By Janice Huckin
It was a good run for the Shamrocks but their latest win streak was halted at 3 games by the other green team, the Burnaby Lakers as they held on to drop the Rocks by a 12-10 score at Bill Copeland Arena Friday.
It was a tough start for the Shamrocks, arriving at the arena late with the game therefore delayed to 7:30 although they did get on the scoreboard first, as Corey Small tallied from the dotted line at 4:20, beating Lakers’ starting goaltender Zak Boychuk. It was Adam Shute getting the start, his fourth straight, for the Shamrocks and Ilija Gajic found the net behind him to tie the score at 1-1 at the 5:30 mark with a low shot. A couple of power play goals put the home team up 3-1 as Robert Church scored from the dotted line at 8:39 and Josh Byrne followed that up at 12:52 with a high hard overhand shot. The Shamrocks rebounded quickly, Jeff Shattler scoring just 21 seconds later with a quick stick from in close. A couple of those stalwart defenders got the Rocks even at 17:53, Jon Harnett collecting a pass from Josh Fagan to score shorthanded. With just a couple of ticks left on the clock, Church picked up his second for the Lakers to give his team the 4-3 lead heading into the intermission, that goal coming off a set play with the goaltender off for the extra attacker.
Burnaby opened up a 2-goal lead just 1:22 into period 2, Scott Jones firing from outside the dotted line. Rhys Duch replied for the Shamrocks at 1:53 with a bullet from way outside the dotted line to get the visitors back within 1 but the home team took off on a 4-goal run starting with Jackson Decker’s unassisted goal at 2:11, leaping across the crease after a transition break. At 3:45 Jones picked up his second, getting in close and going over top of Shute and at 5:34, Burnaby took an 8-4 lead, Dane Stevens getting in close. That was the end of Shute’s night as he was replaced by Cody Hagedorn between the pipes, his first action in a few weeks. A power play goal from the stick of Church at 8:42 from the dotted line said, ‘welcome, Cody’, but the Shamrocks got on a bit of a roll after that. At 11:16, another pair of defenders got things rolling, with Ben McCullough getting in on a run and at 15:33, two more d-tranny guys lit up Boychuk, Doug Langlois digging out a loose ball finding Myles Kenney who scored off a rebound. That made it 9-6 after 40 minutes.
Victoria made it 3 in a row when Duch got a second shot in front and made no mistake at 1:56. Burnaby replied at 4:42, Stevens getting his second on a run, in close. The teams traded goals, Shattler picking up his second at 11:09, shooting low through traffic and Byrne replying for the Lakers at 12:10 with a 1-handed sub shot from the dotted line. Victoria made a game of it, Duch collecting his hat trick marker at 12:50 with a blistering overhand shot and Shattler collecting his third at 18:44 with a quick stick from in front. Suddenly, it was a 1-goal game. The Shamrocks pressed, pulling Hagedorn for the extra attacker but were unable to put another one behind Boychuk and Eli McLaughlin got an empty-netter for the Lakers with a second left to give the home team the 2-goal victory.
Jeff Shattler and Rhys Duch each had the hat trick with 4 and 2 assists respectively. Team captain Corey Small had a goal and 2 helpers with other goals coming from Jon Harnett, Miles Kenney and Ben McCullough. Ethan Garland and Chris Wardle each chipped in a pair of helpers.
Next up for the Shamrocks is another road game, next Wednesday as they will take on the last place Langley Thunder in the fabulous Langley Events Centre, before they return to the Q Centre on Friday, July 29 for a return match against tonight’s opponent, the Burnaby Lakers.
Standings are still tight atop the league standings. New Westminster leads with 24 points but just 2 games remaining. Maple Ridge sits in second with 19 points with the Shamrocks 1 point behind. Victoria holds 3 games in hand on both these teams while, Burnaby is one point behind and has also played 2 more games. It’ll be a race to the finish with Coquitlam still mathematically in contention for the final playoff spot while it looks like Nanaimo and Langley will be on the outside looking in.