Victoria – In a back and forth, track meet style game, the New Westminster Salmonbellies pulled out a 9-7 game one win at Queens Park Arena. Now back on their own home floor, Victoria looks to tie the series at one, making it a best of five heading back to the mainland. The Shamrocks have had their success at home this season, with a 2-1 record at The Q in the playoffs after finishing 6-2-1 there in the regular season.
That one tie was the Salmonbellies only visit to Victoria this season, a 12-12 game, with each team scoring once in the extra session. It was also goaltender Aaron Bold’s first start of the season, as he stopped fifty-five of sixty-six shots. In that tie back in June, Victoria scored on six of nine power play opportunities, they were perfect on the man advantage in game one, scoring on their only opportunity.
There was a ten-minute span in the second period where the game turned on its head. The teams tied 2-2 in the first period, and New Westminster outscored Victoria 2-1 in the third. In the second, however, Danny Smith scored the period’s first goal with 15:05 remaining, giving the ‘Rocks a 3-2 lead. Fast forward ten minutes, Connor Robinson put the Bellies ahead, 7-6. The teams flicked on the red light nine times in ten minutes of game action, with the last five tallies in 2:21.
New Westminster Salmonbellies Scouting report:
The Shamrocks face a similar challenge as was posed by Burnaby’s Robert Church in the opening round, Mitch Jones now leads the league in playoff points with thirty-seven, including twenty-one goals. That twenty-one are nine more than any player remaining in the playoffs (Church had 18, Maple Ridge’s Matt Dinsdale had 17), Casey Jackson leads Victoria with twelve while Resetarits has eleven. Alexis Buque has been a busy man, playing all but four minutes in the playoffs, nearly forty minutes more than any other net minder, and has the lowest goals against average. Buque could be considered the reason why the Salmonbellies are even in the WLA Finals, as he stopped an incredible sixty-four shots in game seven of the opening round against Maple Ridge in a 9-8 win.