Curtis Dickson and the Burrards won a series against a hard-nosed Salmonbellies team. (Paul Evans Photography)

Burrards face Shamrocks in WLA championship

Eliminate Salmonbellies in six games

The Maple Ridge Burrards will meet the Victoria Shamrocks in the Western Lacrosse Association championship.

The Burrards beat the Salmonbellies 11-7 on Saturday night at Queen’s Park Arena in New Westminster. That gave them a 4-2 win in the best-of-seven series.

The Burrards controlled the game behind unbeatable goaltending by the best keeper in the WLA this season. Frankie Scigliano faced 62 shots, had 55 saves, and was named the first star of the clinching game.

“Frankie played outstanding as usual, the guys have come together,” said GM Lance Andre. “The game was never in question.”

Scignliano was also named the league’s outstanding goaltender, winning the Leo Nicholson Memorial Trophy. He led the league this year in goals against average at 5.16 – almost two goals better than his closes rival, and save percentage at .883, which was 42 points better than the nearest goaltender, Victoria’s Cody Hagedorn at .841.

The Burrards led 5-2 after the first period and 10-4 after the second. They kept New West under control at even strength, limiting them to just three goals five-on-five.

Burrards Dane Dobbie and Ryan Keenan both had six points on the night, while Curtis Dickson had his first hat trick of the playoffs and added an assist for four points. Wes Berg also had two goals and an assist.

Andre said beating the Salmonbellies is a huge hurdle for his team.

“New West was good enough to compete for a Mann Cup – that’s a team I didn’t want to see in the playoffs,” he said. “We knew we were in for a battle.”

Victoria swept the Nanaimo Timbermen 4-0 in their opening series.

The Burrards and Shamrocks have been rivals in recent years.

Both teams finished the regular season with 12-6 records, but Victoria took first place in the league based on their head-to-head records. In the meetings between the two teams this year, Victoria won two of three. Maple Ridge beat Victoria 9-5 on June 9 at home, but lost a week later 9-6 in Victoria. The Shamrocks then beat Ridge 13-11 on July 14 in Maple Ridge.

When it counts most, the Burrards have beaten the Shamrocks. Last season, they beat Victoria in five games to move on to the Mann Cup. They also beat the Shamrocks in the 2016 WLA championship series.

On paper, these teams appear to be very similar. Both have identical 6-3 records both at home and on the road. Both had 263 penalty minutes. Victoria scored 173 goals to Maple Ridge’s 171, but the Burrards were stingier, allowing a league-low 121 goals against. Victoria was second best at 141 goals against.

The Peterborough Lakers and the Six Nations Chiefs are set to play in the Major Series Lacrosse Final. The winners of each Senior A league will meet in the Mann Cup, to be hosted this year by the WLA champion.

The WLA final series schedule:

Friday, Aug. 16, 7 p.m., Victoria

Sunday, Aug. 18, 6 p.m., Maple Ridge

Tuesday, Aug. 20, 6:30 p.m., Victoria

Friday, Aug. 23, 6:30 p.m., Maple Ridge

Sunday, Aug. 25, 6 p.m., Victoria

Tuesday, Aug. 27, 6:30 p.m., Maple Ridge

Friday, Aug. 30, 7 p.m., Victoria

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