The Victoria Shamrocks literally snatched defeat from the jaws of victory at the Q Centre Sunday to fall behind 2-1 to the Maple Ridge Burrards in their best of seven final series. The Rocks held period leads of 5-1 and 8-6 and were up by a pair with 2:11 left in the final frame but the Burrards came back to tie and in overtime added 3 unanswered to escape with the 14-11 victory.
Starting goaltender for the Shamrocks was Cody Hagedorn for the first time in the playoffs while Frankie Scigliano was between the pipes at the other end of the floor. As it was in game 2, it was Jeff Shattler holding the hot hand for the Shamrocks and he got the home team on the board first as he tucked the ball inside the post at the 4:34 mark of the opening period. There was no more scoring until the 14:27 mark when it was Shattler again tallying with a quick stick, 1-handed right in front of the Burrards’ netminder. Jr. ‘A’ call-up Cole Pickup made it 3-0 at 15:50, going to the net. The Shamrocks added a couple of power play goals, the first coming from Chris Wardle at 16:28 with a quick stick from the side of the crease and the second from Cory Conway at 17:57. That made it 5-0 but the visitors answered back before the period ended, Dan Taylor scoring a shorthanded marker at 18:32, getting in close. Shorthanded. That was the way the period ended, with the home team up 5-1 and outshooting the visitors 19-13.
The second period saw the Burrards outshoot the Shamrocks 19-11 and outscore them 5-3, beginning with the first two goals of the middle frame. Ben McIntosh connected at 2:44 getting in close, that also being a shorthanded goal and Taylor added his second of the game, unassisted at 4:20, shooting through traffic from outside the dotted line. Victoria answered back with Shattler’s hat trick goal at 4:48, a long shot from outside the dotted line to restore a 3-goal lead. Maple Ridge’s Riley Loewen connected at 6:40 with a hard, low shot from well out. The Rocks answered the bell with a pair, Shattler’s fourth coming at 7:36 on the power play from the centre slot and Rhys Duch making it 8-4 at 11:08 with the teams playing 3-on-3. They were unable to maintain the momentum and the Burrards were able to put another couple by Hagedorn before the period ended, one from Taylor and the other from Loewen at 14:11 and 17:14 respectively to go to the dressing room down 8-6 after 40 minutes..
Again in period 3, Maple Ridge outscored the Shamrocks 5-3, including the first two of the period which tied the score. Loewen scored on a quick stick at 3:59 on the power play and Lyndon Knuttila knotted the score with an unassisted goal at 6:22. The teams traded goals as Ethan Garland went coast to coast to give the home team the lead at 8:46 but at 13:22 Connor Goodwin got the visitors even once again. The Shamrocks looked like they would put the game away when Duch and Corey Small scored just 26 seconds apart, Duch from outside the dotted line at 17:23 and Small from the slot at 17:49. Unfortunately, they did not hold the lead and did not hold onto the ball. Mike Mallory pulled the visitors within a goal at 18:42 with goaltender Scigliano on the bench for the extra attacker and Taylor added his fourth goal of the night at 19:30, once again with the extra attacker but a man short. Maple Ridge’s third shorthanded goal of the game. Shots on goal favoured the Burrards 16-14 in the period, making it 48-44 over the 60 minutes.
We were into overtime and the Burrards scored 3 goals in the extra time, Ben McIntosh, Mallory and Colton Porter adding one more into the empty net to put the game away.
The Burrards played exactly the type of game that almost got them banished from the league earlier in the season and got away with much of it. And yet, there were a lot of penalties called. The Shamrocks came out strong but by the end of the game played as if their feet were stuck in cement so once again they find themselves in a hole, hoping to come back and tie the series on the road. They lost faceoff expert Tyler Burton to a game misconduct in the second period and that had an impact although Josh Fagan was 8-6 in the circle after his departure.
Leading the way offensively for the Shamrocks was Jeff Shattler with 4 goals and 1 assist, continuing where he left off in game 2 and being named second star of the game. Corey Small and Cory Conway each had 7-point nights with a goal and 6 helpers while Rhys Duch chipped 2 goals and 3 assists. Ethan Garland, Chris Wardle and Cole Pickup had the other Victoria goals. Cody Hagedorn faced 57 shots and had 44 saves with one goal into the empty net.
Dan Taylor and Riley Loewen led the Burrards’ offense with 4 goals and 4 assists and 3 goals and 3 assists respectively and were named first and third stars respectively. Ben McIntosh added 2 goals and 3 helpers
Game 4 is in Maple Ridge Tuesday at 7:45 with game 5 back at the Q Centre Wednesday, August 31. That is also a 7:45 pm start. Get your tickets on line or at the Shamrocks office on Langford Parkway.