putting the ball in the top corner behind McDonald. Victoria led in shots on goal, 21-12 and there were just 2 penalties, one apiece in the first 20 minutes. Alas that wasn’t to last as the last two periods were a penalty parade.
Victoria ran the score to 6-1 just 1:09 into the middle frame, McShane picking up his second in close. Langley replied with a shorthanded marker, Rahe’s second of the game at 8:53. The home team replied just 29 seconds later, Shattler getting his second. Duch added his hat trick marker at 11:35 with a bullet from the dotted line and McShane added his third at 16:06, not giving up on a rebound in front of the Langley net. That made it 9-2 but Langley’s Brandon Bull (former Shamrock) closed the gap with a goal from the side of the crease at 16:06.
That was all the scoring but starting at 14:47, there was a steady stream of players heading to the sin bin, including Victoria’s Greg Harnett who received two majors (instigating and fighting) and a game misconduct for bloodying the face of Langley’s James Rahe who was penalized 5 minutes for elbowing. Following that there was another scrum at 17:59 which saw two players from each team given 10 minute misconducts and even later, 2 minors to Langley and 1 to Victoria at 18:39. There were enough players in the penalty box to consider ordering pizza. In all 73 minutes in penalties in the middle period, certainly not what would be expected in light of other developments regarding a certain Maple Ridge team in the league.
The shenanigans continued in the final frame. The Shamrocks came up with the only 4 goals of the period, all of them coming on special teams. Duch scored his 4th of the game at 4:39 finishing off a series of quick passes on a run with his team playing shorthanded. Paul Brebber added another shorthanded marker at 9:27, cutting to the net. The Shamrocks power play then took over, Chris Wardle tallying at 16:18 with a quick stick from the side of the net and defender Ben McCullough scoring unassisted on the power play at 17:54. In the late going Langley was assessed a 5-minute major (thus the two Victoria power play goals). Each team also received a 10-minute misconduct as Jeff Shattler and Steve Hay tried to have a go at each other. After the final goal, Thunder goaltender fired the ball into the crowd, probably good enough for an unsportsmanlike call but then went berserk, throwing the net over and breaking his stick as he was given a game misconduct. Kind of crazy in the circumstances.
The Shamrocks swept the 3 stars with Rhys Duch first (4 goals and 5 assists), Ian McShane second (3 goals and 2 helpers) and Paul Brebber third (a goal and 1 assist). Jeff Shattler picked up a pair of goals and 2 helpers with other goals coming from Chris Wardle, Greg Harnett, and Ben McCullough. Team captain Corey Small chipped in 3 assists and Cody Hagedorn was solid in net, stopping 26 of the 29 shots he faced. The result leaves the Shamrocks with a 4-2 record and 8 points, 1 behind the league-leading Maple Ridge Burrards who hold a game in hand. Langley remains winless, behind Nanaimo who they will face on Sunday.
The Rocks don’t play at home for a couple of weeks as they return to the Q Centre on Friday, June 24 when it will be Alumni Night as they take on the New Westminster Salmonbellies at 7:45 pm. Their next game is on the road this Sunday in Maple Ridge.