Unable to hold onto a big lead, the Maple Ridge Burrards and their fans watched their playoff hopes slip away on Sunday night at Planet Ice.
The Burrards were leading the Coquitlam Adanacs 9-5 heading into the third period, but lost 12-9.
The Adanacs scored 1:20 into the period. Then gave up a breakaway for another goal five minutes in. It was already 9-8 after six minutes of play, and then the Adanacs tied it 9-9 by scooping up a rebound on a long shot and depositing it behind goaltender Chris Levis, who appeared to be completely at their mercy. He was credited with only 21 saves on 33 shots, and appeared injured at one time.
Fans waited for a Burrard rally, but it never happened. The Coquitlam netminder Adam Shute was perfect for the period. With the score 10-9 Adanacs, the rebound off an Aaron Pascas shot was bouncing at his feet, but Shute was lucky enough to pin the ball under him as he dropped to the floor. He made 33 saves on 42 shots, and was the game’s second star.
With 2:54 left the Burrards went on the power play, but the Adanacs did a good job of stealing possession time, and then scored a shorthanded goal.
Both Ben McIntosh and Curtis Dickson both had two goals and three assists in the loss, and Jarrett Davis had two goals and four points.
Adanacs Brett Hickey and Matt Dinsdale both had hat tricks in the third period to upset the Burrards.
Players and many in the organization appeared stunned by the collapse, which was a microcosm of the last half of the Burrards season.
The campaign started with promise, an opening loss followed by four straight wins, and an offence that was never held out of double-digit scoring. Then came a mid-season scuffle, with three wins and four losses, and finally a complete collapse of five straight losses, and a now a record of 7-10.
The Adanacs leapfrogged into the fourth and final playoff spot with Sunday’s victory in Maple Ridge, holding down a record of 7-8-1.
Team president Lance Andre was clearly stunned after Sunday’s loss. Pulling his head off the plexiglass, he explained that his team could still climb into the fourth and final playoff spot, but they would need to win their last game, and have the Adanacs lose their last two.
“We lost four straight games by one goal,” he pointed out. “What can you do.”
The Burrards close out the regular season on Saturday in Nanaimo. Coquitlam’s final two games are against Burnaby (9-7) and New Westminster (6-9-1).