The Victoria Shamrocks opened the league final series with a big win over the visiting Maple Ridge Burrards at the Q Centre Friday. Victoria held period leads of 3-0 and 5-2 on the way to a 9-4 victory with what was probably their best all-round game of the season.
Starting goaltenders were Frankie Scigliano for the visitors and Adam Shute for the home team. The Rocks opened scoring at the 7:33 mark, Jesse King scoring with a quick stick from the side of the crease on the power play. Jr. ‘A’ Shamrock call-up Brad McCulley made it 2-0 for the boys in green at the 15-minute mark with a hard shot from outside the dotted line. Tyson Gibson added another just 15 seconds later, diving across in front to make it 3-0 and that’s how the period ended with the Shamrocks having an 11-10 edge in shots on goal.
Maple Ridge started to claw back into the game in period 2, Curtis Dickson scoring at 6:12 on the power play with a quick stick from the side of the net. He added his second at 7:54, going to the net to close the gap to a single goal. Special teams continued to be a factor as King picked up his second of the game for the Shamrocks at 13:18, getting in close, that goal coming with the Rocks playing down a man. Team captain, Matt Yager regained Victoria’s 3-goal lead at the 19-minute mark, gathering up a ball in front and that ended the second period scoring with the Shamrocks up 5-2. Maple Ridge outshot Victoria 15-13 in the middle frame but were still down by 3 on the scoreboard.
Victoria got on the board very early in the final period, Rhys Duch converting a pass from defender Steve Priolo from the side of the net just 27 seconds in. The Burrards collected a shorthanded marker from Dickson, his hat trick goal, at 2:57. At 8:52 Chris Wardle replied with yet another shorthanded goal, this coming off some great ball control on the penalty kill. Gibson added his second of the game for the Rocks at 10:36, that one coming on the power play off a rebound in front. Maple Ridge replied at 12:03 with a goal off the stick of Dan Taylor but that was as close as they would get on this night as Priolo put the game on ice with a solo effort at 15:21 as Scigliano tried in vain to get back to the net after going to the bench for the extra attacker. Shots on goal were 15-13 in favour of the home squad in period 3.
Jesse King and Tyson Gibson led the Rocks’ attack with 2 goals and an assist each. Rhys Duch and Steve Priolo contributed a goal and 2 helpers each with singles coming from Matt Yager, Chris Wardle and Brad McCulley. Rob Hellyer chipped in 3 helpers and Adam Shute was stellar between the pipes with 34 saves to claim first star honours. Steve Priolo was the game’s second star with solid play at both ends of the floor. Curtis Dickson of the Burrards was the third star of the contest with 3 of his team’s 4 goals.
Game 2 of this series moves to the mainland Sunday with game 3 scheduled back at the Q Centre Tuesday, August 21 at 6:30 pm.
Meanwhile, out in Ontario it will be the Peterborough Lakers taking on the Oakville Rock to determine who will host the Mann Cup. Peterborough ousted Brooklin in 7 games while the Rock defeated the Six Nations Chiefs in 6 games in their respective semi final series.