The Victoria Shamrocks hung on for an 11-9 win over the New Westminster Salmonbellies at The Q Centre Friday to improve their record to 2-0, their best start since the 2013 season.
Despite missing some key players including captain Corey Small, as well as Jesse King and Jeff Shattler, the Shamrocks started strong, with Chris Wardle giving Victoria the lead 13:29 into the first period. New Westminster stormed back with two goals before Wardle tallied again to knot the score, but a last second goal by Patrick Miles gave the Salmonbellies the lead going into the second period.
After New Westminster scored to make it 4-2, Jr. Shamrocks call-up Cole Pickup scored his first Western Lacrosse Association goal to pull the Shamrocks within one. After trading goals, the Salmonbellies took a commanding three-goal lead with five minutes left in the period.
Coach Bob Heyes settled the team down during a timeout, and Victoria responded with late goals by Rhys Duch and Thomas Moffat to close the gap to 7-6 heading into the final period.
Shamrocks defenceman Tyler Burton, in his first game back, sparked the home team with a shorthanded goal just eight seconds into the third to tie the game.
Shamrocks goalie Cody Hagedorn and New Westminster netminder Eric Penney made some big saves to keep the score even before Wardle gave the Shamrocks their first lead since the first period. Salmonbellies forward Dane Sorenson scored to tie the game with less than five minutes left, setting up a frantic final two minutes.
The back and forth affair was capped off by Wardle scoring the winner, his fifth goal of the game, with 1:38 to play. Ben McCullough scored an empty-netter to seal the deal for the Shamrocks.
The Shamrock’s next home game is June 3 when they take on the Maple Ridge Burrards. For tickets or more information check out victoriashamrocks.com.