Bold big as Shamrocks Win Opener

31Q5853.jpgThe Victoria Shamrocks made a statement in the opening game of the best-of-seven Western Lacrosse Association final — a Bold statement, as in Aaron Bold.

The Shamrocks goaltender stopped 41 shots in a lop-sided 11-3 victory over the visiting New Westminster Salmonbellies on Friday night at The Q Centre, including three breakaway stops in the opening period.

“I think collectively as a team we were focused. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy and we stuck to our principles,” said Bold, who did not allow a goal in the third period. “I watched a little bit of game film, the one where they beat us in New West.

“Of course, that always leaves a bad taste in your mouth so, collectively, you try to get better each game and I think it definitely paid off. It’s about not getting too far ahead of yourself, though, just sticking to what I did today and adding a bit more on top of it to make sure that consistency is there.”

Bold left the bad taste in the Salmonbellies’ mouths, especially in that first period in which he stopped 17 of 18, including the three breakaways.

“I thought it was four, but he obviously played well,” said New West head coach Steve Goodwin. “If you’re going to win games, you have to get to the goaltender.

“I thought we had a lot of chances with our transition in the first period. Their goalie played extremely well and made the saves when he had to. They got some really good looks on ours. They capitalized and we didn’t.”

Offensively, the Shamrocks rode the hot hands of Corey Small (four goals and four assists) and Rhys Duch (four goals and three helpers). Daryl Veltman had a pair of tallies and Scott Ranger added a goal and two assists. Dan Dawson added four assists, while Mitch Jones collected three.

Keegan Bal had two goals and Logan Schuss added a goal and two assists for the ’Bellies.

Bold made the statement early, however, out-shining Eric Penney in the New West net.

“Our goaltender was probably the difference,” agreed Shamrocks head coach Bob Heyes. “Sure, it was an 11-3 game, but our goaltender made huge saves when we needed them. If he doesn’t, the game is a lot closer and who knows where it goes. He played that consistent game. That’s why we brought him here.”

On a sour note, the Shamrocks lost Jesse King shortly after the 1-1 goal in the first three minutes of the first period as he rolled his ankle. The Shamrocks led 4-1 and 7-3 by periods.

“That’s a bit of a concern right now, but we have guys who can step in the lineup right away. That depth will be evident on Monday,” Heyes said of Game 2 on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Queen’s Park Arena.

CLOVER POINTS: Small won the Shamrocks’ most popular player award as selected by the fans.

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