A point too far
It's too early to tell just how costly Burnaby's 10-10 draw with Nanaimo may be to the Lakers final Western Lacrosse Association standings.
The senior A Lakers held two-goal leads in both the third and overtime periods but failed both times to hold onto the advantage.
The one saving grace was that Burnaby managed to keep the status quo and eke out a single point with the Timbermen at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre on Tuesday.
That tie allowed the 4-3-1 Lakers to hold onto their precarious second-place position in the seven-team standings at least for now.
With four other teams just mere points away the pressure is on Burnaby to seize the day and stop giving away important points as the WLA quickly reaches the halfway mark in the season.
“What we need to do is put teams away when we have them on the ropes,” said first-year Laker Matt Spanger, who garnered the game's third star with a pair of transition tallies. “They (Nanaimo) are young, fast and work really well. ... We just need to work on our mental game a little bit.”
Mental lapses in the latter stages of both the third and overtime periods cost the Lakers the win, Spanger added.
After a solid second period in which Burnaby outscored the visitors 2-0 on unassisted breakaway markers from Pete McFetridge and Jackson Decker and first star goalie Zac Boychuk stoned the T-Men with 22 saves, the Lakers went into the final frame boasting a 6-4 advantage.
But the lead would not last long.
Spanger scored his second of the game at 7:12 of the third to regain the two-goal lead but Nanaimo answered with a pair of counters on transition to knot the contest for a third time at 7-7.
Things looked brighter when star sniper Robert Church scored his second of the game off a screen at the 16-minute mark.
But last year's rookie of the year Ryan Lee sent the game into a 10-minute extra time half a minute later on a play that on any other day may well have been called back for a crease violation.
In OT, Burnaby re-established a two-goal lead in the opening couple of minutes on goals by Shaun Dhaliwal and Dane Stevens second of the night.
But late in the extra time, Lee and Conrad Chapman, on transition, rallied to score and steal the win from under the home side.
“It's stuff we can clean up,” Spanger insisted, but with a must-win coming up in Coquitlam against the Adanacs this Saturday time is not an ally of the Lakers right now.
Burnaby gave up three power play goals to Nanaimo and last Saturday were victimized on the extra man by the Adanacs in that 12-9 loss another four times, putting it's short-man game at a marginal 50-plus per cent over that period.
Church led all scorers in his third game back from the NLL with two goals and a five-point night. Boychuk was back on form making 56 stops in the contest, while Peter Dubenski had 51 saves at the other end of the floor for the T-Men.
“We have to win these season series with Coquitlam and Nanaimo,” said Spanger. “To be an elite team we have to win.”
Burnaby takes on the 3-3 Adanacs at the Coquitlam Sports Centre on Saturday, June 24 at 7 p.m.