New West falls to fifth in WLA playoff race

The hill just got harder for the New Westminster Salmonbellies.

The Western Lacrosse Association club remains within striking distance of a playoff spot, but currently sit on the outside after Tuesday’s 11-5 trouncing at the hands of the stacked Maple Ridge Burrards.

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When Mike Mallory – a usual thorn in the ’Bellies’ side – is relegated to a supporting role, you know you’ve got trouble.

Curtis Dickson, Dane Dobbie and Wes Berg were the offensive strikers causing havoc for New West’s defence.

Dickson opened the scoring midway through the first with a shorthanded tally, then doubled the lead to 2-0 on the powerplay with 5:40 left in the period.

Logan Schuss got New West on the board, but Jean-Luc Chetner restored the Burrards’ two-goal margin before the frame ended.

In the second period, Berg struck for his first of two, with Austin Shanks replying to keep it a two-goal game.

But Dobbie delivered a serious strike with back-to-back markers, followed by Dan Taylor’s back-breaker with one second left in the second period.

In the third period, the teams traded goals, with Maple Ridge cashing in four times to New West’s three.

Keegan Bal led all New West shooters with two goals and two assists, while Mitch Jones registered a goal and two helpers.

Alexis Buque turned back 37 shots, while Maple Ridge’s Frank Scigliano was the game’s second star with 42 stops.

With just five games remaining in the regular season, the ’Bellies sit in fifth place, two points back of a three-way tie for second between Victoria, Nanaimo and Burnaby.

Along with the return of Schuss, the 2018 WLA scoring champion, to the lineup, New West expects to have Kevin Crowley in town for a few games in the coming week.

The 7-6-0 ’Bellies play host to 3-10 Coquitlam tonight (Thursday, 7:30 p.m.), before heading over to Nanaimo on Sunday for a key battle against the third-place (8-5) T-men.

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