The Victoria Shamrocks came into their home ‘barn’ looking to take a stranglehold on their best-of-seven semi-final series against the Burnaby Lakers. They had taken home floor advantage with the road win in game 1 but the start was anything but positive as the Rocks trailed 5-1 and 6-4 by period before scoring 5 unanswered goals in the final period to come away with a 9-6 win and a 2-0 advantage in the series.
As in game 1, the starting goaltenders were Eric Penney for the Lakers and Aaron Bold for the home team. Burnaby got on the board first, Robert Church scoring from outside the dotted line. Chris Wardle evened the score for the Shamrocks at 8:22 with a quick stick from the dotted line after a good penalty kill on the only violation called in the opening period. After that, it was all Lakers as Church picked up his second at 14:28 from the dotted line.
Jackson Decker made it 3-1 at 15:57 off a loose ball and a run to the net. That was followed by Peter McFetridge’s goal at 17:35, again grabbing a loose ball and getting up the floor. Church made it a first-period hat trick at 19:16 from outside the dotted line. The Lakers held an 19-13 edge in shots on goal and were up 5-1 on the scoreboard. Despite the discrepancy in shots, Victoria’s defense and Bold played well but Burnaby capitalized on offensive mistakes.
Period 2 started on a better note for the home team, as they scored the first 3 goals starting with Joe Resetarits’ tally at 5:01, going to the net. Just 57 seconds later, Corey Small found the back of the net from outside the dotted line, an unassisted goal. That seemed to catch the Victoria captain on fire as he picked up his second of the game at 12:07, coming off the bench and walking in close.
That put the Rocks within a goal but a flukey goal by Burnaby at 14:49 regained the 2-goal lead as Cam Milligan was credited but for those fans sitting directly behind the net there remains some question as to whether it ever crossed the line. In any event, the goal stood (no instant replay in this league). That made it 6-4 for the Lakers who again enjoyed the edge in shots on goal by a margin of 17-14.
The Shamrocks owned the final frame, rattling off 5 unanswered goals, including 2 on the power play as the Lakers lost composure and took 4 of 5 penalties in the period. In fact the Rocks started the period on a power play and Small picked up his hat trick marker at 1:55 with a hard, low shot from outside the dotted line. Casey Jackson, who led the attack in game 1, jumped into the offensive stats with a goal at 5:08 on a run to the net. That tied the game at 6 and the Rocks took their first lead of the contest at 8:04, Evan Messenger connecting with a quick stick in close. Zack Boychuck replaced Penney between the pipes but only to give the goaltender a breather as he soon returned. Resetarits got his second of the game for the home team on the power play at 13:15 finishing off some tic-tac-toe passing in close. Sheldon Burns would round out the scoring with an unassisted empty netter, running the floor to bury the ball in the twine at 16:44. Late in the contest, Burnaby took a ‘too many men’ penalty and, within the last two minutes that results in a penalty shot which was taken but unfortunately missed by Corey Small. They didn’t really need any more goals and they managed to run the clock down. While the offense stepped up during the final 40 minutes, a lot of the energy came from the back end, especially in the third period when the Rocks outshot the Lakers 17-8. Jr. ‘A’ call-up Danny Smith was like the energizer bunny and it seemed to pick up the tempo for the whole team, especially needed with several key defenders on the shelf due to injuries. Shots on goal were even 44-44 overall.
Leading Victoria’s offense was Corey Small with 3 goals and 4 assists. Joe Resetarits added a pair of goals and 3 helpers. Chris Wardle, Casey Jackson, Evan Messenger and Sheldon Burns added singles. Small was the game’s first star with Aaron Bold named second star, making 37 saves to pick up the second win of the post-season.
Robert Church scored the hat trick for Burnaby all in the opening period. Four players added singles.
The series moves back to the mainland for game 3 on Monday at 6:00 pm. Game 4 will be back at the Q Centre, also a 6:00 pm start on Wednesday, August 9.
In the other WLA semi-final, Maple Ridge pulled out an 8-3 win over the New Westminster Salmonbellies in game 1, a fight-filled affair.
In Major Series Lacrosse in Ontario, both series are tied 1-1 with Peterborough playing Brooklin and Six Nations taking on Oakville.