After a double-overtime win on Sunday night, the Maple Ridge Burrards are up 2-1 in their best-of-seven series with the New Westminster Salmonbellies in the Western Lacrosse Association playoffs.
Following a 14-4 loss in their opener, the Burrards have responded with wins by scores of 12-8 and 12-11, with game four being played on Tuesday night in New Westminster.
“We had a slow start, and they got out to a 7-2 lead,” said Burrards head coach Rob Williams of Sunday’s game. “But we fought back and came back to beat them in double overtime.”
The hero was Curtis Dickson, with an unassisted solo effort for the game-winning goal. Williams said he made a pair of ‘Bellies defenders look bad on the play.
“As talented as he is, he’s also a warrior,” said the coach.
Dickson finished with two goals and five points to lead the Burrards.
NLL scoring champ Dane Dobbie also scored a big goal in the first overtime, his third goal of the game, but New West answered to send the game to another OT period.
Burrards goaltender Frank Scigliano made 61 saves on 72 shots to get the win, and Williams said he has been a difference maker in the series.
Friday’s 12-8 win for the Burrards saw New West outshoot the Burrards 57-46 at Queens Park Arena, but a run of six unanswered goals in the third period saw Maple Ridge take charge.
Dobbie led the offence with two goals and six points, while Ben McIntosh had a hat trick and four points. Dobbie leads the Burrards in playoff scoring, with six goals and 11 points through three games.
The Salmonbellies are led by Austin Shanks who has 10 goals and 19 points in the first three games, and Williams said their first-round opponents are talented.
“They’ve been up to the task. It’s been a hard-fought series,” he said.
“It’s a playoff series – old school,” he added. “Guys know that to get to the Mann Cup, they’ve got to play a certain way.”
The Burrards loaded up with talented players this year in a quest to host and win their first Mann Cup, but that did not make for automatic success. It has taken some time for the pieces of this team to fall into place. The difference between the series-opening blowout and the subsequent two wins is just this team coming together.
“Everyone is there now, and it’s starting to gel,” said Williams. “As a unit, the offence is starting to figure each other out, and playing together as a team.”
Game five is scheduled for Thursday at Cam Neely Arena, at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday the series will go back to Queens Park for game six, and then Sunday game seven would be played in Maple Ridge at 6 p.m., if necessary.
In the other WLA semi-final, the Victoria Shamrocks swept the Nanaimo Timbermen in four straight games to advance to the finals.