It was the ‘rubber match’ Friday at the Q Centre as the Langley Thunder came into town after winning a 6-5 contest Wednesday on the mainland but it was the Shamrocks bouncing back with an impressive 11-5 victory on home floor to take the season series 2 games to 1.
Cody Hagedorn got the start in goal for the home team with Davide DiRuscio his counterpart and the first period was a tight defensive battle. Victoria opened the scoring but not until the 7:45 mark as Mike Triolo took a pass right in front and made no mistake. Langley replied at 11:56, Dylan Lacroix going to the net to tie things up and that was all the scoring in the opening period. Shots on goal were 11-10 in Victoria’s favour, just 3 penalties were called in the period, making it look like another low-scoring close contest in the making.
The Shamrocks had other thoughts about that, as they dominated the middle period outshooting the Thunder 26-10 and outscoring them 8-1 to open up a commanding 9-2 lead after 40 minutes. Victoria’s Josh Fagan got things going at 4:26 going to the net and captain Corey Small, made it 3-1 at 6:58 with a hard, low shot from outside the dotted line. Langley pulled within a goal at 9:35, Lacroix notching his second going to the net but the Rocks rattled off 6 unanswered including 4 within 1:31 beginning with Small’s second at 10:06 off a rebound. Sheldon Burns made it 5-2 at 10:18 after several shots and saves by DiRuscio. Zack Wickett replaced Langley’s starter in goal but on the first shot he faced, Small picked up his hat trick goal at 10:43 from the side of the net, at which point DiRuscio was back in. The Rocks continued their assault and some great speed off transition culminated in a goal from Greg Harnett at 11:37. Casey Jackson added another at 17:06, going across in front and at 18:04 some more ‘d’ guys getting it done, as Steve Priolo finishing off after getting a pass from Tyler Hass.
Langley opened the third period with a couple of goals, Brandon Clelland tallying at 4:25 on a run after a take-away and Johnny Pearson adding a power play goal at 5:23 from the dotted line. Victoria’s Casey Jackson picked up his second of the night at 10:44 from outside the dotted line. J.P. Kealey replied for the Thunder at 15:10 with a quick stick from the side of the crease. With time running out and Langley’s goalie doing the relay from crease to bench and back, Ethan Garland capitalized for the Shamrocks into an empty net at 16:35 to make it an 11-5 final. Langley held the edge in shots on goal 14-10 in the period but trailed 46-35 over 60 minutes.
Leading Victoria’s offense was Corey Small with the hat trick and 2 assists while Casey Jackson had 2 goals and 3 helpers. Josh Fagan continued his strong play with a goal and an assist while two defensive stalwarts also picked up 1 of each, Steve Priolo and Greg Harnett contributing to the offense. Ethan Garland and Sheldon Burns rounded out the scoring and Cody Hagedorn kicked out 30 of 35 shots to pick up the win, his 7th of the season. The Shamrocks swept the three stars: Casey Jackson-Corey Small-Josh Fagan going 1-2-3.
Only Dylan Lacroix was able to solve Hagedorn more than once as he had a pair of goals.
With the Victoria win and a Burnaby victory over New Westminster, the standings are extremely close in the WLA. Victoria and Burnaby are now tied atop the league with 17 points. Maple Ridge sits a point behind and New Westminster in fourth with 13 points. All 3 teams hold a game in hand over the Shamrocks.
The Rocks are off for a week, returning to the Q Centre next Friday, July 14. They will face the Coquitlam Adanacs in a 7:30 pm start. It will be an evening in which to salute local heroes with a special colour party and a performance by the Naden Band. With just 2 home games left in the regular season, come out and support the team.