Shamrock Salmonbelly Showdown
By Ian McNaughton
This is a critical game for both sides coming into tonight. The visiting Salmonbellies are coming in having won both of their games last week against Coquitlam and Langley and with 6 points so far, they are just as close to the 2nd place Burnaby Lakers as they are to the 5th place Shamrocks. That’s how close things have been through the first few weeks this season and it’s why every game is important. It’s a critical game for Victoria too as they are winless at The Q Centre this season.
Victoria’s biggest hurdle early on has been the lack of scoring. They've scored 10 goals or more in a game just once this year when they scored 12 in their win against Nanaimo. The leading scorer for the Shamrocks this season is Casey Jackson, who has 11 points in 4 games. That total puts him at tied for 22nd league wide and if the Shamrocks are going to start turning it around, they need to score in bunches. Especially against the Bellies, who have the 3rd best goals against in the league.
One of the top players for the Bellies early on this year has been netminder Alexis Buque. Buque has yet to give up 10 goals this season for New West and has a comfortable 8.42 GAA with a .829 save percentage. Offensively, the Bellies have been fantastic as they average 11.5 goals per game, better than anyone else in the WLA. Jordan McBride has been a big reason why as he’s got 26 points already through 5 games, 3 more compared to his first 5 games last year. Between hot goaltending and elite goal scoring, it makes the Bellies a tough opponent for anyone, including the Shamrocks.