Knowing they needed to win by at least three goals or more to prevail in a potential three-way tiebreaker, the Victoria Shamrocks left themselves plenty of room to spare.
The Shamrocks scored the game’s first six goals and never looked back, defeating the Coquitlam Adanacs 15-7.
The closest the Adanacs came was cutting the deficit to five goals, 8-3, with more than half the game remaining. But Victoria stretched the lead to 10-3 after 40 minutes and closed things out in the third.
“Our backs were against the wall. It was either do-or-die and our guys came out to save our lives,” said Shamrocks head coach Terry Dennett.
Even with his team up 6-0 after 20 minutes, Dennett said there was no relax in his team.
“Coquitlam is so good. Pat Coyle is probably one of the best Junior A coaches in Canada by far (so) I don’t think any lead is safe with them.”
He did add that he felt the Adanacs were not at full health while adding that the game was likely the best 60-minute effort his team put together all season.
Patrick Dodds led all scorers with six points, including a pair of goals, while Zach Manns (three goals, two assists) and Brayden Brown (three goals, one assist) both had hat tricks. Manns was also one of three players with five points, alongside Ben Preston (two goals, three assists) and Austin Madronic (one goal, four assists) while Brown and Casey Wilson (four assists) each had four points.
Teioshontathe McComber and Liam Phillips had a pair of goals apiece.
Cameron Dunkerley finished with 43 saves in the Victoria goal, earning his team’s player of the game award. Will Clayton led all Coquitlam players with two goals and four points, earning the Adanac player of the game honours.
Reid Bowering had a hat trick and Braydon Cresswell finished with a pair of goals.
Nate Faccin made 25 saves on 34 shots while Cam MacLeod stopped six of a dozen shots.
Coquitlam dropped their final two round-robin games after opening with a victory.
Coyle said didn’t know what happened but did say he was proud of his team.
Now Victoria prepares for a rematch with an Okotoks team which beat them in the round-robin.
“They work every shift. They are a very well-coached team and they have that internal drive to work hard. We just have to match their intensity and effort,” Dennett said. “It is really going to get your shovel and putting your work boots on and making sure you hard hat stays on and getting to work.”