WLA: Salmonbelllies on brink

The Maple Ridge Burrards took a surprising 3-0 series stranglehold over the New Westminster Salmonbellies on Monday night at Queen’s Park Arena with a 12-10 overtime win.

It’s not that the Burrards aren’t capable; of course they are. The 2016 WLA champions only got better this season with the addition of Curtis Dickson, and in three playoff games he’s already scored 11 goals.

But the ‘Bellies are the 2017 WLA champions, and finished the 2018 campaign in first place. To be on the brink of elimination is very surprising. Game four goes Wednesday night at Cam Neely Arena on the Burrards’ home floor.

The ‘Bellies top scorers have been shut down by the Burrards’ defense. WLA scoring champion Logan Schuss, who had 106 regular season points, has been held to five goals and five assists in three games. Mitch Jones didn’t find the back of the net at all in the first two games. 34-goal scorer Jordan McBride has just two goals in three games. Collectively, the ‘Bellies only scored 10 goals in their first two playoff games.

Meanwhile, as previously mentioned, Curtis Dickson has been on fire for the Burrards. He led them with four goals and two assists on Monday night. Ben McIntosh is close behind with eight total goals and also contributed four goals and two assists in game three.

New Westminster’s Tony Malcom scored 15 seconds into the game. McIntosh replied for the Burrards in a tight 1-1 first period.

The Burrards burst out of the gate in the second with a three-goal run to lead 4-1, but the ‘Bellies fought back with two goals. Dickson scored back-to-back goals 54 seconds apart midway through the period, but a three-goal run from the ‘Bellies left the game tied at six after two periods.

After a back-and-forth third, the ‘Bellies Jason Jones tied the game at nine at the 14:50 mark, sending the teams to overtime.

McIntosh and Jean-Luc Chetner scored to put the Burrards up 11-9; both goals were assisted by Dickson. Jason Jones scored with an extra attacker but Dickson scored the empty netter with 23 seconds left.

All WLA playoff games can be streamed on WLA TV.