Plagued by slow starts, the Victoria Shamrocks again gave up the first goal Friday at The Q Centre and nearly gave up the game while carrying a full complement versus a depleted Nanaimo Timbermen squad. The Shamrocks barely eked out an 11-10 overtime win.
The Shamrocks entered the game with a record of 5-3 and situated in third place in the Western Lacrosse Association. The Timbermen, in fourth, were just one point behind, sporting a record of 4-5-1. The win gives separation between the two island rivals.
“Unfortunately it was an ugly game,” said Coach Bob Heyes. “We didn’t play good at all. If you want to take a positive, it was an ugly game that we gutted out to get the win, but hats off to Nanaimo, they were short-handed and were without most of their star players tonight and didn’t have anything to lose.”
At 6:06 of the first period, Brandan Smith opened the scoring with a five-hole shot on goaltender Cody Hagedorn for the first of two for the 6’4” 210-pound Victoria native.
At 9:50, Jesse King threw a one-handed lob across the front of the net to Tyson Gibson, it appeared to be going nowhere, but King, playing a sneaky give-and-go move, ran to the front of the net, Gibson returned the ball and King made no mistake firing a high shot on 6’4” 200-pound goaltender Charles Claxton.
Nanaimo would go up 3-2, when Baden Boyenko would get a powerplay marker while Ben McCullough would serve a two-minute minor for holding – it was an apparent make-up call.
The Timbermen would score first in the second period as well, as Keenan Koswin would bury one at 3:43, however, Gibson would step up and score a pair, back-to-back at 5:39 shorthanded and again at 8:32 unassisted. His second goal came after an extended foray into the Timbermen’s end while killing off a penalty to the bench, served by Daniel Smith for too many men.
“I was nervous for the first 10 minutes of the first game, but have been comfortable since,” said Gibson. “The veteran guys have been welcoming and helped me adapt to the Senior-A level.”
“Tonight though, we didn’t play the way we wanted, but am happy to come away with two points.”
The Shamrocks would go up after Jackson and Rob Hellyer each scored at 10:16 and 13:24, respectively. Jesse King setup both goals.
King at 6’3” may be big, but he slips into the slot deftly. For his second goal of the game, he just appeared in front of Claxton out of nowhere, received the ball and again buried the Shamrocks fifth unanswered goal of the period.
Brody Eastwood would score two powerplay markers 24 seconds apart while Greg Harnett served a five-minute penalty for high sticking. The goals would keep the Timbermen in the game as the teams exited the floor to the dressing rooms with the Shamrocks perilously holding onto their 7-6 lead after two periods.
The Timbermen started the third period, the same way that they started the first two, by scoring, twice. Brandan Smith and Matthew Benedict tallied at 29 seconds and 1:22 to take an 8-7 lead and silence a near sellout crowd. Victoria returned the favour with two, one from Rhys Duch and Gibson with his third of the game. Nanaimo again would come back with a pair from Eastwood with his third and Belgrave.
With the game nearly out of reach and down 9-10, at 18:13, Kinger again slipped into the slot and Duch fed him a sneaky pass over the head of a defender, King made no mistake. His hat-trick goal would send the game into overtime.
The game tightened up during the extra frame, as neither team wanted to let in a goal as there are no points in an overtime loss. So the high-powered Shamrocks managed to get the only goal of the 10-minute period from their defensive unit as Matt Yager buried one from Brett Craig and Derek Lloyd.
King would add three assists to collect a total of six points, Gibson added an assist for four points and Hellyer scored once and set up three others.
Eastwood led Nanaimo with three goals and two assists for five points.
The Shamrocks outshot the Timbermen 53-42.
The Shamrocks play again Saturday in Coquitlam against the Adanacs.