PHOTOS: Maple Ridge Burrards put New Westminster Salmonbellies on brink of elimination
As of Wednesday, the Maple Ridge Burrards had the New Westminster Salmonbellies on the hook, and flailing around in their best-of-seven, Western Lacrosse Association semifinal series.
Now, the B’s need to reel the ’Bellies in and finish them off.
The Burrards are a win away from advancing to the WLA final, after edging the Salmonbellies 10-9 Monday at Planet Ice.
The win gives the Burrards a commanding 3-1 series lead.
But winning game five – set for Wednesday at 7:45 p.m. at New Westminster’s Queen’s Park Arena – will be no easy task.
The Salmonbellies finished second in the WLA standings at season’s end with a 12-4-2 record, three points up on the third-place Burrards (11-6-1).
“It’s pretty close,” Burrards head coach Rob Williams said after Monday’s victory. “It’s been ebbs and flows. With lacrosse, that’s the way it works. I think we’ve been a little more focused at times than they have, but, even though we’re up 3-1 and it’s been a lot closer series than that.”
For the most part, every game between the teams has been tightly contested, with the Burrards jumping out to a 2-0 series lead on the strength of a 13-9 victory at Queen’s Park on Aug. 9 and a 7-6 win at Planet Ice last Friday.
New West got some life this past Saturday by beating Maple Ridge 9-7 at Queen’s Park.
In Williams’ opinion, the Burrards outran and outworked the ’Bellies in the series opener, adding that New West came back with a younger lineup after that to try to match Maple Ridge’s athleticism with youth.
Monday’s win puts the Burrards back in control, and on the verge of winning the series.
During game four, the Burrards jumped out to leads of 6-1 and 7-2 before the ’Bellies charged back to narrow the deficit to 7-6 early in the third period.
The Burrards regained momentum and led 10-7 after Jarrett Davis found the net at the 12:18 mark of the final frame.
The visitors stormed back on goals from Dane Sorensen and Jordan McBride to come within a goal, but were unable to net the equalizer before the final buzzer.
Riley Loewen led the Burrards’ offence with three goals and one assist and was named the game’s first star.
His teammate Dan Taylor notched a hat trick and earned second star honours.
Zack Porter, Owen Barker, and Luke Gillespie also scored for the Burrards, who outshot the Salmonbellies 58-52.
Burrards stick with it
The Burrards survived early season controversy, after the league set a June 12 deadline for the team to pay a $25,000 surety bond or risk having their entire team suspended for the remainder of the campaign.
The league’s six teams voted to place sanctions on the Burrards after a fight-filled May 29 tilt against the Burnaby Lakers.
Maple Ridge’s Daniel Amesbury received the maximum five-game suspension from league commissioner Ernie Truant, while Kevin Reid of the Burrards was assessed a three-game ban.
Before the dealine expired, the Burrards and the WLA came to an agreement to continue the season.
Williams was happy with the way the Burrards shook off the controversy and forged on to have a solid season.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this team,” he said. “We’ve been like this for a long time. We’re tight-knit and leaning on each other. Our captains have done a great job holding things together and being of sound mind and reason. They’ve been a calming influence on our bench.”
– Files from the Vancouver Province