The Shamrocks used a strong third period to hand the Burnaby Lakers a 13-8 loss in game 2 of their best of seven semi-final series Thursday in Burnaby. The Shamrocks now lead the series 2-0 as they head back to the Q Centre for game 3 on Friday.
Adam Shute and Tyler Richards were the starting goaltenders for the Rocks and Lakers respectively. As they did in game 1, the Shamrocks came out flying, netting the first 3 goals of the game. Rhys Duch continued with his hot hand, scoring just 17 seconds in from the dotted line. At 1:04 Jesse King found the back of the net and at 4:03, it was Cory Conway tallying from the dotted line. Burnaby came back with a pair, the first coming just 22 seconds after Conway’s marker from the stick of Jason Jones. There was no more scoring until the 11:25 mark when Robert Church, on the forecheck, came up with a loose ball away and put it high behind Shute. Victoria re-established a 2-goal lead at 13:42, Duch collecting his second with a quick stick from the dotted line but at 15:24 Eli McLaughlin drew the home squad within a goal, again coming off a loose ball and a pass to the front. They tied the score at 4 with a Dane Stevens goal at 16:46, on a weird flow of play but Steve Higgs put the Shamrocks out in front at 17:07 as he got right in front and shot around the Burnaby defender. Shots on goal favoured Burnaby 17-13 but the Shamrocks were 1-up on the board.
The Lakers took a page out of Victoria’s book, scoring two quick goals to start the second period. Ilija Gajic scored 36 seconds into the period, making his way easily around Victoria’s defense to get in alone. Jason Jones picked up his second of the night at 2:29 on a shot that deflected off a Victoria stick in front to the back of the net. Now it was the Shamrocks’ turn to come from behind and they did, Duch getting his hat trick marker at 3:32 with a quick shot late in the 30-second clock. Tyler Digby regained the lead for the Lakers at 5:44 but Victoria’s Greg Harnett got that one back at 12:07, that goal a shorthanded marker, gathering in a pass from goaltender Shute and going on a run. Momentum swung in the Shamrocks’ favour as Conway picked up his second at 17:07 with an innocuous looking sub shot from outside the dotted line. They were unable to hold the lead, however, as Justin Salt tallied for the Lakers just 19 secnds later, as they used their transition speed and a quick pass to the front of the net. So things were tied 8-8 after 40 minutes and Burnaby again outshot the visitors 19-14.
The Shamrocks dominated in period 3, Jeff Shattler opening the scoring at the 24 second mark, finishing off a series of passes. King picked up his second of the contest at the 53-second mark, shooting from outside the dotted line, a shot on which Richards may have been screened. Doug Langlois added a second Victoria shorthanded goal at 3:21, getting in alone before going down beside the crease and being helped from the floor. Greg Harnett made it 12-8 at 13:08 with a power play marker, Tyler Burton picking up the assist as the ‘d’ guys made a run down the floor. The Shamrocks were content to use as much of the 30-second clock as possible as time wound down and, despite pulling their goaltender for the extra attacker, Burnaby was unable to put another shot by Shute. Ethan Garland added an empty-netter at 19:35 to put the game away.
Rhys Duch picked up 3 goals and 4 assists, giving him 15 points in the first two games of the series and earning him first star honours for the second straight game. Cory Conway and Jesse King each had a pair of goals with 3 and 2 assists respectively. Defensive stalwart Greg Harnett also chipped in 2 goals and was named the game’s third star. Singles came from Doug Langlois, Steve Higgs, Jeff Shattler and Ethan Garland. Tyler Burton won 17 of 22 faceoffs and added 3 helpers while Chris Wardle and Myles Kenny had 2 assists each. Adam Shute kicked out 41 of the 49 shots he faced to earn the win between the pipes.
Jason Jones was the only Burnaby Laker to score more than once, picking up 2 goals and 3 assists and being named second star of the game.
The Shamrocks are full value for the win, playing without Jon Harnett and Corey Small, sitting out 1-game suspensions and Ian McShane who was injured in the series opener. While Duch, Conway and King continued to lead the offense, it was inspiring to get some key goals from some of the defensive transition guys.
Game 3 is at the Q Centre Friday at 6:00 pm. Note the early start. The other series also continued Friday. Maple Ridge holds a 1-0 series lead as they host the New Westminster Salmonbellies in game 2.