Lakers punch ticket to the playoffs

The Burnaby Lakers are back in the playoffs following a 9-7 victory over the visiting Coquitlam Adanacs at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre on Tuesday.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="400"]stevens Dane Stevens, right, and Josh Byrne had solid periods for Burnaby in a 9-7 win over Coquitlam on Tuesday. Garrett James photo[/caption]

The win put the 9-6-1 Lakers into a temporary second-place tie with the Maple Ridge Burrards in the Western Lacrosse Association. Burnaby holds the season series advantage over the Burrards.

The senior A Lakers had their hands full with the pesky A's, trading goals and four lead changes through the first 40 minutes of play.

First star Dane Stevens put the home side in the lead for good at 2:02 of the third period with his hat-trick goal off a low screened shot.

Club scoring leader Robert Church tallied his fourth game-winning goal of the season and second of the game a minute later. Ilija Gajic salted away the win with his third of the year into an empty net.

With Burnaby holding a two-goal advantage, Coquitlam began pulling starting goalie Dan Lewis for an extra attacker midway through the final frame.

But unlike the A's earlier come-from-behind 8-7 win over the Lakers back in June, the Lakers' defence stood firm, allowing just one extra-man counter to Coquitlam star Marty Dinsdale.

Tyler Richards, who had his first start in the Burnaby goal, played his best in the final 10 minutes to record the win.

Perhaps his biggest stop was on Vinny Ricci's attempted one-timed shot from the right crease with two minutes to go that Richard's deflected out of harm with a quick reaction save.

"It was more important than anything to get the win, so we can finish (the season) out and not worry about this weekend," said Richards after a 27-save start against the Adanacs.

Burnaby completes its 2016 season with a pair of back-to-back games this weekend on Vancouver Island, beginning at the Q Centre in Victoria on Friday and concluding on Saturday in Nanaimo against the Timbermen.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="400"]unspecified Burnaby's Brendan Rouse worked hard all game in Tuesday's 9-7 playoff-clinching win over the Adanacs. Garrett James photo[/caption]

Rookie Josh Byrne gave Burnaby it's first lead of the contest midway through the opening period with his second of the game on an unassisted two-on-one opportunity. Byrne had all three of his points in the first period.

Trailing 4-3 going into the middle frame, Stevens tallied a pair a minute apart, the second on a well-executed three-way passing play from Eli McLaughlin and Scott Jones, who led all Lakers with four points.

But Coquitlam wouldn't quit, countering with two of its own in the period to retake the lead.

Jason Jones, who was quick to the loose ball all night, tied the game up at 6-6 late in the second period on a rebound with a patient placement of the ball into the back of the net off his initial shot on goal.

Third star Nathan Klein was a beast in the face off circle and helped anchor the Lakers back line. Chris O'Dougherty and Brendan Rouse also stood out on defence.

"You could just see tonight how hard everyone worked," Richards added.

Even harder work by the Green and White this weekend could result in a possible, but unlikely, runner-up finish in the WLA.