As the great Ric Flair, WWE Legend, would say “To be the best, you have to beat the best”. Sunday’s game showed why the New Westminster Salmonbellies are the top team in the WLA and the Victoria Shamrocks start the postseason as the #2 seed. While the Shamrocks came into the game knowing that a win against New Westminster would make no difference in who the ‘Rocks would play in the first round, it’s always a good feeling when you beat the best team in the standings on your home court. Instead, it was Victoria on the wrong side of an 8-4 loss that gives the Shamrocks 12 wins and 6 losses and finishes the season with 24 points.
Sunday’s game was an exceptional one for recent call-up Brad McCulley. He had his first career hat-trick against the ‘Bellies. This was after scoring his first career goal on Friday night when the ‘Rocks hosted Coquitlam. McCulley had 57 points in 16 games for the Junior ‘A’ Shamrocks this season and has been a call-up for the past two games for the big squad. McCulley has shown lots of promise in the last two games with 4 goals on just 12 shots.
The player that might have gained the most in Sunday’s loss was goalie Cody Hagedorn. “Hagz” made his first start since July 21st against Coquitlam and played a complete game for the first time since July 6th versus Langley. Hagedorn made 48 saves on 56 shots and make several key saves that kept the Shamrocks in the game until the end. While it’s too soon to tell who gets the start for Wednesday against Nanaimo, coach Bob Heyes is keeping his options open for Game #1.