Ian McNaughton/Christopher Kelsall
Friday is game day for the Victoria Shamrocks and Nanaimo, who will return to The Q Centre in Game 5 of their WLA semi-final playoff series. Tuesday night in Nanaimo, the Shamrocks were rock-steady defeating their island rivals by the score of 12-7. It was a complete performance for the Shamrocks. They left Frank Crane Arena with a 3-1 series lead and a chance to clinch the series at home Friday.
After losing the first game in sudden death double-overtime 12-11, the Shamrocks have only been down for 1:42 out of a potential 180 minutes in the previous three games. The rest of the series has either been tied or the Shamrocks have had the lead.
A key difference in this series has been that the team that scores the most goals in the second period has gone on to win each game.
Game 1 saw Nanaimo outscore Victoria 5-3 and went on to win. In the previous three games, the Shamrocks have doubled the Timbermen in second-period goals, 16-8. If the Shamrocks lead after 40 minutes, odds are they’ll be victorious by the end of the night.
The Shamrocks have been dangerous on offense, they are averaging 10.5 goals per game and what makes this team explosive has been the scoring depth. The ‘Rocks already have five different players with five goals the leader is Casey Jackson, who has 10 goals for Victoria.
As a result of the ‘Rocks fiery offense, Nanaimo has pulled starting goalie Charles Claxton in the last two games. Backup Timbermen netminder Mike DeGirolamo has been serviceable in his two appearances playing 60:28 in the combined games, with 7.94 goals against average and a .822 save percentage. Nanaimo performed better in the second half of Game 3 than Game 4 with DeGirolamo in the net but it takes a team to weather the storm.
Rob Hellyer leads the team in points. Hellyer had a hat-trick and two assists in Game 4 and sits at 21 points through four games. He has scored at least five points in every game he’s played since July 6th versus Langley. He should be in line for another offensive burst Friday against Nanaimo.
If necessary, Game 6 will be played on Sunday in Nanaimo and Game 7 would be played on Tuesday, August 14th 7:30 pm.