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'Bellies gearing up for second half of season

The New Westminster Salmonbellies finished the B.C. Junior Lacrosse League season on an eight-game winning streak. Now the fun starts.

The New Westminster Salmonbellies finished the B.C. Junior Lacrosse League season on an eight-game winning streak. Now the fun starts.

The junior A Salmonbellies wrapped up their final week of play with back-to-back wins over lastplaced Port Coquitlam and the playoff bound Nanaimo Timbermen.

New Westminster finished the regular season as the league runnerup, 10 points behind the Coquitlam Adanacs, which fashioned an unbeaten record, the first perfect season since 2006 when the Burnaby Lakers posted a 21-0-0 mark.

With its second-place finish in the junior A loop, New Westminster received a bye through the first round of best-of-three playoffs.

In league play, the 'Bellies clobbered the PoCo Saints 12-2 in Port Coquitlam last Friday. They then finished off the Timbermen at Queen's Park Arena 13-8 on Saturday.

New Westminster was working on a shutout up until 16: 36 of the third period in PoCo until Richard Lachlan got one by Spencer England, who came on for starter Frankie Scigliano in the final frame.

Brandon Goodwin led the Salmonbellies with a team-high five points, including a goal. Daniel McQuade and Jeff Sproule both chipped in with four helpers. Tyler Digby potted his team-best 10th hat trick this season.

At home, Digby and McQuade both had big nights, collecting eight and six points, respectively.

Goodwin fired four goals, including his 33rd this season in the win. Mark Negrin also garnered a hat trick for the winners. Brandon Mulligan posted the victory in goal with 33 saves.

"We played well in the last month. That's what you look for. We're gearing up for the second half of the season," said Salmonbellies head coach Dan Perreault.

The first round of league playoffs began Tuesday in Victoria between the fourthplace Shamrocks and the Nanaimo Timbermen. An if necessary Game 3 would be played on Saturday.

The other series schedule between third-place finisher Delta and Langley was not available at press time.

New Westminster will play the highest seeded team coming out of the first round.

"We just work on what we work on and how we're going to play," Perreault said, adding player discipline and special teams will be important factors in moving on in the playoffs. "We have to capitalize on our chances and on our short man. It's about making right decisions with the ball."

Digby finished the regular season in fourth place in overall scoring with 49 goals and 94 total points.

McQuade placed sixth with 85 points, including 60 assists.

Goodwin, Leif Mydske and Negrin also finished among the top 15 scorers.

Scigliano topped all junior A keepers this season with an impressive 84.65 save percentage.

tberridge@royalcityrecord.com