Home floor has not proven to be an advantage for either the Victoria Shamrocks or the Maple Ridge Burrards in their WLA final series. The series is tied 2-2 and both teams have picked up both their wins in the other team’s barn. The Rocks kept that trend alive with an 11-8 win on the mainland Tuesday.
Adam Shute was back between the pipes for the Shamrocks after Cody Hagedorn got the start in game 3 while Frankie Scigliano again took his place in the crease at the other end of the floor. It was the Rocks getting another quick start, scoring the first 3 goals of the contest before Maple Ridge solved Shute. Corey Small got things started just 25 seconds in, as he picked up a rebound in front to make it 1-0 Victoria. Chris Wardle picked up another at 4:52 on a ball that was misplayed by the Burrards’ netminder, allowing Wardle to knock it to the back of the net. Small picked up his second of four on the night at 7:23, going to the net and it was 3-0 for the visitors. Maple Ridge came back with a pair, Ben McIntosh tallying at 11:08 with a spin around and hard shot. Connor Goodwin got the home team within a goal at 13:33 with a low shot from outside the dotted line. Before the period ended, the teams traded goals, Rhys Duch scoring for the visitors at 14:04, going to the net and McIntosh replying with his second of the game for the Burrards at 14:47. Shots on goal were 18-17 in favour of the Shamrocks.
The Rocks got some early momentum again in the middle frame, Jr. ‘A’ call-up Braylon Lumb scoring at 2:32 with the extra attacker on the floor and a delayed penalty being signaled against Maple Ridge. Duch added his second of the night with a bullet from outside the dotted line at 7:23 before Maple Ridge got one back from Gord Phillips at 7:34 off the faceoff. Special teams factored into the next 3 goals as the Shamrocks scored twice shorthanded before the Burrards got one back on the power play. It was Small getting his hat trick marker at 8:24 as he came off the bench to take a long outlet pass from goaltender Shute and made no mistake. At 11:11 Wardle picked up his second of the game, another shorthanded marker, going to the net. Just 23 seconds later, Riley Loewen got a power play goal for the home team with a hard low shot from outside the dotted line. The Burrards drew within a pair at 15:29 Owen Barker getting that one, a rarity for him. The teams traded goals again to end the period, Small picking up his fourth for the Shamrocks with a hard, low shot at 19:19 and McIntosh picking up his hat trick for Maple Ridge with no time left on the clock, a goal that took a while for the officials to confirm as it was originally waved off. Victoria once again held the edge in shots on goal, 17-11 in the period and they were up by a pair 9-7 after 40 minutes.
The third period saw just 3 goals scored, Jeff Shattler opening up the 3-goal lead for the Rocks at 3:55, going across in front. Loewen picked up his second of the night for the Burrards at 6:16 to get back within a pair. Despite pulling the goaltender for the extra attacker numerous times in the final five minutes of the game, the Burrards were unable to score again. In fact Brandon Mulligan replaced Scigliano as he is able to run back and forth. In fact, the Shamrocks did manage one empty-netter goal, Jon Harnett going coast to coast and using Ethan Garland as a decoy to put the game away.
For the most part, it was hard-hitting lacrosse but it was lacrosse although there were a few rather blatant hits from behind not called. The game did deteriorate at the final buzzer as several players exchanged blows after the final whistle.
The Shamrocks were solid from top to bottom of their line-up, excellent defensively and getting some goals from their big guns. Corey Small led the offense with 4 goals and an assist while Rhys Duch had 2 goals and 4 assists. They were named first and second stars respectively. Jeff Shattler had a goal and 4 assists while it was great to see Chris Wardle come out with a pair of goals and 2 helpers. Singles went to Braylon Lumb and Jon Harnett. The defense was absolutely golden, cutting off rushes to the net, picking off passes and playing good hard-nosed lacrosse. Goaltender Adam Shute stopped 30 of 37 shots he faced and also chipped in with an assist.
Ben McIntosh led the Burrards with the hat trick and 1 assist while Mike Mallory had 3 assists and Riley Loewen had a pair of goals and 1 helper. Frankie Scigliano stopped 35 of 45 shots, was replaced by Brandon Mulligan who faced no shots, made no saves, allowed no goals and simply ran back and forth to the bench for the extra attacker. It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it.
The teams return to the Q Centre for game 5 Wednesday at 7:45 pm. The Shamrocks will be looking to turn this back into a home game series by winning in front of their fans.