Haiden Dickson scored five goals, including the game winner, as the New Westminster Salmonbellies beat the Victoria Shamrocks 13-12 at The Q Centre Friday night. The road win gives New Westminster a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five WLA semifinal series. The Salmonbellies can close out the series with a win in Game 3 next Wednesday at Queen’s Park Arena.

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Dickson nets two in first period, but Victoria leads

New Westminster exploded in the first two and a half minutes of the game. Will Malcom (0:26), Patrick Shoemay (0:51), Dickson (1:34), and Noah Armitage (2:23) quickly silenced the crowd of 1,112 as the Salmonbellies led 4-0. The Shamrocks regrouped, scoring seven unanswered goals over the next 11 minutes to restore hope to the Victoria faithful. Casey Wilson (4:31), Bennet Smith (5:05), and Marshal King (6:56) cut the deficit to one. Tom Vaesen then went back-to-back (7:25; 9:06) to give the Shamrocks a 5-4 lead. Brad McCulley (11:50) and a second goal from Wilson (13:14) followed to make it 7-4. Dickson broke the run with his second goal (15:36), and Mitch Jones (18:14) made it 7-6 after one period.

The second period remained a tight affair, with each team netting three goals. the Shamrocks got a goal from Arthur Miller (6:26) and two more from King (13:37 power play; 19:05). Jason Jones (10:13), Ryan Martel (10:21), and a second goal from Mitch Jones (19:53 power play) kept the margin at one, 10-9 in favor of Victoria, heading into the third period.

Dickson nets three more, including game winner

Vaesen tallied his hat trick (5:03 power play) to extend the Shamrocks’ lead to two. But Dickson went back-to-back (6:10; 9:09 power play) to level the game at 11 apiece. King scored his fourth of the night (10:23) to restore Victoria’s lead, only for Keegan Bal to equalize (15:04 power play).

Martel took a holding penalty less than a minute later. However, Dickson scored his fifth of the night while shorthanded (17:31) for the 13-12 lead that ultimately closed the scoring. Dickson’s effort (5g) earned him 1st Star of the Game honors. King (4g, 1a) and Vaesen (3g, 3a) took 2nd and 3rd Star honors, respectively. Zach Higgins turned aside 37 of 49 shots in the win, while Cam Dunkerley made 39 saves for the Shamrocks.

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“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk

“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk was formally introduced to box lacrosse when he attended a New England Black Wolves game on a whim in 2016. Instantly hooked, he has since become an avid follower of the National Lacrosse League. Following the postponement of the 2019-2020 NLL season, he was offered the chance to share his wealth of statistical knowledge and unique insights with the lacrosse community at large. He cheerfully accepted, and covers NLL, PLL, WLA, and Major Series Lacrosse for the network.