“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk – All Lacrosse All The Time, a Division of the Edge of Philly Sports Network
The Victoria Shamrocks hosted the Coquitlam Adanacs at the Q Centre Friday night. For Victoria, it is the first of two critical WLA games this weekend. The Shamrocks were looking to both catch up on games played, and keep pace with league leaders Coquitlam and Nanaimo.
Likewise, the Adanacs were looking to take sole possession of first place, and open a two-game lead on Victoria. It looked as though Coquitlam was headed for their desired outcome, taking a 5-1 lead after one period. But the Shamrocks battled back, outscoring the Adanacs 9-4 over the final two periods to win 10-9. The win lifts Victoria back into a three-way tie with Coquitlam and Nanaimo for first place in the WLA standings, each team with 10 wins on the year.
Coquitlam in control early
Shamrocks forward Brad McCulley opened the scoring at 3:12, beating Adanacs goalie Christian Del Bianco. Coquitlam, who were without the services of Riley Loewen, John Hofseth, and Matt Delmonico (among others), would respond with a five-goal run. Brett McIntyre scored at 8:49, then Clark Walter made it 2-1 on a delayed penalty call at the 14:01 mark. Levi Anderson would follow up 40 seconds later to extend the lead to two. Tyler Garrison picked up his first goal of the season at 17:57 after a nifty stick check and loose ball pickup leading to a breakaway. Dylan Watson would round out the first period scoring at 18:46 for a 5-1 Adanacs lead, leaving the crowd of 2,319 at the Q Centre stunned. The Watson goal would also spell the end of the night for Shamrocks starting goalie Colin Jeffrey, as Senior B call-up Ryan Atkinson entered the game in relief.
Shamrocks call on “Clutch” Duch
The Shamrocks would slowly start to climb back into the game in the second period. Jake Foster (3:30) and Chris Wardle (4:37), with an assist from Rhys Duch, cut the Adanacs lead to 5-3. Watson added his second of the game on a power play at 7:01 to make it 6-3. Duch then turned it on, scoring at 11:59 and 13:06 to close the gap to 6-5. Brett Draper pushed Coquitlam’s lead back to two at 17:22 before Larson Sundown, with another assist from Duch, netted a power play goal at 18:03. After two periods, Coquitlam’s lead had been reduced to one at 7-6.
NLL stars propel Shamrocks in the third period
Vinny Ricci pushed the Adanacs lead back to two at 1:16 of the final period, before Victoria went on a three-goal run. NLL stars Marshal King (4:12), Wardle (5:19) with his second of the game, and Sundown’s second (7:15; shorthanded) finally erased the deficit and put the Shamrocks up 9-8. Watson (18:44) would tie the game with his hat-trick goal while the Adanacs had an extra attacker on the floor. But King would score his second goal of the game 49 seconds later, and it would hold up as the game-winner.
Victoria is now 10-3, tied for first place with Coquitlam (now 10-5) and Nanaimo (10-6). The Shamrocks play at Nanaimo Saturday in the second game of their critical weekend, with the winner getting sole possession of first place. Victoria then travels to Burnaby to play the Lakers on Tuesday 7/26, with three games remaining after the Burnaby matchup.
Coquitlam’s remaining schedule is as follows: at Maple Ridge Tuesday 7/26, at Langley Wednesday 7/27, at New Westminster Thursday 8/4.
Three Stars of the Game
1st Star: Rhys Duch, Victoria (2g, 4a)
2nd Star: Christian Del Bianco, Coquitlam (48 sv; 0.828 sv %)
3rd Star: Marshal King, Victoria (2g; 2a)
Other Stats of Note
Shots: Coquitlam 41; Victoria 58
Ryan Atkinson (Victoria): 26 saves on 30 shots in 41:14 of play
Larson Sundown (Victoria): 2g, 3a
Tyler Burton (Victoria): 14 of 22 on faceoffs
Dylan Watson (Coquitlam): 3g, 1a
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“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 currently serves as Edge of Philly’s correspondent for both the Albany FireWolves and New York Riptide.