Jordan Gilles checking a Shamrock. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

See Coach Bob Heyes post-game interview below

© Copyright – 2018 – Victoria Sports News

Four comebacks in a game were just one indication of the youthful resolve of the Nanaimo Timbermen Wednesday night when they defeated the Victoria Shamrocks in double overtime 12-11.

The Shamrocks hosted the Timbermen in Game 1 of their seven-game Western Lacrosse Association first-round playoff series at The Q Centre and it was a thrilling game.

It is the first time that the teams met in the playoffs since the 1957 season, 61 years prior, which is remarkable considering the WLA has just seven teams.

The Timbermen drew first blood when Jake Archdekin sat for two minutes for roughing. Former Shamrock Evan Messenger scored at 2:55 over top of Adam Shute from Shute’s left side.

At 5:29, Shute sent Jesse King a pass, King turned inside the Timbermen’s end and fired a rink-wide pass to a streaking Casey Jackson who made no mistake scoring from 30-feet out.

Steve Priolo would score on a breakaway at 15:41 to go up 2-1. He was fed the breakout pass by the hard-working Brad McCulley. Mason Pynn tied the game up with an odd-man rush, scoring from Shute’s left side. Jordan Gilles and Gord Phillips earned assists on the play.

The Shamrocks appeared to be fighting fire with fire; playing a transition game against a good transition team.

The Shamrocks would start the second period better than they did the first, but the period didn’t end the way they planned it. The Shamrocks scored three of the first four goals, two from Casey Jackson and one from Duch. Nanaimo’s transition game would prove to be too much. They scored four unanswered goals in a span of 5:13. Mason Pynn would get his second while Jon Phillips, Chase Fraser and Brody Eastwood would get their first of the game. The teams would start the third period with the Timbermen up by the score of 7-5.

“I wish we had better fans support tonight. It seemed that there was mostly Nanaimo fans in the building tonight,” said Coach Bob Heyes.

Playoff tension would rise mid-way through the third period. With two Timbermen and one Shamrock in the box, Priolo would carry the ball into the Timbermen’s end, draw two players towards him and dish a pass in front to Chris Wardle, who was tackled.

With two men in the box each, Jesse King would score twice breaking in and going high over goaltender Charles Claxton at 8:55 and again at 9:28. Rob Hellyer and Rhys Duch set up both goals; the score was tied 7-7.

Nanaimo would get another, and then Wardle scored at 14:26 to tie the game 8-8. Casey Jackson set up the powerplay marker.

Thirty seconds later, the Shamrocks thought that they had their ninth goal, as did every single one of the fans of which there weren’t that many. It was an unusually sparse crowd for the Shamrocks.

Claxton earned a two-minute penalty for roughing on Matt Yager. Yager earned two minutes for a crease violation – the fans did not agree.

Seconds later the Shamrocks would get their ninth with Wardle scoring from King and Hellyer – the goal came at 15:12.

Late in the game, Derek Lloyd would score on the breakaway; he was sprung by Yager, with a 100-foot pass, to put the Shamrocks up 11-10. The game looked over until the Timbermen came back one more time. Chase Fraser would score with just 1.8 seconds remaining on the clock, with a shot from the top of the slot. Eastwood would earn an assist on the play.

Phillips would lead the Timbermen with 2 goals and 4 assists, while Chase Fraser would score twice and set up two more.

Hellyer would lead the Shamrocks with 1 goal and six assists while King scored two and set-up four more for six points.

Jon Phillips scored the game-winner during the second overtime at 19:51. Fraser assisted.

Asked if some of the veterans could get back into defensive positions quicker, Heyes said, “Yes that may have been an issue at times tonight.”

Shute would stop 56 of 68 shots fired his way, while Claxton stopped 48 of 59.

“I think both goaltenders played a good game,” said Heyes.

Nanaimo went 2/3 on the man-advantage, while Victoria went 1/3.

The teams play Friday in Nanaimo and then are back to Victoria for game three at The Q Centre on Sunday.