The Shamrocks welcomed Rhys Duch and Chris Wardle to the line-up for the first time as they hosted the Burnaby Lakers Friday at the Q Centre, coming up with an 11-6 victory despite a bit of a sluggish start.
Cody Hagedorn got his second straight start of the season in goal for the Rocks with both Aaron Bold and Adam Shute still involved in NLL playoffs while Zak Boychuk got the nod for the visiting Lakers. It was the visitors opening up a 2-goal lead, both goals coming with an extra attacker. At 7:17, Scott Jones connected with a delayed penalty about to be called on the Shamrocks, getting in close to beat Hagedorn. The second goal came on a power play at 12:05 off the stick of Dane Stevens, again from in close. Victoria got things going with a pair of their own, the first from Rhys Duch on an over-the-shoulder shot in close at 13:53 and the second from his line-mate Corey Small at 15:48 on a hard, low shot from outside the dotted line. Burnaby re-gained the lead before the period ended, and I mean just before the period ended, getting the ball in the back of the net at 19:59, Scott Jones’ second of the game. Victoria held the edge in shots on goal at 23-15 but they were down 3-2 on the board.
In the middle frame, Jason Jones connected just 49 seconds in to open up a 2-goal lead but Chris Wardle replied for the home team at 2:35. Jason Jones made it 5-3 at 3:39 on the power play with an overhand shot from the dotted line. Then the Shamrocks’ offense kicked into high gear, rattling off 5 straight before the end of the period. Duch scored his second unassisted at 11:46 from the dotted line on the power play. Small added his second, also unassisted at 12:59, going to the net. Clearly the Duch-Small connection was paying dividends as each player picked up their hat trick markers in quick succession. First Duch tallied on the power play at 14:39 from outside the dotted line through traffic. Small added another unassisted goal at 15:11 off a loose ball scrum right in front of the Burnaby goaltender. The Shamrocks took a little revenge with a last second goal, Steve Higgs connecting from the dotted line to make it 8-5 after 40 minutes, again holding the edge in shots on goal by a 16-9 margin.
Special teams again played a large role in period 3, Victoria outscoring Burnaby 3-1 and two of those coming with the man advantage. Wardle picked up his second of the night at 4:48, finishing off some quick passes. Burnaby got that one back at 5:51 on a run to the net, Justin Salt taking credit for that one before both Duch and Small picked up their fourth goals of the game, Duch scoring on the power play at 13:47 from well out and Small wrapping up the scoring at 15:43.
Corey Small led the Shamrocks with 4 goals and 6 assists, while Rhys Duch had 4 goals and 2 helpers and Chris Wardle added 2 goals and 1 assist to sweep the 3 stars in that order. The other Victoria goal came from Steve Higgs and Mike Triolo had another strong game with 3 assists. Cody Hagedorn stopped 26 of 32 shots he faced to pick up the win in goal. The fans also got fired up with some great penalty killing especially at the hands of Steve Priolo in the third period.
The Shamrocks will travel to the mainland next Thursday to face the New Westminster Salmonbellies who picked up their first win of the season against Nanaimo and return to the Q Centre next Friday at 7:30 when they will take on the Coquitlam Adanacs.