New Westminster outlasts Victoria to capture WLA Championship

Victoria Shamrocks 11 at New Westminster Salmonbellies 13 game recap

New Westminster wins WLA Finals series

Written by Justis Doucet

The Victoria Shamrocks battled tough for sixty minutes on Sunday but fell short in their quest for their 10th Mann Cup Championship. Victoria fell behind 2-0 on a pair of goals by Joel McCready early in the first, but responded with three in a row, two off the stick of Corey Small, the other from Evan Messenger. The Salmonbellies would tie it before Small finished off his first-period hat trick as the Shamrocks led 4-3 after the opening period. Victoria also outshot New Westminster 21-14.

Victoria got to New Westminster net minder Alexis Buque in the second period, scoring three goals in the first seven minutes of the frame, including two in under two minutes to chase out the Bellies goaltender. The Salmonbellies then returned the run, rattling off three goals in 1:50, two of which came on the power play, to trim the lead to one. The Salmonbellies go-ahead goal was helped by another power play as the five goal run put New Westminster ahead 8-7. Ben McCullough tied the game thirty seconds after the Salmonbellies went ahead with his first of the playoffs. The Shamrocks and Salmonbellies entered the third tied at eight goals and 35 shots apiece.

The teams exchanged markers in the third, as Casey Jackson put Victoria up 9-8, then New Westminster scored twice in thirty seconds to go up 10-9. Victoria responded with a pair of their own from Marshall King and Josh Fagan to regain the lead 11-10. The Salmonbellies tied the game with five minutes left, and then went ahead with ninety seconds remaining on Kevin Crowley’s third of the game. Mike Messenger then scored on the empty net as the Shamrocks were on another penalty kill after a questionable goaltender stick measure outcome as New Westminster pulled away with a 13-11 win to take the WLA Finals series and will now face either Six Nations or Peterborough for the Mann Cup.

Goaltenders Bold and Buque were stellar on the night, facing 49 shots each respectively.  New Westminster finished the night with seven power play chances, while the Shamrocks had zero. 

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