WLA Recap: Victoria and Coquitlam emerge Victorious in WLA action

With the WLA season quickly coming to a close the intensity in the WLA has ramped up. On Sunday night the Coquitlam Adanacs took on the Maple Ridge Burrards. While on Tuesday night the Victoria Shamrocks took on the New Westminster Salmonbellies. Every game in the WLA has become life or death with every team aside from Maple Ridge having a chance of making the playoffs.

On Sunday night Coquitlam took on Maple Ridge. This was the third meeting between these two teams and Coquitlam had won the previous two and were looking for a win in order to move into second place in the WLA.

The game got off to a quick start as Maple Ridge scored just 59 seconds into the game to take a 1-0 lead. Three minutes later though Coquitlam would respond with a goal from Trevor Evans. Maple Ridge though quickly restored their lead on a goal by Aaron Davis. Coquitlam answered quickly as they tied the game up on a goal by Daniel McQuade. Coquitlam would then gain the edge after  Maple Ridge took a too many men penalty and on the ensuing power play Dane Dobbie scored to give Coquitlam a 3-2 lead. After a frantic begging to this game both teams began to settle down and started to play more defensively sound lacrosse. At the end of the first period the score was 3-2 Coquitlam.

The second period began with both teams trying to increase the tempo. Coquitlam would quickly score to extend their lead to 4-2. Maple Ridge was undeterred though as they responded with two goals within 54 seconds of each other in order to tie the game 4-4. Coquitlam though gained momentum once again on the power play as Clay Miller of Maple Ridge was assessed a 2 minute minor for slashing. Kevin Olson scored on the power play and gave Coquitlam the lead 5-4. The power play sparked Coquitlam s offense though as they scored two more goals just  90 seconds after the power play goal in order to make the score 7-4 Coquitlam. Maple Ridge responded with a goal from Aaron Davis to cut the lead to two and make the score 7-5. Maple Ridge though once again ran into penalty trouble as Aaron Davis was assessed a 5 minute cross checking penalty. Coquitlam would once again capitalize on the opportunity as Daniel McQuade and Dane Dobbie scored on the man advantage to make the score 9-5. Maple Ridge was able to notch one more goal before the end of the period though making the score 9-6.

In the third period Maple Ridge once again got into penalty trouble as they gave up two more power plays to Coquitlam who once again took advantage as Jason Jones scored on both power plays and gave Coquitlam a 11-6 lead. Coquitlam began to play shutdown defense in the third period while Maple Ridge looked for a way back into the game. Patrick O’ Meara scored for Maple Ridge and gave their offense a spark of hope. The score was now 11-7 and just  24 seconds after O’Meara’s goal Maple Ridge struck again to make the score 11-8 that would be as close as they got though. Coquitlam after giving up two goals in the third were able to lockdown Maple Ridge’s offense for the rest of the game. Coquitlam won the game 11-8 and with the win moved into second place.

Coquitlam won this game due to their ability to capitalize on their power play opportunities as they went 6 for 11 on the man advantage. While Maple Ridge lost this game due to their weakness on the penalty kill and undisciplined play which got them into penalty trouble. Dane Dobbie was named first star of the game for his 3 goal 4 assist performance while his Coquitlam team mate Daniel McQuade was named second star for his 3 goal 4 assist performance on the night. Third star was awarded to Patrick O’Meara for his 2 goal performance for Maple Ridge. Coquitlam will be back in action on Friday July 20th against the Burnaby Lakers. While Male Ridge will next be in action on Friday July 20th against the Victoria Shamrocks.

The second game this week took place on Tuesday night as the New Westminster Salmonbellies took on the Victoria Shamrocks. Both teams with a win would move into second place in the WLA.

The game began as a defensive chess match between the two teams as both offenses were shutdown in the early parts of this game. Alex Gajic would break the defensive stale mate and score to give New Westminster a 1-0 lead. Victoria quickly responded though as they scored just a minute later in order to tie the game. The two teams then once again fell into a stalemate until Rhys Jones scored for Victoria to make the score 2-1 in favor of Victoria. The first period ended quietly as both teams appeared to be evenly matched on defense and offense.

The second period was much different than the first though as Victoria began to take control of the game and solve New Westminster’s offense. Victoria scored just 32 seconds into the period to extend their lead to 3-1. Victoria would then add another just 3 minutes later in order to make the score 4-1. New Westminster though began to fight back and scored in order to cut Victoria’s lead to four as the score now sat 4-2. Victoria though was undeterred as they once again responded with a pair of goals which expanded their lead to 6-2. As the period drew to a close Ilija Gajic would score for New Westminster to make the score 6-3 but Victoria quickly squashed the momentum of New Westminster as Matt Yager scored to extend Victoria’s lead to 7-3.

The third period began much like the second as Karsen Leung continued Victoria’s offensive assault though and made the score 8-4. New Westminster though would not back down as Ilija Gajic scored to make the score 8-4. The New Westminster’s goal by Illija Gajic though motivated the offense as Alex Gajic  scored two more goals to make the score 8-6. New Westminster continued to build their momentum though as Corbin Tao scored to make the score 8-7. That was as close as New Westminster would get though as Victoria would play shutdown defense and prevent New Westminster from getting the tying goal as well as Ben McCullough scoring an empty net goal for Victoria. Victoria walked away victorious 9-7 and move into second place in the WLA.

New Westminster once again played a great game but unfortunately Victoria just squeaked out a win. The problem for New Westminster in this game was they allowed Victoria to build a lead early and could not work their way completely back. Victoria won due to great goaltending from Chris Levis who stopped 37 of 44 shots. Victoria also got great performances from rookie Karsen Leung who had 2 goals and 2 assists on the night and was awarded first star honors for his efforts. Kory Kowalyk also shined for Victoria scoring two goals and earning second star honors. Alex Gajic earned third star honors for his 3 goal and 1 assist performance. New Westminster continue to struggle on the road as they are 1-7 on the road this year they need to change this or they will not go far in the playoffs. New Westminster will next be in action at home against the Nanaimo Timbermen on Friday July 20th. Victoria will next be in action against the Maple Ridge Burrards on Friday July 20th.