May 27 - New Westminster Salmonbellies 9 @ Victoria Shamrocks 11 Game Recap

New Westminster Salmonbellies 9 @ Victoria Shamrocks 11

By: Lucas Wilson

After a commanding win in their first game of the WLA season, expectations were high for the Victoria Shamrocks in their second game at home. Game 2 brought a different kind of excitement to the Q Centre: a good old-fashioned, back-and-forth thriller against the New Westminster Salmonbellies. Although the storylines were different between games one and two, the result was the same: a “W” for the Shamrocks. After a wild third period, the final buzzer sound with a score of 11-9, giving the Shamrocks their first 2-0 start since 2013.


The Shamrocks were missing some key pieces in their offence as captain Corey Small was announced as a late scratch, and Jesse King and Jeff Shattler have yet to make their way back to the Shamrocks lineup. The Bellies were playing in their second of back-to-back games, after losing to Nanaimo at home on Thursday night. Despite the setbacks, both teams came out with good energy in the first.  After the teams swapped scoring chances early, Chris Wardle opened the scoring for the Shamrocks at the 13:29 mark of the first period. The Salmonbellies stormed back with two goals of their own, which marked the first time in the 2016 season that the Shamrocks trailed in a game. Wardle added another goal for the Shamrocks late in the period to tie the game. It appeared that the score would remain at 2-2 heading into the intermission, but Patrick Miles managed to beat the buzzer by a split second, to make it 3-2 after one.

The back-and-forth action would continue into the second. After the Bellies made it 4-2 early, Jr. Shamrocks call-up Cole Pickup scored his first WLA goal to pull the Shamrocks to within one. After the teams traded goals once again, the game began to slip away from the Shamrocks, as the Salmonbellies took a commanding three-goal lead with five minutes left in the period. Shamrocks head coach Bob Heyes managed to settle his team down after a timeout, and late goals by Rhys Duch and Thomas Moffat trimmed the deficit to 7-6 heading into the third.

In his first game back with the Shamrocks, defenseman Tyler Burton sparked his team eight seconds into the third period by barreling through the New West defenders and scoring a shorthanded goal to tie the game. The score would remain 7-7 for a good chunk of the third, thanks to impressive stops by Shamrocks goalie Cody Hagedorn and Salmonbellies goalie Eric Penney. At the 11:50 mark of the third, Wardle scored his fourth goal to give the Shamrocks their first lead since the first period. The game took an exciting turn when Salmonbellies forward Dane Sorenson sniped one past Hagedorn to tie the game with less than five minutes to play. In the following two minutes, the teams would swap goals once again, setting up an exciting finish with 2:50 to go. In moments like these, teams rely on their key players to come through big, and steal games. With the WLA’s leading goal scorer out of the Shamrocks lineup, it was Wardle who rose to occasion and capped off a brilliant night by scoring his fifth goal to give the Shamrocks a 10-9 lead with 1:38 to play. As could be expected in a clutch situation, the goal was set up by Cory Conway’s brilliant playmaking skill. On the ensuing face-off, Burton showed why he is considered one of the games elite face-off takers. He took strong possession of the ball, and ultimately forced Nate Clare to trip him up, which put the Shamrocks on the powerplay with the lead. A desperate Salmonbellies team pulled Penney for an extra attacker, which simply resulted in a five-on-five situation. The Shamrocks defense held strong and with seven seconds remaining, Ben McCullough added an empty-net goal to seal the game, and give the Shamrocks an 11-9 win.

Friday night’s game provided an important perspective for Shamrocks players and fans. Coach Heyes said it clearly after the first game: “Not every game will come as easy as this one”. The WLA season is long, and there will be plenty of tough nights in which the Shamrocks will have to battle through adversity in order to earn two points. In this contest, the Shamrocks trailed for most of the game. Despite missing some key players, the Shamrocks battled through it all, and came through when it mattered most. Shamrocks Nation can be assured that as the team’s line-up continues to strengthen, Friday nights at the Q Centre will remain as entertaining as ever.

The Shamrocks hit the road tonight for an Island rivalry tilt in Nanaimo to take on the Timbermen. The T-Men are coming off of a big win on Thursday night over the Salmonbellies, and they should be hungry to get revenge on the Shamrocks after last Friday’s game. The next Shamrocks home game is Friday, June 3, as the Shamrocks take on the Maple Ridge Burrards.  Details on how to get tickets can be found at the tickets tab above.

To hear post-game comments from Coach Heyes and Tyler Burton, go to, or follow @WLAShamrocks on Twitter.



Complete Game statsà HERE

Victoria Shamrocks regular season stats to date à HERE

Victoria Shamrocks player stats à HERE

Video Highlites à HERE

Game photos (credit Christian Stewart)à   HERE


Next Game: Away Saturday May 28 @ 7:00pm vs Nanaimo Timbermen, Frank Crane Arena

Up to the minute game statsà  HERE