All that is left for the New Westminster Salmonbellies is the handshake.
The senior A Salmonbellies face an early exit from the best-of-seven Western Lacrosse Association final following a 15-9 loss to the Victoria Shamrocks at the Q Centre on Wednesday.
The defeat moved the league runner-up to within one game of elimination with Game 4 set for Queen’s Park Arena on Friday.
New West fell behind on an early power-play goal and trailed the home team 4-1 after 20 minutes.
The Salmonbellies played it tighter in the next two periods but could not manage to bring the deficit under two goals the rest of the way.
Keegan Bal, who is having his best playoff run to date, led the ’Bellies with a five-point outing, including a hat trick, but to no avail.
Dan Dawson topped all point-getters with six assists, while a new group of Victoria sharpshooters did their work in the offensive end for the ’Rocks.
Daryl Veltman tallied four times in a five-point night, while Mitch Jones also scored three times for the winners, who now lead the series 3-0.
New West junior Josh Byrne, who has contributed 15 playoff points this season, scored his third goal of the post season to open the third period and then, a minute later, set up Colton Clark for a counter that brought the visitors to within a pair for the fourth time in the matchup.
But Dan MacRae, with his second goal of the playoffs, tallied the game winner shortly after.
Aaron Bold backstopped Victoria’s seventh straight win in the playoffs with a 32-save performance.
Neither Eric Penney nor Alexis Buque could come up with enough stops to give the ’Bellies the opportunity they needed to steal their way back into the series.
Jordan McBride also scored a pair of goals for New West.
Game 4 of the final is at Queen’s Park, beginning at 7:45 p.m.