The 12-5 Victoria Shamrocks hosted the 2-16 Coquitlam Adanacs Friday night for their second-to-last game of the 2018 regular season. The Shamrocks manhandled the visitors, winning by the score of 14-4.
The Shamrocks inserted a few Junior Shamrocks into the lineup including Marshal King, the younger brother of top forward Jesse King, giving Rhys Duch and Chris Wardle a rest due to injury.
Although the game was meaningless for the standings, it was an opportunity to get into playoff mode and work on parts of the game that need to be fine-tuned for the post-season.
For the Shamrocks, the game did not appear to be a playoff effort for most of the first period. As they have had their share of slow starts this season and have been guilty of playing down to the level of their competition, there was concern amongst the near sell-out crowd at The Q Centre, but not amongst the players.
“No, I wasn’t worried at all. I was just waiting for the offense to start going. It was just a matter of time to find your rhythm and we did that. We had something like nine goals in a row at one point,” said Casey Jackson.
The Adanacs drew first blood with an early goal by Jaeden Gastaldo at 3:26 from Brad Breadon. It was the second break-a-way of the game.
The Adanacs held the Shamrocks off the scoreboard until 11:24 with sound team defence.
Marshal King finally got the Shamrocks on the board with a shot from the left side of goaltender Andrew Gallant. It appeared to go five-hole.
It was King’s first game this season with the senior club. Marshal King has played parts of three seasons with the junior club collecting 153 points over just 29 games including 72 points in just 11 games in 2018. He played three playoff games last year for the senior club, picking up a goal. King plays in the NCAA for Drexel University Dragons.
Asked if he thinks Marshal is ready for senior lacrosse Coach Bob Heyes said, “yes.”
Any concern with having a junior player in the lineup wasn’t an issue, as team points leader Jackson agreed, “We played up with them in the line-up, not down. It is just a matter of getting used to their style of play. The Kings are similar, so it wasn’t too much of an adjustment.”
The Adanacs tied the game at three goals apiece with Dean Fairall scoring at 1:50 of the second, then the Shamrocks and especially Jessie King seemed to turn up the heat offensively, their aggressive fore-checking paid dividends.
The Shamrocks scored seven unanswered goals during the second period. Jesse King led the way with a pair of goals and two assists including one spectacular behind the back, no-look pass to Steve Priolo who made no mistake at 10:43. King also collected two assists during the first period. He would contribute more in the third. He ended up as player of the game with two goals and seven assists.
The Shamrocks ended up scoring 11 consecutive goals before the Adanacs responded with Gastaldo getting his second of the game at 10:29 of the third.
The Adanacs were getting frustrated with the lopsided score and instigated rough play. At one point, Jesse King tackled a defender in front of his own net, after taking a few shots to the head.
Asked if there was concern (because of an injury two years ago) Rob Hellyer said, “No, he is a big boy he can handle himself.”
Victoria didn’t let up and added insult to injury with Mack Mitchell getting a powerplay marker at 18:58, under the right arm of Dan Lewis who replaced Gallant after 47:57 minutes of play. It was Mitchell’s first goal as a Shamrock.
The Shamrocks outshot the Adanacs 57-36. The powerplays went 0/1 and 1/3 for the Adanacs and Shamrocks, respectively.
POST-SEASON: The Shamrocks will be playing Wednesday, Aug. 1 and Sunday the 5th at The Q Centre. Their opponent will be determined after the Nanaimo Timbermen play Saturday. Should they lose, the Shamrocks will play Maple Ridge, if Nanaimo wins or ties, they will play Victoria. The road game will be played on the Friday.