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Salmonbellies drop third game, but still No. 1

The New Westminster Salmonbellies suffered a major upset in the Western Lacrosse Association last week. The unheralded Burnaby Lakers knocked off the No.

The New Westminster Salmonbellies suffered a major upset in the Western Lacrosse Association last week.

The unheralded Burnaby Lakers knocked off the No. 1ranked team in the country, beating the senior A Salmonbellies 9-8 at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre on Friday.

The Lakers' win left Burnaby in fifth place in a tightly contested league that will likely go down to the final week to sort out final playoff positioning for all but the league-leading Salmonbellies.

Just the day before, New West jumped out to a 7-1 lead over the Lakers at Queen's Park Arena before coasting to an 8-4 win.

The 'Bellies got off to another strong start, leading 2-0 but quickly rallied in the middle period to tie the game on Peter McFetridge's first of two counter-attack goals.

Burnaby then took the lead off the ensuing faceoff on Calvin Craig's hat trick marker and held on to at least a share of that lead for all but a couple of minutes in the third.

Tied 5-5 heading into the final frame, New West stole back the lead on Martin Cummings' second goal of the game from the left crease, this time on a great setup from Salmonbellies' third star Jeff Zywicki.

But Burnaby struck back quickly on Colton Clark's first of two tallies in the period on a power play.

McFetridge, who was dealt to the Lakers in an preseason trade for Burnaby's No. 1 draft pick Kevin Crowley, then put the Lakers back into the lead on a transition goal after a great reaction save from rookie keeper and second star Dan Lewis on Jordan McBride.

"I know this was a big moment for the team and for me," McFetridge said, referring to Burnaby's first two games against the 'Bellies. "I won't lie, it was emotional to be back in Queen's Park (on Thursday) and being on the opposite end of the floor. I wasn't sure how I'd react. But going into the game and having confidence that we can beat them was huge."

The proof came later in the third period after New West's Sean Robinson knotted the contest at 7-7 with his second of the game midway through the period.

But Trevor Moore countered for Burnaby with a sweeping low shot off a screen that fooled Matt Roik.

Clark then tallied the gamewinner at 16: 58.

"We have to do a better job finishing games. It's been a focus for us," said Salmonbellies head coach Ken Thomas. "Teams don't get blown out in this league. . (Burnaby) played pretty good, but we could have played better.

The day earlier, New Westminster did play better, riding hat-trick outings from Cliff Smith and Corbyn Tao to the team's 11th win this season.

Tyler Richards posted the win at home, turning away 42 Burnaby shots for his eighth consecutive win in the New West net.

But a lack of goal scoring has been the norm this season, with all but Victoria, averaging less than 10 goals per outing, and that has to change, Thomas added.

"There are always things to work on. Losses have by nature a way of helping athletes and coaches focus more, and the bottom line is, it's a good wake-up call to shake us all up," he said.

This Thursday, New Westminster is home to the Coquitlam Adanacs. Game time is 7: 45 p.m.