The reigning league champion Maple Ridge Burrards are back on top of the Western Lacrosse Association standings.
Ben McIntosh and Riley Loewen each put up four points as the Senior A squad beat the Nanaimo Timbermen by a score of 10-7 on Sunday at Cam Neely Arena.
The Burrards trailed 3-2 after the first period, but opened the second stanza with four straight unanswered power play goals, each from a different player, to take a lead they would never relinquish.
The power play went five-for-five on the night.
“Our power play has been really efficient for us,” remarked first-year general manager Reynold Comeault.
The win capped a busy week, which saw the Burrards beat the Coquitlam Adanacs 6-3 on Tuesday, then fall to the New Westminster Salmonbellies 10-8 on Thursday.
Comeault said there was a controversial disallowed goal against New West, which could have turned the game around. On video review Matt Dinsdale appeared to put a tying goal in, which would have been his fourth of the game and made the score 9-9. But the referee ruled it was no goal. The Salmonbellies scored an empty netter to salt away the win.
The Burrards are on top of the WLA with nine wins against four losses, just a single point ahead of both chief rival Victoria Shamrocks who have gone 8-4-1, and the Burnaby Lakers who are 8-3-1.
“We’re playing a gritty style, and getting a good team effort from everyone, which is where we need to be for the playoffs,” said the GM.
With three goals in the last game, McIntosh now has 14, and 24 points after seven games this season. The team has won six of the seven games with him in the lineup this season, and he has scored at least once in every game.
Loewen moved into the top-10 in league scoring with 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists), despite playing only nine of his team’s 13 games.
And Mike Mallory continued his high-paced scoring, with a goal and two assists for three points. He is second in league scoring to Victoria’s Corey Small, with 21 goals and 46 points in 12 games.
With starting goaltender Frankie Scigliano away on a family matter, Brandon Mulligan offered a 50-save effort in net, which was his second win on the season.
“We’ve grown pretty comfortable with him as a backup,” noted Comeault. “And he’s a great teammate.”
There are just five games left in the Burrards’ season, and they are back in action on Friday, facing a tough Burnaby Lakers team at Bill Copeland Arena. The Lakers also have designs on a league championship, and with a win would leapfrog the Burrards in the standings.
“They’re all big games now – there’s more parity in the league than there has been in a long time,” observed Comeault.
Back at home, the Burrards will have a shot at redemption against the Salmonbellies this Sunday, when they host a very physical opponent at 6:45 p.m. at Planet Ice.