Rocks Triumph at Home

by Janice Huckin

If you think it’s been a while since you’ve seen the Tier 1 Shamrocks at home, you’d be correct but it was a triumphant return to the Q Centre Saturday as the home team beat the visiting Port Coquitlam Saints 11-7 on Junior Shamrocks Alumni Day.

Starting in goal for the Shamrocks was Adam Bland while his counterpart at the other end of the floor was Tyler Pongracz and it was Victoria getting on the board first, Jonathon Boyd tallying just 36 seconds into the contest with a hard overhand shot from outside the dotted line.  The Rocks went up by a pair at 2:04 when Griffin Hall got a breakaway and scored unassisted.  Team captain Nic Coleman increased the lead to 3 at 6:45 with a hard shot from the center dotted line.  If it looked like it was going to be a runaway, the Saints had other ideas as they responded with 3 straight goals of their own.  The first came off the stick of Dryden Valade at 10:13 from outside the dotted line.  Then came a pair of special teams tallies as Mitch Bye scored unassisted and shorthanded in close at 13:04 and Troy Gutowski followed that up with a power play marker from the dotted line at 17:33.  That knotted the score at 3 and that was how the teams headed into the intermission.

The second frame started out the same as the first with Victoria’s Cameron Lumb tallying just 11 seconds in as he collected a pass right in front.  Brodie Strugnell then picked up a power play goal at 6:37, a shot that goaltender Pongracz got a piece of but couldn’t quite corral.  Boyd picked up his second of the game for the Rocks at 6:45 right off the ensuing faceoff and once again the home team had the 3-goal advantage.  That lasted a few minutes as another shorthanded goal for the Saints, from Trent Kellner, closed the gap to a pair at 9:42.  Before the period ended, Lumb collected his second for the Rocks, a power play goal at 13:06, giving the Shamrocks a 7-4 lead that would hold up through the end of the period.

Port Coquitlam opened scoring in the final period, Stu Phillips connecting from the dotted line at 3:59.  Strugnell replied for the Rocks at 4:41, getting his second of the contest as he picked up a long outlet pass from goaltender Bland and getting in close.  A shorthanded goal off the stick of Boyd, his hat trick goal, at 7:10 gave the Rocks a 4-goal lead which was extended to 5 with Lumb’s hat trick goal at 10:01 as he went to the net.  Penalties continued to pile up in the final period which led to a pair of PoCo power play goals, from Gutowski and Phillips, both getting their second of the game at 11:21 and 13:25 before Isaac Swan put the icing on the cake with a power play goal for the Shamrocks at 17:43 with a hard shot from outside the dotted line.

Cameron Lumb and Jonathon Boyd led Victoria’s offense each with a hat trick but Brodie Strugnell had a 4-point night on 2 goals and a pair of helpers.  Singles came from Isaac Swan, Nic Coleman and Griffin Hall.  Adam Bland made 45 saves, allowing just 7 goals and chipped in 3 assists to pick up the win.

The Tier 1 Shamrocks are on the road in Burnaby Sunday and again next Saturday when they will travel over the Malahat to take on the Nanaimo Timbermen in a 1:00 pm contest at the Nanaimo Ice Center.  Their final regular season home game takes place next Sunday, June 30 at the Q Center at 1:00 when they will host the Maple Ridge Burrards.  Playoffs will commence shortly after that.