The Maple Ridge Burrards are taking a legit run at a playoff spot, with a big win over the Langley Thunder on Tuesday night – the team they have to catch.
The Burrards are sitting in fifth place in the WLA with a record of 5-7 after Wednesday’s win. So beating the fourth-place Thunder, now 6-7, by a score of 12-9 was critical to their chances of taking the fourth and and final playoff spot.
Dan Taylor again led the team in scoring with six points on a goal and five assists.
Coach Chris Gill said the rookie out of Alberta had not played at the calibre of the WLA, but has obvious skill and was recruited by every team in the league.
“He’s got an unbelievable shot, and he drives the net with power. He’s a double threat,” said Gill.
Riley Loewen was the top scorer with three goals and four points, and was selected the game’s first star.
And Ben McIntosh and Jarrett Davis each had a two goals and three assists on a big points night.
McIntosh, the NLL rookie of the year, has moved into a tie for fifth in WLA goal scoring with 20, despite having missed four games.
Other scorers were Connor Goodwin, Coady Adamson, Mike Mallory and Colton Porter.
Carson Michaud was again between the pipes for the win, backed up by Brandon Mulligan.
Starting goaltender Frankie Scigliano has been injured, and Michaud has stepped into the breach.
“This is good for him,” said Gill. “It’s a learning curve, and it’s something he’s wanted to do.”
The Burrards have just six games games to play, and took a three-game win streak into Queen’s Park Arena Thursday night to take on the second place New Westminster Salmonbellies (7-5).
“We dug ourselves a big hole early on – we just want to get into the dance,” said Gill. “We don’t care if it’s second, third or fourth.”
“We’ve got six games left, and we’ve got to take care of business. We’ve just got to win our games.”
Their next home game is Tuesday at 7:45 p.m. at Planet Ice, when they host the Coquitlam Adanacs.
Rosters are now frozen in the WLA, and before that the Burrards made a couple of moves, trading Brandon Bertoia to Coquitlam and adding Matthew Noble to their active roster.
Noble is from Syracuse, and had played in the Eastern-based Can-Am League. He moved to B.C. and was playing Senior B when the Burrards scouted him.
“He’s been a real big surprise for us,” said Gill.
He’s rugged, but at the same time Gill notes Noble has good hands, and can shoot both left and right handed.
“He’s got really good skills, but he plays hard-nosed defence.”
Bertoia was the odd man out, and Gill said it was good to send him to a team that could give him regular playing time. The Burrards received a fourth-round draft pick back.