The Victoria Shamrocks got off to a bit of a sluggish start in game 2 of their WLA final series against the New Westminster Salmonbellies Sunday at the Q Centre but when the offensive fuse was lit, it was dynamite. The Shamrocks held period leads of 5-3 and 9-4 on their way to a convincing 11-5 victory to tie the series at 1 game apiece in front of a raucous home crowd.
As in game one, starting goaltenders were Alexis Buque and Aaron Bold for the visitors and home teams respectively. New West opened the scoring on a power play at 6:17, Kevin Crowley capitalizing from outside the dotted line. They went up by a pair at 7:03 on Connor Robinson’s goal as he found the 5-hole also from well out. It took over 8 minutes for the next goal to go up on the scoreboard and again it was the ‘Bellies, Joel McCready getting in close, faking and shooting to put the visitors up 3-0. Then Victoria’s offense caught fire as Joe Resetarits collected a power play goal at 15:24 from outside the dotted line to pull the home team within a pair. Evan Messenger, who also came up big in game 1, cut the gap to one at 17:16, using his speed to get to the net. Just 38 seconds later it was Rhys Duch knotting the score at 3 as he was fighting off a check and Buque seemed to be surprised at the shot. At 19:03, Corey Small scored the first of three consecutive goals, going to the net. Although Buque got a piece of it, the ball found the back of the net giving the Rocks their first lead of the game. Just 41 seconds later Small scored on a bad angle shot from in close and gave the Shamrocks a 5-3 lead going into the dressing room. Victoria held the edge in shots on goal by a 21-17 margin and, with 5 goals in a span of 3:25 were full value for the lead.
Small and the Shamrocks kept their streak going into the middle frame as he notched his hat trick marker just 1:07 in from outside the dotted line. That goal came with an extra attacker on the floor on a delayed penalty call. At the 2-minute mark, the defense got into the action as Tyler Burton and Danny Smith got the ball up the floor and Steve Priolo put the ball behind Buque. Tye Belanger went between the pipes for New West but only for a minute, giving Buque a bit of a breather before he returned. Another ‘Bellies delayed penalty call resulted in Victoria’s eighth goal of the game at 6:34, Resetarits picking up his second of the game. There were no other goals until the 19:57 mark of the period when New Westminster got a power play goal from Logan Schuss from outside the dotted line. The visitors outshot the Shamrocks 15-10 in the period to give them a 32-31 lead over 40 minutes but they were down 8-4 on the scoreboard.
The Rocks’ power play struck just 1:23 into the final period, Casey Jackson scoring from outside the dotted line. The ‘Bellies got that one back at 2:47, McCready collecting his second with a hard, low shot from outside the dotted line. At 15:47, Victoria’s defense once again used their transition game as Tyler Hass scored from Priolo and Greg Harnett, that goal coming shorthanded and putting the Shamrocks into double digits. Duch then added his second of the night at 16:48 from outside the dotted line and the Rocks killed the rest of the clock. Interestingly the officials called a pair of roughing penalties, one to each team with just 3 seconds left in the game. Interesting only because of the lack of such calls to that point. Victoria again held the edge in shots on goal by a 19-14 margin, 50-46 overall in the game.
Corey Small led Victoria’s offense with 3 goals and 3 helpers while Rhys Duch and Joe Resetarits each chipped in 2 of each. Evan Messenger and Steve Priolo added a goal and 2 helpers while Casey Jackson and Tyler Hass added singles. Chris Wardle picked up 3 assists and the defense, anchored by Aaron Bold held New Westminster sniper Mitch Jones to a single assist. The Rocks swept the 3 stars with Corey Small, Steve Priolo and Aaron Bold going 1-2-3.
Only Joel McCready was able to solve Bold more than once, picking up 2 goals and 1 assist.
Next game is in New Westminster on the wooden floor at Queen’s Park Arena Tuesday at 6:00 pm with game 4 back at the Q Centre on Friday, August 25 also at 6. Finally lacrosse back on its normal night at the Q.