The Maple Ridge Burrards preached defence going into the season, but fell victim to their own breakdowns in the team’s WLA season opener, said head coach Chris Gill.
The Burrards dropped a 9-8 decision to the Burnaby Lakers at Planet Ice on Sunday.
“We made a lot of mistakes early in the game, a lot the things we said we didn’t want to do,” said Gill. “I don’t want to take away from the game that Burnaby played, but seven of the nine goals they scored were because of our mental breakdowns. When we made a mistake, they put it in the back of the net.”
Burnaby jumped out the a 3-1 lead after the first period and by close to midway through the second, the Burrards found themselves in 6-1 hole.
While they rallied for four goals in the second frame, they trailed 7-5 heading into the final frame.
The teams traded goals less than a minute apart in the early stages of the third, before the Lakers opened a 9-6 lead with just under 13 minutes to play. Maple Ridge made a game of it to pull within one with 2:36 seconds left in regulation, but couldn’t find the back of the net to tie it up.
Gill said the focus had been on limiting mistakes, but his team turned the ball over, giving up fast breaks, and taking too many penalties.
“We had a couple of great chances in the last 30 seconds to tie it, but we just couldn’t put that last one in,” Gill said. “You have to give the team credit. We got behind early and we battled back. We never quit.”
Mike Mallory led the Burrards with two goals and two assists, while Dayne Michaud had a goal and two helpers. Rookie Connor Goodwin had two goals in his Burrards’ debut.
Carson Michaud took the loss in net, giving up nine goals on 33 shots.