Written by Justis Doucet
One common denominator with the Victoria Shamrocks this season has been a never say die attitude, and that showed in the third period of game four on Friday at home. Victoria’s furious comeback forced overtime, but was not enough in a 9-8 defeat at the hands of New Westminster.
Victoria jumped out to an early 3-0 lead with goals from Rhys Duch, Joe Resetarits, and Chris Wardle all inside the opening seven minutes. Duch opened the scoring at 4:05, as Resetarits and Wardle followed within the next 3:01 to go ahead. Kevin Crowley found the back of the net on the power play for the Salmonbellies with six minutes to go in the period.
After leading 3-1 through twenty minutes, Victoria then surrendered the next five, falling behind 6-3 before Duch found the twine for his second of the night. The Salmonbellies responded with a pair of their own, as Justin Goodwin answered Duch’s tally with his own just thirteen seconds later. New Westminster led 8-4 through forty minutes, but Victoria wouldn’t quit.
Jake Archdekin’s first of the playoffs sparked a Victoria rally, as fellow defender Tyler Hass scored shortly after trimming the deficit to two. The Shamrocks then used special teams to get back into the game, as Corey Small’s power play goal just thirty-nine seconds after Hass’ marker brought the hosts within one. Mike Triolo was penalized five minutes for cross checking with fifty-nine seconds left and Victoria down a goal, but cue Rhys Duch. “Clutch Duch” tied the game with a shorthanded goal with Aaron Bold on the bench making it five on five, with just nineteen seconds left, sending the capacity crowd at the Q Centre into a frenzy. Victoria turned the 8-4 deficit into a tie game and headed to overtime for their first time in the playoffs.
New Westminster struck just after Triolo’s penalty expired for the only goal of overtime as the Salmonbellies took home a 9-8 victory and a 3-1 series lead. Both Corey Small and Rhys Duch scored four points, while Resetarits, Wardle, and Jackson had multi-point games. Aaron Bold made thirty-nine saves while Salmonbellies goaltender Alexis Buque made forty-seven.
It’s now do or die for Victoria, as they head back to Queens Park Arena for game five, a must win if they want to return to Victoria for game six. Game five is Sunday on the mainland, while a Shamrocks win would mean game six is Tuesday back home.
Game highlights: https://youtu.be/mtbKnlT6b_U
Next game (AWAY): Game 5, Sunday August 27, 6pm at New Westminster, Queens Park Arena