It was Alumni Night at the Q Centre Friday and a quasi-curse continued to plague the home team as they lost to the Maple Ridge Burrards 10-9. It was also a night that the Rocks paid homage to the 1997 Mann Cup winning team and retired Shamrocks great Ranjit Dillon’s #5 jersey.
The game was action-packed right from the start although it took almost half a period for any goals to be scored. Aaron Bold got the start in goal for the Shamrocks while it was Frankie Scigliano between the pipes for the visitors. Victoria’s Rhys Duch got the Rocks on the board first with a power play goal at the 8:08 mark with a hard shot from outside the dotted line. Mike Triolo followed up at 8:39 with a hard overhand shot that went off the post and into the cage behind Scigliano. Victoria made it 3-0 at 10:46 when Chris Wardle connected from outside the dotted line at 10:46, another shot that went off a post. Maple Ridge responded at 11:14, Matthew Dinsdale finding twine getting in close. They tied the score with a pair of special teams unassisted goals, starting with Ben McIntosh’s power play tally at 14:36 as he intercepted an outlet pass from Bold right in front and stuck it in. Garrett McIntosh followed up with a shorthanded marker at 17:10 on a breakaway. Victoria managed to regain the lead before the end of the period, Corey Small picking up a power play goal with a hard shot from outside the dotted line that went off both posts before finding the back of the net at 17:40. The Rocks had a 4-3 lead after the first 20 minutes with shots even at 13 each.
Maple Ridge got the score knotted early in period 2, Dan Taylor tallying just 40 seconds in as Bold came out to challenge and gave Taylor the yawning cage. Fortunately for him, his teammates bounced back with a pair, Triolo scoring at 2:40 from in close, turning around to fire it in. Dynamo Ben McCullough gave the Rocks a 2-goal lead at 7:28 with a hard shot through a screen. The Burrards got one back on the power play at 13:35 with a hard shot from outside the dotted line but Triolo picked up his hat trick marker for the home team at 19:25, using his size to get right in front. The Shamrocks were ahead by 2 on the scoreboard 7-5 but shots remained even at 23-23 after two periods.
The home team increased the lead to 3 goals with Small’s second of the night at 5:40 of the final frame from the dotted line. After that, it looked as if not only was Ranjit Dillon’s jersey retired, but the Shamrocks team also retired as they looked unhinged and gave up 5 straight goals. It started with Luke Gillespie’s goal at 6:07 getting in close and Mike Mallory pulled the visitors within a goal at 7:56 from outside the dotted line. He added his second of the contest at 9:23 and just 27 seconds later the Burrards took their first lead of the game, Ben McIntosh connecting from in close. Cody Hagedorn replaced Bold in the Victoria net but at 10:18 Gillespie collected his second and the winning goal getting in close. Bold returned and the Shamrocks managed to get within a goal at 15:04, Josh Fagan getting a power play goal with an overhand shot from outside the dotted line.
The Shamrocks offense was led by Mike Triolo with 3 goals and 1 assist to be named the game’s first star. Corey Small had 2 of each and Rhys Duch had a goal and 5 helpers. Play wasn’t sharp as passes went astray and shots were not on net. The Burrards outworked and outhustled the Rocks, especially in the final period with the game on the line. The result ties the season series between the two teams with the rubber match coming up on the mainland Tuesday. Next home game for the Shamrocks is Friday, June 30 when the Nanaimo Timbermen make their only visit to the Q Centre this season. Game time is 7:30 pm.