The Maple Ridge Burrards are just two wins away from their first-ever WLA championship.
The Burrards are up two games to one in their best-of-seven series against the league champion Victoria Shamrocks, heading into a crucial fourth tonight at Cam Neely Arena. Game time is 7:45 p.m.
In a series that had yet to see a home win, the Burrards beat the Mann Cup champion Shamrocks 14-11 in Victoria on Sunday.
They never led in regulation, but stole the game in overtime.
The Shamrocks scored the first five goals of the game, and had the Burrards killing penalties in the early going. The first two Ridge goals came shorthanded.
But that got them going, and early in the third period they had tied the game at 8-8.
Victoria went up again with just 2:11 left to play on goals by Rhys Duch and Corey Small just 26 seconds apart. That gave the Shamrocks an 11-9 lead.
But Ridge all-star Mike Mallory scored to put his team within one, and then the hero of the night, Dan Taylor, scored one of his four goals to tie it up 11-11.
It was the third shorthanded goal of the night for the Burrards, and sent the game to overtime.
Ben McIntosh scored what would be the game winner in overtime, then Mallory’s goal at 8:21 forced the Shamrocks to lift goalie Cody Hagedorn for the extra attacker.
A broken play in the Burrards end saw Zack Porter heave the ball up floor to a streaking Colton Porter, who bagged an empty netter at 8:48 that sent the thousands of Victoria fans streaming to the exits.
Taylor finished with four goals and four assists. Riley Loewen was also impressive with three goals and three assists, and McIntosh had two goals and three assists.
Frankie Scigliano made 40 saves, including six in a perfect overtime, on 51 shots.
The Burrards have never been to the Mann Cup since coming to Maple Ridge, and their first opportunity was two years ago, when they lost the WLA championship series to the Shamrocks.
GM Daren Fridge was reluctant to talk about it.
“I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself,” he said.
But he added that for the many loyal fans of the club, and the people who have worked for the Burrards for years, “it would be massive.”
In Game 2, in Maple Ridge on Friday, the Shamrocks trailed 8-7 heading into the third, but won the third and took the game 11-9.
Burrard Taylor had three goals and three assists in that game.
He leads the Burrards in playoff scoring with 35 points in eight games. Mallory and McIntosh each had five points, Mallory scoring twice and McIntosh three times.
Victoria’s Jeff Shattler played the hero with four goals seven points, three in the third-period comeback, as his team outshot the Burrards 49-36.
The series is back in Victoria Wednesday night, and returns to Maple Ridge for Game six, if necessary on Friday. Game time is 6 p.m. at Cam Neely Arena.