Salmonbellies leave Victoria with hard fought Game 2 victory.
Victoria BC - The Bellies opened Friday night’s Game 2 with four goals on four shots, and it looked like New Westminster might win in a landslide. But there’s a warning in lacrosse; beware of a four-goal lead.
The Shamrocks zoomed back to tie over the next 7 minutes and kept scoring till they were up 7-4.
A timeout and some wisdom from Captain Mitch Jones righted the ship and it was a tooth-and-nail affair from then on. The Bellies finished the scoring in that frame with goals from Haiden Dickson and Mitch Jones, and we finished a 20-minute roller coaster ride at 7-6 for the home team.
From then on, the game resembled a typical New West / Victoria battle, with both teams returning fire. It took more than 6 minutes into the second before either team could put the scorekeeper to work, but Victoria’s Miller was the culprit, restoring a two-goal lead for the men in green. But during the 10th minute, the Bellies tied it up on shots just six seconds apart. Jason Jones fought his way inside for the Bellies’ 7th, then Martel scored after a faceoff win.
Marshal King found the back of the net for twice Victoria and restored their two-goal lead, but Mitch Jones showed his characteristic grit and scored another before the end of the second. The second period ended at 10-9, the same 1-goal differential as the first.
The third was another back-and-forth affair, with both teams playing physical, play-off style ball. It was clear to everyone that the two teams had begun to develop some vitriol over the first 5 periods of this tight series, and the sauna-like temperature at the Q Centre didn’t help to soothe any tensions. Each team took three penalties in the last period, and two-thirds of the scoring came from special teams.
Tom Vaesen scored on a Victoria powerplay five minutes in, and the Rocks were again up by two. But Haiden Dickson had an answer for Victoria, scoring a minute later and then notching a powerplay goal at the nine-minute mark to tie the game for a third time. That tie was short-lived as King scored his 4th of the evening in the 10th minute. Unfortunately for Victoria, the Bellies’ defense would go on to ensure that it was the Rocks final goal of the game.
King took a minor for slashing a few moments later and Keegan Bal tied up the Bellies on the ensuing powerplay. It was Bal’s only goal of the evening (he also had 5 assists), but it couldn't have come at a better time. We were tied once more.
At 15:52, Ryan Martel took a call for holding and Victoria looked to have the edge they’d need. It didn't work out that way. The Bellies killed the penalty effectively, setting up Haiden Dickson for a short-handed goal with just 2:29 left. It was Haiden’s 5th of the night, and it gave New West a lead for the first time since early in the first period. Despite Victoria pulling their goalie, the Bellies were able to hold off the Victoria onslaught and earn the win.
Dickson was named first star (5-0-5) in the win. Other Salmonbelies scorers included Mitch Jones (2-5-7), Bal (1-5-6), Armitage (1-4-5), Will Malcom (1-3-4), Jason Jones (1-2-3) and both Patrick Shoemay and Ryan Martel earned transition markers.
Game 3 (of the best of five series) returns to New West on Aug 9 (6:30 pm).
Tickets are on sale at Salmonbellies.com and at the gate. Ticket prices are the same as for regular season games.
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Photo: Shelly Fey