Story Janice Huckin / Images Erich Eichhorn ( ISN )

It was billed as speed meets green as race cars from Western Speedway were on the lot during a pre-game tailgate party at the Q Centre Friday as the Shamrocks took on the Maple Ridge Burrards.  Well, the Burrards saw a lot of Shamrock speed as the home team jumped out to period leads of 6-2 and 10-4 on the way to a 14-8 victory.

The Shamrocks run away with a 14-8 win as Rocks Ben McCullough gets around an out of postion Burrard goalie Scigliano. – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

Adam Shute got his third straight start in goal for the Shamrocks while his counterpart was Frankie Scigliano.  It was the Rocks getting on the board first, as Cory Conway fired a hard underhand shot late in the 30-second clock to the back of the net at 1:06.  Just 26 seconds later, Jeff Shattler made it 2-0 with a shot from the dotted line that Scigliano looked pretty silly on.  Maple Ridge replied with a pair as Dan Taylor scored at 5:40 and at 6:39 Ben McIntosh got in close to tie things at 2.  Victoria came back with a 4-goal run, starting with Tyler Burton’s run off the ensuing faceoff, tallying at 6:45, that goal unassisted.  At 8:05 Shattler picked up his second of the night on the power play from the dotted line.  Rhys Duch made it 5-2 at 13:05 with a tip-in from right in front and a couple of those unsung “D” guys connected, Ben McCullough collecting a pass from Jon Harnett and burying it behind Scigliano at 19:58 as the goaltender was struggling to get back in the net.  Victoria was ahead in shots 15-11 and ahead on the scoreboard by a 6-2 margin.


Rhys Duch showed his magic, stymying the defense in close, scoring two goals on the evening on a balanced Shamrocks attack – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

The Rocks again scored early in the middle frame, Corey Small making good with a hard shot from outside the dotted line at 2:20.  Maple Ridge replied at 6:45, Matt Symes getting to the front of the net.  The teams traded goals once again, Chris Wardle notching a power play goal at 9:20, getting in close, as Victoria’s transition clicked it up a gear.  Once again the Burrards answered, Taylor picking up his second of the game at 11:20 before the Shamrocks picked up a pair to end the period, both from the stick of Wardle.  The first, at 12:19 saw him fake high and shoot low, with a delayed penalty about to be called and the second, at 15:29 on a scamper to the net.  Once again, the shots favoured the home team, this time by an 18-9 margin.


Duch, a focus of a hard checking Burrard defense, still found room to move to open up floor space for his teamates to score – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca)

Things got a little nasty in period three – not that it wasn’t during the first 40 minutes, and not that the referees noticed.  One could make it into a television show “idiots with whistles”.  In any event, the Shamrocks opened the period with 2 goals, the first, Wardle’s fourth of the night, just 2:07 in with a quick stick from the side.  Another goal from the defensive side of the ball came at 3:52 as Jon Harnett got the ball to Josh Fagan and he had an empty net as Scigliano had gone for a walk.  Maple Ridge came back with a 3-goal run, unsettling the fans a little bit as Luke Gillespie scored all 3, one at even strength, one on the power play and one shorthanded, to get the visitors to 12-7 by the 12:12 mark.  Victoria’s offense settled back in for a pair, Duch connecting at 14:57 and Paul Brebber, right off the next faceoff got a break at 15:06.  The visitors did manage to get one more behind Shute, Riley Lowen scoring at 19:28 but that was as close as they would come.


Cory Conway takes a stab at the Burrard’s defense. Conway would put up one marker and six helpers Friday night, good enough for second star honours – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

The victory was an important one, not only because it moves the Shamrocks within 2 points of the first place New Westminster Salmonbellies with 2 games in hand, but it also gives them the tie-breaker against Maple Ridge, winning the season series 2-1.  The Shamrocks also swept the three stars as Jon Harnett, with 3 assists was third; Cory Conway continued his strong season with a goal and 6 helpers for second star honours and Chris Wardle with 4 goals and 1 assist was the first star.  Rhys Duch and Jeff Shattler each chipped in a pair of goals with singles coming from Tyler Burton, Corey Small, Ben McCullough, Josh Fagan and Paul Brebber.  Adam Shute picked up his third straight win, stopping 20 of the 28 shots he faced.

Next up, the Shamrocks will travel to Burnaby next Friday, July 22 to face the Lakers, currently tied for third place with the Burrards.  They will also face the last place Langley Thunder on the road, Wednesday, July 27 before returning to the Q Centre on July 29 to take on the Lakers.