The Victoria Shamrocks should have an easier time getting to The Q Centre tonight than they did last week when they visited the Burnaby Lakers.
Last Friday, the team’s bus driver took a wrong turn and the ‘Rocks ended up in stuck in traffic. The bus finally arrived at seven o’clock and the start of the game was delayed 30 minutes as they threw on their gear.
“I gave my pre-game speech on the bench and off we went,” said Shamrocks head coach Bob Heyes.
The ‘Rocks ended up with a 12-10 loss, trailing by as much as 9-4 before eventually closing the gap.
Heyes wouldn’t use the delay as an excuse but admitted that the scenario was less than ideal.
Forward Corey Small opened the scoring for the ‘Rocks, but that would be the last lead they would hold as the Lakers tied the contest just over a minute later.
Burnaby kept its nose in front the rest of the way, save for a brief stretch late in the first where the teams were knotted at three goals apiece.
Netminder Adam Shute made just 19 saves on 27 shots in 25:34 of game time before getting pulled in favour of Cody Hagedorn, who mostly kept Burnaby in check from there, allowing just three goals over the game’s final 34:04.
It was 8-4 in favour of the Lakers when Shute got yanked – and they extended the lead to 9-4 shortly afterwards – but the switch seemed to work, as the Shamrocks scored four of the next five goals to get themselves back to within two.
The teams traded goals just past the third period’s midway point and the ‘Rocks got a goal from Shattler with their net empty to get them to within one.
Victoria couldn’t find the equalizer and the Lakers added an empty netter with a second left to put an exclamation mark on the win.
The Lakers got four goals and three assists from Robert Church in the victory, while Victoria got a hat trick and seven points from Jeff Shattler in the losing cause. ‘Rocks’ leading scorer Rhys Duch added a hat trick of his own as well as a pair of assists.
Friday’s home date will be the rubber match of the season series between the two clubs, as the Shamrocks had previously taken a 12-9 contest on June 21.
“We always want to win every season series,” Heyes said, adding that it would be important in the standings and for the team’s confidence in future matchups.
“We may see them in the playoffs.”
The loss kept the Shamrocks in third place in the WLA standings, although they hold three games in hand on the second-place Maple Ridge Burrards.
They’ll be hoping to leap into second this weekend as they make up those games in hand.
In addition to tonight’s (July 29) home date with Burnaby, the Shamrocks played Langley on Wednesday (July 27) and they’ll travel to Coquitlam for a matchup with the Adanacs on Saturday.
The ‘Rocks dominated the Adanacs by a 15-5 score in their lone matchup earlier this season.
The ‘Rocks will close out the regular season next weekend with an Aug. 5 home finale against Nanaimo and another visit to Coquitlam the following night. One more victory from the club’s final five games will secure a playoff spot.