Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Shamrocks win second straight overtime game, 12-11, to take 2-1 lead in Mann Cup

Rhys Duch had a hat trick to help the Shamrocks win in overtime for the second straight game. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
The Victoria Shamrocks won in overtime for the second straight game to take a 2-1 lead in the Mann Cup. Victoria came back from 6-2 and 8-4 deficits to beat the Six Nations Chiefs 12-11 when Scott Ranger scored the only goal of overtime Monday night.

The Chiefs looked like they had taken control of the game when they put up a five-goal run in a 5:06 stretch of the second period to go up 6-2. Tyler Hass broke out of Victoria's defensive zone and raced down the floor for a goal to get the Shamrocks started on their comeback. The team's combined for 12 goals in the second period, more than they had scored combined in either of the first two games.

The Shamrocks kept chipping away at the Six Nations lead and tied things up at 4:52 of the third when Dhane Smith replicated Hass' marker by picking off a pass at the top of the D zone and running away from a pair of Chiefs' players to get an open look and bury the ball to make it 8-8. Cody Jamieson and Colin Doyle scored to create another two-goal lead for Six Nations, but Smith and Corey Small—with one of three power play markers the Shamrocks would get in the game—tied it up again.

Stephen Keogh for Six Nations and Rhys Duch for Victoria finished off hat tricks to make it 11-11 heading into the extra frame. At the 4:30 mark of overtime, Hass created space for Ranger by setting picks on a pair of Chiefs defenders and Ranger took advantage, firing a low bouncer just outside of Brandon Miller's foot and inside the far post.

The Chiefs had some chances as time wound down in the overtime. With Brandon Miller pulled for an extra attacker, a shot bounced out to Johnny Powless in the slot. His behind the back shot looked like it had room to sneak in but Matt Flindell got his leg in the way of it and the ball rolled off into the corner as the final seconds ticked off and the buzzer sounded to confirm the Shamrocks' win.

Ranger's goal was his first of the series, and he said it doesn't matter to him whether he scores or not. “I don't really care if I score another goal in the series. It's about those two points at the end of the night. That's the joy about this team, everybody can put the ball in the net. If you're struggling the others guys will step up and they have been all series and I was just lucky enough to put that one in the net and win the game.”

He gave a lot of credit to Hass for the work he did on the winning goal. “Our transition and our defence is solid, they're big boys and we need those big bodies up there every so often,” Ranger said. “Him working his butt off on defence then running the floor and helping us out on offence goes a long way for sure.”

Rhys Duch said the Shamrocks have been working on keeping their composure since Game 1, in which he felt they let adversity get to them and create a negative atmosphere on their bench. “We were so emotionally invested [during Game 1]. That can be a detriment to your game at some points” Duch said. “If you get too excited on a goal you forget about your responsibilities and that's when they get one back. Or if you get too down after something negative you go out and make a bad play. We really had a good talk about staying calm and staying confident. We were down 7-3, 8-4 and at that point there could be a lot of seeds of doubt. This group, we just came together and said why not try and win. You can't just fold the tents and accept a loss, not in the Mann Cup. It was an amazing game and obviously it worked out in the end.”

Billy Dee Smith checks his cousin Dhane Smith. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
His team just won't give up, said Victoria head coach Bob Heyes. “That's a big part of these guys, there's no quit. Matt Flindell made some unbelievable saves when we needed them. Our offence was clicking, transition. It was great. These guys, they kept coming back. I think we play a little bit better with a bit of adversity on us, a little pressure. I don't know what'll happen if we ever get the lead with more than five minutes to play in this series,” he concluded with a laugh.

Six Nations head coach Rich Kilgour said his club wasn't surprised by the effort the Shamrocks put in to get back into the game. “We knew they wouldn't lay down and they didn't. They got that big goal by Ranger there in the overtime. It's 2-1 for them now. I think it was the same thing last year, so we've been here before and hopefully can draw on that and be ready to go tomorrow.”

Game 4 goes tonight at 8pm with Game 5 Wednesday, also at 8. You can watch all games in the series via live PPV webcast by JVI Video. Click on the Webcast Sports logo in the right hand column of this web site and follow the instructions to watch the game.