Shamrocks could win league championship at home tonight


Jumping out to a two game lead in the league final series against Carberry, the Killarney Shamrocks could win it all tonight in front of their hometown fans.

A three-goal surge late in the final period of game two gave the Killarney Shamrocks a 5-2 victory over the Carberry Plainsmen in “spud city” on Wednesday night. While the victory does not give the Shamrocks a stranglehold in the best-of-five Tiger Hills Hockey League final, it does give them a decided advantage.

The Shamrocks now lead the series 2-0 and can wrap it up on home ice on Friday night (tonight at 8 p.m.) with a victory. The Shamrocks took the opening game of the series 7-2 here at the Don Paterson Arena last Saturday night.

Looking back, the Shamrocks downed the Hartney Blues in the West Division final, sweeping the series 4-0, while the Plainsmen gained the final by downing the Neepawa Farmers four games to one to win the East Division.

Lane Ganske proved to be the Shamrocks hero on Wednesday as his tally at the 9:01 mark of the third period broke open a 2-2 tie and proved to be the winning goal in the tightly played 5-2 Shamrock victory. Brayden Cuthbert and Ryan Howatt, with his third goal of the game, added Shamrock goals in the final minute of the cleanly played affair.

Aubrey Chapman, Jesse Bernard and Reid Gow all had two assists in the game for the Rocks, while Clayton Heinrichs, Jesse Ramsden and Isaac Friesen each had one assist. Killarney goalie Brian Archibald kicked out 24 Plainsmen drives to get the “w” while his counterpart, Plainsmen netminder Brett Willows, made 47 saves in a losing cause.

In the first game of the final it was anyone’s ball game nearing the mid-way mark of the second period when, with the game tied at 2-2, Colton Magwood scored what proved to be the game winner as he put the Shamrocks ahead 3-2. The Rocks never looked back as they went on to post a 7-2 victory. An important game one victory!

Daniel Stagg and Aubrey Chapman had a couple of markers each to lead the Shamrock offense while Brain Archibald got the “w” in the Shamrock cage.

Complete Shamrock scoring summary in the first game:

1.     Jesse Bernard (Gow)

2.     Daniel Stagg (Lochhead, Ganske)

3.     Colton Magwood (Cuthbert)

4.     Aubrey Chapman (unassisted)

5.     Daniel Stagg (Gow, Ramsden)

6.     Brayden Cuthbert (Lamb, Friesen)

7.     Aubrey Chapman (unassisted)

From the Blue-Line: Only nine minor penalties handed out in game one. The teams obviously came to play hockey. That, and the teams obviously respect their opponent’s power-play…Take a penalty against either team and you are playing with fire…Ryan Howatt was held off the Rocks score-sheet in game one, and that’s an oddity. Howatt has been on fire in the playoffs…Defenseman Reid Gow is another player who has been “hotter than a pistol,” and he may be the current favourite to win the playoff MVP award, should the Shamrocks prevail. Goalie Brian Archibald is another player who may rate MVP consideration. So many snipers up front, hard to pick one…Lane Ganske is a Shamrock who kind of flies under the radar but is a young and effective player…What the Shamrocks should be worried about going to game three: 52 shots on the Plainsmen net and they were still tied mid-way through the final period; what the Plainsmen should be worried about; being out-shot 52-26 in game two. Won’t win many games that way!…Zeanan Ziemer of the Plainsmen continues to lead the THHL playoff scoring derby with 30 points in 14 games. The Shamrocks Reid Gow is second with 27 points in 11 games. Ziemer leads in goals with 15, while Reid leads in assists with 20. Killarey has eight players in “top 20” in scoring – Gow, Jesse Bernard, Ryan Howatt, Aubrey Chapman, Brayden Cuthbert, Bryce Lamb, Isaac Friesen and Daniel Stagg. Carberry has six in the “top 20”…Third game of the series goes on Friday (tonight) here at the Don Paterson Arena at the Shamrock Centre. Can the Shamrocks wrap up their second consecutive THHL championship on Friday? You can be assured of one thing, the Plainsmen won’t go down without a fight!…Should games four and five be necessary, they will be played in Carberry on Saturday, March 25 and back here at the Shamrock Centre on Sunday, March 26 (an afternoon matinee)…Catch the action!

JUMPING AHEAD – Aubrey Chapman of the Shamrocks jumps up and out of the way of a point shot in front of screened Carberry goalie Brett Willows in game one at the Shamrock Centre. Chapman had two goals on the night, and two assists in game two. Game three goes here, tonight.