By Janice Huckin / Images Erich Eichhorn ( ISN )
It wasn’t the start to the series the Shamrocks wanted, as they fell 11-6 to the visiting Maple Ridge Burrards in game 1 of their best-of-7 WLA final series Wednesday at the Q Centre.
They did get a quick start to the game, collecting the first two goals. Corey Small scored at 2:53 off a quick stick going to the net, beating Maple Ridge goaltender Frankie Scigliano to put the home team up 1-0. He made it 2-0 at 4:12 with a hard shot from outside the dotted line. That was short-lived, however, as just 39 seconds later, Riley Loewen beat Victoria starting goaltender Adam Shute to narrow the gap to 1, as Loewen got in close. The visitors tied the score at 2 at 7:21 when Jarrett Davis tallied with a hard shot from the dotted line that went through traffic. Victoria regained the lead with a Rhys Duch goal at 8:30 on a bullet from outside the dotted line.
That was the last time the Shamrocks would hold the lead as Maple Ridge scored 3 unanswered goals to end the period, two of those coming with the man advantage. Ben McIntosh got things started at 9:14 from just inside the dotted line and added his second of the night at 11:47, a power play marker with a 5-on-3 advantage from in close. A second goal on the power play off the stick of Mike Mallory at 12:32 made it 5-3 for the Burrards and that’s the way it stayed as the teams headed to the dressing room after 20 minutes. Shots on goal were even at 17-17.
To add insult to injury the Burrards scored the only 3 goals of the middle frame, beginning with Dan Taylor’s goal at 8:12 from outside the dotted line. That signaled the end of Shute’s night as he was replaced in the Victoria net by Cody Hagedorn. Maple Ridge got a second goal from Davis at 14:46 and Luke Gillespie made it 8-3 at the 16:14 mark. Victoria held the edge in shots on goal 18-13 in the period but they would have to claw their way out of a fairly large hole in the final 20 minutes if they were to win.
Unfortunately, they didn’t claw their way out. Maple Ridge started the scoring in the third period with Connor Goodwin getting a shorthanded marker at the 2:10 mark, getting in close. Victoria came back with a pair of power play goals, starting with Cory Conway’s marker at 3:05 with a 5-on-3 advantage on a quick stick from the side of the net. Another power play goal from Duch, his second of the contest at 3:47 narrowed the gap to 4 goals but Maple Ridge really dominated physically and got a goal at 11:27 from Matt Symes. A Victoria power play goal off the stick of Jr. ‘A’ call-up Braylon Lumb got the Rocks back to a 4-goal gap but time wasn’t on their side. Despite pulling Hagedorn for the extra attacker they were unsuccessful in adding to their total and Maple Ridge added another goal late, Zach Porter scoring at 18:55 to put the lid on that game.
It very much looks like it will be another physical series as Maple Ridge, well known for their hacking and whacking got away with a fair bit of it in game 1. It seemed to put the Shamrocks off their game. Victoria got a pair of goals from Corey Small and Rhys Duch with each also chipping in 2 helpers. Cory Conway added a goal and 2 assists while Chris Wardle might well have been their best player on the night with 3 assists. He had a few scoring chances and was a little unlucky not to have scored. Braylon Lumb had the other Shamrocks goal.
The Burrards swept the three stars with Frankie Scigliano, Dan Taylor and Ben McIntosh going 1-2-3. With the win, Maple Ridge now has home floor advantage but it is only game 1. Game 2 is on the mainland Friday at 6:00 pm and the teams will return to the Q Centre Sunday, also for a 6:00 start. Tickets are available at the Shamrocks Office on Langford Parkway.