Burnaby back in the series
The Burnaby Lakers got their first win of the playoffs in impressive fashion.
The Lakers put together a complete 60-minute effort in Game 3 of the first round Western Lacrosse Association playoffs, vanquishing the Victoria Shamrocks 13-4 at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre on Monday.
The Burnaby win reduced the series deficit to two games to one. Game 4 returns to Victoria on Wednesday.
Similar to Game 2, Burnaby put five balls past starting Shamrocks goalie Aaron Bold in the opening period.
First star Tyler Digby got things started right off the opening face off, collecting his first of three counters at the 38-second mark.
Robert Church, who led all scorers with two goals and seven points, put the Lakers back into the lead at the midway mark of the period with the first of two power play goals by the home team.
Rookie Cam Milligan sparked a three-goal run in just under four minutes at the 14-minute mark finishing off a nifty three-way play with Digby and Church.
Burnaby led 5-2 after the first period.
"Last game we had a 5-1 start and let them back in. We got the gas on the pedal this time and we got to just keep it going," said Milligan, who had three goals and two assists in the win. "I think we learned our lesson last game."
Unlike the earlier second game of the series, Burnaby kept themselves in control of the contest, finding the back of the net another five times in the second period, while stifling the usually potent Shamrock attack time and time again.
Victoria closed the deficit to 5-3 on a transition counter by Sheldon Burns early in the second period, but Josh Sullivan erased that momentum shift in the blink of an eye, scoring on the ensuing face off just seven seconds later.
Four minutes later, Eli McLaughlin scored his first goal of the playoffs and gave a subtle fist pump in triumph as if the weight of the world had been just lifted off his shoulders.
If that wasn't the turning point, then just a few minutes later on a delayed penalty and with the shot clock about to expire McLaughlin fired a shot towards the net from near mid-court that grazed Bold's shoulder and glanced off the corner of the crossbar.
Following that, Burnaby took over complete control, scoring three times in a row to close the period, including Milligan's second and third goals of the game.
Penney, too, played a big part, kicking out 15 of 16 shots on goal in the middle frame to take the Lakers into the second intermission leading 10-3. He finished the game with 34 stops to claim the second star.
"The first and fourth (games of the playoffs) are always the toughest," said Milligan, who earned the game's third star. "We worked hard to get home floor advantage in the series. We got to steal one (in Victoria)."
The first opportunity for Burnaby to knot the best-of-seven series at two games apiece comes on Wednesday, Aug. 9 at the Q Center in Victoria.
Milligan moved into third place in playoff scoring with a five-point night six points behind Church, who leads all scorers with 17 points in three games.
McLaughlin also recorded five points, while Digby and Josh Byrne, with a pair of markers, both collected four points.
Burnaby will host Game 5 at the Copeland centre on Friday, Aug. 11 at 6 p.m.
Photos courtesy of Garrett James.