In a season bereft of positives, Friday’s performance over the Victoria Shamrocks is a win the Maple Ridge Burrards can hang their hat on.
The Burrards trampled the Victoria Shamrocks 15-11 on the road at Bear Mountain Arena, handing the No. 7-ranked senior men’s team in Canada their most lopsided defeat this season.
“I can’t tell you the last time we won out there,” said Burrards coach Daren Fridge. “It was a pretty historic win for us.”
Fridays game was about payback, and the Burrards dressing room had plenty of reasons to be fired up.
The Burrards have twice lost to Victoria this season, and the 17-7 drubbing they suffered in June was still fresh in their minds, said Fridge. Friday’s game was also the Burrards’ first meeting with former Maple Ridge forward Derek Lowe since he requested to be traded earlier this season, ending up in Victoria.
“It’s easy to rally around a situation like that,” said Fridge. “[Assistant coach] Rob Williams sent a strong message to the guys before the game, so they were pretty fired up.”
Maple Ridge got on the board first thanks to a goal from Simon Giourmetakis a minute into the first period.
The teams traded goals for the remainder of the period, with Brandon Bertoia, Jarrett Davis, and Garrett McIntosh each scoring for the Burrards to ensure a 4-4 tie heading into the second period.
The score didn’t stay tied for long, however, as the Burrards scored seven unanswered goals to start the second period, putting the game out of reach for Shamrocks in the span of 14 minutes.
Bertoia and Riley Loewen each had a pair of goals in the middle frame, while Dayne Michaud, Patrick O’Meara, and McIntosh each had goals of their own to give the Burrards an 11-5 lead heading into the third period.
The Shamrocks threw everything they had at Burrards goaltender Drew Dickie in the third period, outshooting the Burrards 27-11 in the final frame. But timely goals from Colton Porter, Randy Daly, Mitchell Bannister, and Bertoia helped keep the Shamrocks at bay.
“There were a couple stages of the game where they were really pushing back, but we got goals when we needed them,” said Fridge. “It was a pretty balanced attack, and everyone was contributing.”
Porter was named the game’s first star, while Davis and Bertoia were named second and third stars, respectively.
“[Porter] was amazing on offence,” said Fridge of the rookie forward. “He created a lot of chances. For a guy straight out of junior, only five-foot-eight, to have a game like that against one of the league’s best teams was pretty impressive.”
Fridge also singled out the play of rookie Jaxson Lee, who moved from forward to transition.
“The effort and energy from [Lee] was great to see,” he said.
Dickie finished the night with 50 saves on 61 shots, while the Burrards had 45 shots on net at the other end of the rink.
Leading the Burrards in scoring was Bertoia with four goals, while Davis had eight points, with a goal and seven assists. Porter had seven points, with a goal and six assists, while Loewen and Daly both had four-point nights.
The win was just the Burrards third this season, and with a last place finish in the Western Lacrosse Association already cemented, Maple Ridge will hold the first pick at the 2013 WLA draft.
However, the Burrards have shown life of late, something Fridge counts as a positive heading into next season. The Burrards are 3-5 in their past eight games after going 0-7-1 to start the season.
Had the wins come in the first half of the season, the Burrards’ fate may have been different, Fridge mused. But the toll from injuries and work conflicts has cursed the 2012 Burrards all season.
“You add [Curtis] Dickson, [Joel] Dalgarno, [Aaron] Pascas, Chris Seidel, and Daniel Amesbury, who knows what would have happened,” he said.
With two games left to play, and the New Westminster Salmonbellies coming to town this Sunday for the Burrards final home game of the season, Fridge said his team is staying motivated knowing they could deny the ‘Bellies a trip to the postseason for the first time since 2004.
The Salmonbellies are currently 8-8, and two points out of a playoff spot. Oddly enough, it was the Burrards who knocked the Salmonbellies out of the playoffs in 2004 with an 11-7 win over the Langley Thunder on the last day of the regular season.
“If we could play the spoiler, we would absolutely love that,” said Fridge.
• The Maple Ridge Burrards face the New Westminster Salmonbellies in their final home game of the WLA season this Sunday, July 29, at 6:45 p.m. at Planet Ice in Maple Ridge.