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Maple Ridge duels Victoria in WLA home opener

Burrards suffer 6-5 loss in penalty-filled game

The Maple Ridge Burrards lost a goaltending duel 6-5 in their home opener on Sunday, May 26 against the Victoria Shamrocks.

The Burrards led 3-2 after two periods, and extended that lead to 4-2 with a goal a minute into the third.

But then the Shamrocks got three straight power play goals in less than five minutes, and took a lead they never gave up.

Burrards goaltender Brandon Humphrey was the game’s second star, as he gave up just six goals on 46 shots.

His coach Rob Williams said it was an impressive performance, given the number of power plays Humphrey faced, and it featured NLL players firing shots.

“You allow only six goals against, and you usually win those games,” lamented the coach.

However, Chris Origlieri was just as good in the Victoria net, as he made 35 saves and was the game’s first star. The performance was no surprise to Williams, who noted Origlieri was second in the voting for NLL Goalie of the Year after a great season with San Diego.

The penalties were 12-8 in favour of the Shamrocks, and there were occasions where the hometown players would have done better to take an opponent’s number, rather than taking a penalty.

“We have to be better at controlling our emotions,” said Williams. “There were a couple of penalties we would want back.”

There was a frustrating lack of five-on-five play from the Burrard fan’s perspective, and they lost their lead during a stretch where eight straight penalties went against Maple Ridge.

For the Burrrards, Ryan Jones and Dylan McIntosh each had a goal and two assists, and Connor Whyte, Aidan Solomon and Marcus Klarich all scored.

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Jesse King led the Shamrocks with two goals and five points.

Williams said his team’s defence was outstanding, coached by assistants Zack Porter and Kevin Reid, and the penalty killing was effective.

A new offence is being installed by assistants Mike Mallory and Tewanee Joseph. The latter was a key part of the success of the Nanaimo Timbermen in 2022, when he was a head coach who took them to the WLA finals, and he was named the WLA Coach of the Year.

Williams said the offence generated a lot of open looks at the Shamrock net, and he sees his players finishing more plays as the season goes on.

“The ball was moving really well, and the guys were working hard,” he said.

Klarich, whom the Burrards drafted first overall this year, got his first goal in his first WLA game. Williams predicts it will be the first of many, saying the rookie showed both great feet and great hands in the opener.

But he said the league takes an adjustment for every young player.

“From Junior A, the WLA is another step up,” said Williams.

Williams likes the look of his team, which he said is much improved from last season.

“It was a good showing,” he said of the opener. “We should compete for a playoff spot.”

On June 1, the Burrards will be in Nanaimo to take on the Timbermen, then on June 2, they will be at Cam Neely Arena to take on the Langley Thunder, at 7 p.m.

Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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