New Westminster has a tall order in front of it heading into the B.C. Junior Lacrosse League playoffs.
The junior A Salmonbellies finished off Burnaby 17-5 in their season ender at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre on Sunday.
But now comes the hard part.
The fourth-place-finishing ’Bellies must face the 20-1-0 Coquitlam Adanacs in the best-of-five opening round playoff, which begins Wednesday at the Poirier palace.
Brandon Clelland led the charge against Burnaby, scoring four times in a game-high six-point outing, all the goals coming in the middle period.
Deadline pickup Dane Sorenson and Jeremy Bosher both tallied hat tricks in similar five-point nights. Carter Dickson also garnered five points in the win over Burnaby.
Tyrell Hamer-Jackson, Adam Dickson and Owen Barker all contributed a pair of goals in the one-sided win.
Newcomer Kevin Orleman and Tyler Landry both got quality minutes in goal for the junior ’Bellies, while a number of regulars got the night off, heading into the first week of playoffs.
“We’ll have to play Coquitlam at some point anyway,” said New Westminster head coach Dan Perrault. “They’re a strong team but we’re up for the challenge.”
Picking apart weaknesses in a team that lost just one game very early in the season and is currently on a 19-game winning streak won’t be an easy task.
Just two days earlier, New West was humbled by the A’s 17-4 in Coquitlam.
Junior A scoring champ Cole Shafer led all scorers with eight points, while top keeper Christian Del Bianco pumped up his save percentage with a .0882 outing in their final league meeting.
Coquitlam’s power play led the league this season with a better than .500 clip.
The Adanacs’ shortman was even better, allowing a league-low 25 goals against and scoring a season-high 14 shorthanded counters, while killing off penalties more than 75 per cent of the time.
New West’s power play is next best and had just three shorthanded goals scored against it this season – a league low.
The ’Bellies penalty kill was also second best this season, despite been whistled down for more than 450 minutes in penalties.
“They’re a solid team,” admitted Perrault. “They move the ball extremely well on offence and their pace is quick. We can’t be caught flat-footed on defence.
“On defence, they’re solid there, too. We got to get into qualify scoring areas, and every game we just have to compete. There can be no passengers and no shifts off. Everyone has to be on top of their game.”
New West opens the playoffs on Wednesday at the Coquitlam Sports Centre at 7:30 p.m.
Game 2 is at Queen’s Park Arena on Saturday with an early 2:30 p.m. afternoon start.
Delta opens up its semifinal playoff against runner-up Victoria on the Island on Saturday.