The Shamrocks won back-to-back games on consecutive nights as they returned to the Q Centre Friday and jumped into second place by handing the visiting Maple Ridge Burrards a 14-9 defeat. That came on the heels of a 12-11 road win against the league-leading New Westminster Salmonbellies.
There was a huge crowd on hand at the Q Centre as it was alumni night, giving fans a chance to catch up with many past Shamrocks players and also to honour Kevin Alexander, who had his #26 jersey retired.
Starting goaltenders were Frankie Scigliano for the Burrards and Adam Shute, getting his first start for the Shamrocks, newly in the line-up after helping his NLL Saskatchewan Rush to the Champions Cup. Victoria got on the board early, Jesse King scoring from an odd angle just inside the dotted line at 2:07. Chris Wardle made it 2-0 for the home team with a power play goal at 4:06 with a quick stick from the side of the crease. Maple Ridge replied about 4 minutes later, Curtis Dickson tallying at 8:23 from right in front and they tied the score at 2 at 9:37, Jean-Luc Chetner stealing the ball in front and scoring unassisted. Tyson Gibson restored the Rocks’ lead at 13:59, getting in close and King’s second of the night made it a 2-goal lead once again with a power play marker at 15:48. Mike Mallory got one back for the Burrards, also on the power play at 19:35, that coming with a 5-on-3 man advantage. Shots on goal were pretty even at 18-16 for the visitors but the home team had the 4-3 lead on the scoreboard.
Maple Ridge’s power play capitalized again to open the middle frame, Dickson picking up his second at 7:21 from outside the dotted line to tie the score but a Victoria man advantage was successful as Rhys Duch fired a bullet from outside the dotted line at 10:14. Once again, Maple Ridge replied, Riley Loewen scoring just 7 seconds after Duch’s goal. Victoria got on a bit of a run after that, scoring 5 straight goals, the first coming from Josh Fagan at 13:02 in close, followed by Casey Jackson’s quick stick from the dotted line at 13:44. King picked up his hat trick marker at 14:02, finishing off some quick passes in front to make it 8-5. Jackson added his second at 16:51, after a great penalty kill, with a hard, low shot. Wardle collected his second of the game on the power play at 17:57 with a quick shot late in the 30-second and that drove Scigliano from the Maple Ridge goal in favour of Brandon Humphrey. The teams traded goals, Dickson picking up his hat trick goal for the Burrards at 19:16 and Wardle getting his third at 19:23 on a run off the faceoff. Maple Ridge again held the edge in shots by 21-17 but were down 11-6 on the board.
Scigliano returned to the Burrards’ crease to start the final period and Victoria increased the lead to 6 with Wardle’s fourth goal, again coming with the man advantage just 2:50 into the final period. Maple Ridge replied with 3 straight, the first coming at 6:28 from Adam Dickson. They then pulled Scigliano for an extra attacker when in possession and managed to score a couple more, both from Riley Loewen at 12:17 and 13:08, giving him 3 on the night. A couple of Victoria’s stalwart defenders finished the scoring, Steve Priolo scoring into an almost-empty net, Scigliano trying to get back in at 15:38 and Ben McCullough did exactly the same thing at 17:37, both goals unassisted to put the game out of reach.
Chris Wardle led Victoria’s attack with 4 goals and 4 assists to earn first star honours. Rhys Duch also had an 8-point night with a goal and 7 helpers. Jesse King had 3 goals and 3 assists, Casey Jackson contributed 2 goals and 2 assists with singles coming from Josh Fagan, Tyson Gibson, Steve Priolo and Ben McCullough. Priolo was named the game’s second star. Adam Shute kicked out 44 of the 53 shots he faced.
Curtis Dickson and Riley Loewen each had a hat trick for the Burrards.
The result moves the Shamrocks alone into second place, 2 points behind the New Westminster Salmonbellies, who also picked up a win Friday against the Burnaby Lakers and 2 points ahead of the Burrards who will face the Nanaimo Timbermen Saturday. Next action for the Shamrocks is next Friday when they will be on the road to face the Burnaby Lakers. Next home game is in 2 weeks on Friday, June 29 when they will play the Nanaimo Timbermen in a 7:30 pm at the Q Centre.