On paper, the matchup between the New Westminster Salmonbellies and Maple Ridge Burrards has the earmarkings of an offensive slugfest.
It unfurled that way on Wednesday in more ways than one, with the tally in favour of the visiting 'Bellies in a 14-4 victory in Game 1 of their Western Lacrosse Association semifinal.
New West scored four times in the first period whlle the defence and netminder Alexis Buque held Maple Ridge silent until 1:18 into the second frame. Unfazed, the 'Bellies, who finished third overall but just two points back of the Burrards, peeled off three more to hold an impressive 7-1 advantage with less than 27 minutes left in the contest.
Before the period ended and after the home team put up its second tally of the night, Austin Shanks counted three straight goals to make it 10-2 after 40 minutes.
In the third period, New West outscored the Burrards 4-2. Putting a black mark on it all was some predictable message-sending from the hosts, who racked up 42 minutes in penalties with just over two minutes left in the game. Maple Ridge's D.J. Saari was tagged with a fighting penalty, five for instigating, a 10-minute and game misconduct, joining teammate Owen Barker in the dressing room after he drew a fighting major and game misconduct moments earlier after taking on Quinn McKay.
Shanks finished with four goals and three assists on the night, while Keegan Bal scored twice and set up four others. Lyndon Bunio added a pair, with four-point efforts coming from Mitch Jones and Jordan McBride.
Buque turned aside 40 shots before Neil Tyacke closed out the game with four saves.
New West pelted Frank Scigliano with 42 shots -- 34 saves -- and Christian Del Bianco with 19 (13 saves) during the contest.
Game 2 goes Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Queen's Park Arena. The series shifts back to Maple Ridge on Sunday, with a 6 p.m. start for Game 3.
Game 4 is slated for next Tuesday, Aug. 6 (7:30 p.m.) at Queen's Park Arena.