The Burnaby Lakers have re-taken home floor advantage in their semi-final series with the Victoria Shamrocks, coming into the Q Centre Sunday and walking away with an 8-5 victory. That knots the series at 3 games apiece with the series returning to the Bill Copeland Arena Tuesday for a winner-take-all game 7. For the second straight game, Burnaby owned the third period, outscoring the Rocks 4-1.
Starting goaltenders, as for all previous games, were Aaron Bold for Victoria and Eric Penney for Burnaby. Burnaby came out with some early jump and took the lead just 1:20 into the opening frame, Eli McLaughlin picking up a rebound right in front. They made it 2-0 on Scott Jones’ tally at 7:37 with a hard shot from outside the dotted line. Victoria finally got on the scoresheet at 9:17 when two Jr. ‘A’ Shamrocks combined as Cole Pickup converted a pass from teammate Danny Smith to narrow the gap to 1. Casey Jackson got the Rocks even with a scoring shot off a rebound from the side of the net at 11:04 and suddenly the fans were happy again. They were even happier when Mike Triolo gave the Shamrocks their first lead of the game at 15:49, getting in close. They had a great opportunity to extend the lead with a 2-man power play for almost a full two minutes but failed to do anything with it. The period ended with the Shamrocks up 3-2 and having the edge in shots by an 18-13 margin.
Burnaby opened the scoring again in the middle period, Cam Milligan connecting at 8:18, getting in close. The Rocks finally connected with the man advantage at 11:37, Joe Resetarits firing a hard overhand shot from just inside the dotted line. At 16:17, just 12 seconds into a power play, Burnaby tied the score again, Milligan getting his second of the night with a quick stick from the side of the net. With the score knotted at 4, the teams went to the dressing room for the second intermission. Burnaby had a big edge in shots on goal in the period 15-8 and 28-26 overall.
The Lakers came out strong again in the third period, Jones, getting his second 4:58 in, going to the net. They went up by a pair at 5:48, Robert Church doing the damage getting in close. Jones got the hat trick goal at 6:51, making it 3 goals in just under 2 minutes, that shot finding the top corner from outside the dotted line and making the score 8-4. Shamrocks captain Corey Small found twine at 8:05 to stop the bleeding, going to the net but that was all the Rocks would manage as Church collected his second of the game at the 15-minute mark to salt away the victory, that goal coming with a 5-on-3 manpower advantage, two Shamrocks going off together at 14:05.
Shamrock fans are struggling with what seems to be a lack of urgency or killer instinct. While a couple of guys have played well, most of the hustle has come from Jr. ‘A’ call-ups Danny Smith in particular. Joe Resetarits has by far been the most consistent player on offense as players walk on and off the floor, with the result that 20 seconds of the 30-second shot clock has expired before they are in a position to get a shot away. That position is well away from the net. Burnaby won the loose ball battles consistently in game 6, went to the net with shots and ended up with a slight 41-37 edge in shots on goal.
No Shamrock scored more than once, with Joe Resetarits and Corey Small each scoring a goal and adding 2 assists. Mike Triolo had a goal and 1 helper with other goals coming from Cole Pickup and Casey Jackson. Resetarits was named the game’s third star.
Meanwhile for the Lakers, Scott Jones had his second straight hat trick with Cam Milligan and Robert Church each chipping in a pair of goals. Eli McLaughlin had the other goal and added 2 assists. Goaltender Eric Penney kicked out 32 of the 37 shots he faced to be named the first star of the game with Scott Jones picking up second star honours.
As noted the series shifts back to Burnaby for game 7 on Tuesday. Game time is 6:00 pm. It will be the end of the line for one of these teams while the other will move onto the league finals for the right to advance to the Mann Cup. In the other series the New Westminster Salmonbellies stayed alive with an 11-9 overtime win in their fifth game Saturday night. The Maple Ridge Burrards continue to hold a 3-2 advantage with game 6 back at historic Queen’s Park Arena in New West Monday at 7:30.