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The Victoria Shamrocks took on the Maple Ridge Burrards for game two of their three-games-in-four-nights run and handily won by the score of 12-5.
The Shamrocks lost Game 1 by the score of 9-7 in Langley against the Thunder, while first-place New Westminster Salmonbellies took care of the Burnaby Lakers 13-12 Thursday night at home, to hold top spot in the league.
“Tonight was a good game, it was a playoff match. I think we played well,” said Tyson Gibson.
The Shamrocks may have cured their slowed start issue, as they scored at 1:46 with an unassisted break-a-way goal where Derek Lloyd ran the floor to bury the ball past goaltender Brandon Humphrey.
Chase McIntyre got one back 30 seconds later, then Victoria scored three of the next four with Adam Golia getting his first goal as a Shamrocks player. The 5’10” speedster and Victoria native is just 22-years-of-age.
“We have a young team, so some nights you are not sure what you are going to get, but this was a playoff type game and we showed maturity, out there,” said Coach Bob Heyes.
The teams went to the dressing room with the Shamrocks up 4-3.
The Shamrocks outscored the Burrards 4-2 during the second period with Casey Jackson picking up a couple of spectacular goals. Gibson and Jesse King also scored. Jackson barely missed putting in what could have been a goal-of-the-year, as he rushed through the slot, and snapped a hard shot from behind the back, which Humphrey was not expecting – he didn’t move until the ball hit him. The near sell-out crowd appreciated the elite move.
For Maple Ridge, Mike Mallory scored two, back-to-back at 11:36 and 14:45. He missed late in the period on what appeared to be a sure-bet goal, he was getting frustrated and it may have affected his game. After two periods the score was 8-5 for Victoria.
Ben McCullough and Kevin Reid fought at 12:26 of the first period; McCullough earned an authoritative takedown for the win. At 11:49 of the second period, Greg Harnett and Reid went at it and Harnett won by a unanimous decision, he had two particularly good right hands land to Reid’s face.
“Reid is a guy who a lot of players don’t want to challenge in this league,” said Heyes. “He will take a punch in order to deliver one. He is a tough guy, but Harnett and McCullough are tough as well.”
There were no powerplay opportunities until 13:28 of the third. While killing off a minor to Daniel Smith for holding the stick, the Shamrocks scored a shorthanded marker. Rob Hellyer scored from King and Gibson.
With 2:13 remaining in the game 22-year-old Zach Christiansen scored a pretty goal, running nearly an end-to-end break-a-way and depositing the ball over the right shoulder of Humphrey.
The Shamrocks outshot the Burrards 61-38.
Both teams went 0-1 on the man advantage.
The Shamrocks next play Saturday night against the Coquitlam Adanacs, in Coquitlam.
Elsewhere, the Burnaby Lakers took out the Langley Thunder 16-14, in Langley.
Post-game interview with Tyler Gibson: