Burrards win their way into playoffs

For the second year in a row, the Maple Ridge Burrards have qualified for the Western Lacrosse Association playoffs with a win in their final game of the season.

And also for the second year in a row, the Burrards will face the first-place New Westminster Salmonbellies in their first-round, best-of-seven playoff series.

The Burrards punched their ticket to the playoffs at home Sunday night as they beat the Salmonbellies 12-7 in the last game of the regular season.

With the win, the Burrards finish the season with an 8-10 record and 16 points. Despite being in a three-way tie for fourth place, and the final playoff berth, with Nanaimo (7-9-2) and Burnaby (7-9-2), the Burrards advanced with more wins.

After losing 12-11 to Burnaby on the road Friday night, the Burrards were in a must-win situation Sunday night at home against the Salmonbellies, the top team in the WLA

Maple Ridge opened up a 5-0 lead before the Salmonbellies got on the board near the midway mark of the second period.

Drew Dickie was perfect in net in the first period for the Burrards, shutting out New West shooters on 19 shots.

New West managed five goals in the second period, and with the Burrards’ season on the line, Maple Ridge went into the third period with a 7-5 lead.

With a playoff berth within grasp, the Burrards scored five unanswered goals to start the final frame, snuffing any chance of a New West comeback.

The Burrards offence was buoyed last weekend thanks to the return of Joel Dalgarno, who finished with 12 points in two games.

Dalgarno had seven points Sunday night against the Salmonbellies, including four goals, and was named the game’s first star.

Riley Loewen had three goals and two assists for the Burrards, while Derek Lowe had three goals. Curtis Dickson and Aaron Davis were the other Maple Ridge goal scorers.

The Burrards will now face New Westminster tonight (Wednesday) at Queen’s Park Arena in the first game of their best-of-seven playoff series.

The Burrards have two wins over New West in their three-game season series. However, the Salmonbellies, who won the WLA title last season, handed the Burrards their worst defeat of the season, a 14-4 drubbing at Queen’s Park Arena in June.

The Salmobellies eventually lost to the Peterborough Lakers in the Mann Cup final.

The Burrards have never won the Mann Cup since moving to Maple Ridge in 1996. The last Burrards team to hoist Canadian senior A lacrosse’s biggest prize was the Vancouver Burrards, who won the Mann Cup in 1977.

The Burrards return home for Game 2 this Friday at Planet Ice at 7:45 p.m. Game 4 and Game 6 (if necessary) will also take place at Planet Ice, Tuesday, Aug. 9 and Friday, Aug. 12, respectively.

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