The Shamrocks took to the road and faced the Burnaby Lakers at the Copeland Arena, dropping a 7-4 decision. That game had significant impact on the league standings – more on that later.
The Shamrocks started Cody Hagedorn in goal while Eric Penney was the starter for the home Lakers. Burnaby jumped out to a 3-0 lead, starting with Jackson Decker’s goal at 2:29 on a transition break. Dane Stevens made it 2-0 at 8:07 with a quick 2-on-1 off another transition break. Eli McLaughlin got the third goal with a quick stick at 9:00 before Victoria replied, Chris Wardle tallying at 9:39, beating Penney 5-hole from in close. That goal came on the power play. Burnaby restored the 3-goal lead at 11:20, Stevens picking up his second as he walked around from the back of the net to beat Hagedorn. Another power play goal got the Rocks back within a pair, Wardle getting his second of the game with a quick stick from the side of the team on a 4-on-3 power play. They closed the gap to one on Corey Small’s hard shot from outside the dotted line at 17:27 with the teams playing 4-on-4. The Lakers picked up a pair of goals before the period ended, Matt Beers scoring at 17:56 as he came out of the penalty box, walked around a Victoria defender and solved Hagedorn. McLaughlin picked up his second of the game at 19:11 with a quick stick in close. Victoria had the edge in shots 22-15 but were down 6-3 on the scoreboard after 20 minutes.
The middle frame saw just two goals scored, one by each team. Burnaby scored a power play marker at 11:57, McLaughlin’s hat trick marker going to the net. Rhys Duch replied at 15:42 with a bullet from outside the dotted line. Shots were 15-14 in Burnaby’s favour and they had held on to the 3-goal lead by a 7-4 score.
The third period was scoreless and only one penalty called as Victoria pulled out all the stops, including firing 21 shots at Penney but were unable to get anything past him. Hagedorn faced only 7 shots and was pulled for every possession in the last few minutes to try and get his team some scoring chances with an extra attacker. It was no go.
Chris Wardle led the Shamrocks with a pair of goals while Corey Small and Rhys Duch each scored once, adding 1 and 2 assists respectively.
The result prevents Victoria from taking first place from the Maple Ridge Burrards. The Burrards have 22 points to Victoria’s 21 with both teams having 2 games remaining in the regular schedule. It also moves Burnaby into a third place tie with the New Westminster Salmonbellies with 19 points. Burnaby has 3 games remaining including the return engagement next Friday at the Q Centre. New West has just 2 games remaining including a home match against the Shamrocks next Thursday. Burnaby’s win also mathematically eliminates both Nanaimo and Coquitlam from post-season play. We know who will be in the playoffs but placing is obviously up in the air at this point.
The Shamrocks travel to historic Queen’s Park Arena next Thursday to take on the Salmonbellies and return to the Q Centre the next night, Friday, July 28 for their final regular season game. That game is a 7:30 pm start and it will be Fan Appreciation Night. Come early for the tailgate party.