It’s all or nothing now for the junior A New Westminster Salmonbellies.
The ’Bellies lost 14-9 to the Coquitlam Adanacs to fall behind 2-0 in their B.C. Junior Lacrosse League best-of-five semifinal at Queen’s Park Arena on Saturday.
Unlike last week’s 14-7 loss to the A’s in the opening playoff game in Coquitlam, it was New West which took an early 6-4 lead into the middle period.
But, in a similar turn of events, the Adanacs turned up the heat, with a mini mid-period run that put all the momentum back in their wheelhouse.
In Game 1 it was Jean-Luc Chetner’s four-goal flurry that won the day. On Saturday, it was Chris Cloutier’s turn, scoring the first of his five second-half goals that put Coquitlam into a 7-6 lead.
Later in the game, New West closed the deficit to a pair of goals on two separate occasions, but each time it was a Cloutier-assisted goal by Cole Shafer and Chetner that kept the visitors in the driver’s seat.
Cloutier finished off the Salmonbellies with a third-period hat trick, including a back-breaking shorthanded marker late in the final period.
Josh Byrne, who did not dress for Game 1, led the Salmonbellies with two goals and two assists.
Byrne admitted Cloutier’s second-period spark was definitely a difference maker.
“We were up 6-4 with eight minutes left in the period and we let off – that’s what a team will do to you,” he said.
But Byrne also maintained that the series is far from over.
“No matter, what the series is you have to give it your all and to come out hungry,” he said.
Momentum swings, both in games and in series are a part of lacrosse,” Byrne said, adding a turn of the page could lead to a change in the series and a trip to the B.C. final and ultimately the Minto Cup.
“At the end of the day, it’s a series,” he said.
But outscoring the Adanacs will be a big challenge for a New West team that averaged just 10 goals per game this season. And scoring double-digit goals against Christian Del Bianco – the goals against and save percentage leader this season – makes the chore doubly difficult.
Game 3 of the series will be played in Coquitlam on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
If necessary, a Game 4 will be back at Queen’s Park Arena on Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. start.
Playing big in the bigs
Third-year Burnaby Laker junior Aidan Milburn was a lucky pickup for the senior A Coquitlam Adanacs this week.
The 6-4 right-hander, who placed fourth in B.C. Junior Lacrosse League scoring this season including 41 goals, was a key cog in the Adanacs’ back-to-back wins over Vancouver Island competition last week, scoring two goals and registering seven total points for Coquitlam in Friday’s 13-11 upset win over Victoria and Saturday’s 15-6 victory in Nanaimo.