Possible playoff futures on line in Nanaimo
The Burnaby Lakers had their playoff hopes rattled just a little.
The senior A Lakers began a very important pre-playoff weekend with a disappointing 11-9 loss to the Victoria Shamrocks on Friday.
Not only did Burnaby finish the game without its superstar righthander Robert Church, the Lakers also appeared less than playoff ready against Victoria in a game that had season series implications.
With little time for rest or reflection, Burnaby is up against a tough foe again, ferrying over to Nanaimo to meet the Timbermen club that currently stands between the Lakers and a final playoff spot.
Should the T-Men win their sixth home game of the season against the visiting Lakers, Burnaby would fall four points behind Nanaimo and face a real uphill climb towards the post season.
All would not be lost with a defeat but it would put huge pressure on the Lakers to, perhaps unrealistically, win their final four regular season match-ups.
If the Lakers come out on top, both clubs would end the week with identical 6-7-1 records, shifting the pressure back on the T-Men, who would have then conceded the deciding season series to the Lakers.
Therefore, it is paramount that Burnaby get a positive result against Nanaimo, if not tonight, then in its final game of the season on July 28 in the Hub City.
However in that scenario, Burnaby would need certain help from the Timbermen to finish no better than with a 2-3 record in their last five scheduled outings, an eventuality that Nanaimo's relatively favourable schedule suggests should be unlikely.
But there is two important weeks of lacrosse to be played, and no doubt, a few more twists and turns still to be played out.
On Friday at home, Burnaby gave up four goals to the Shamrocks on the power play and a fifth while playing shorthanded.
At least two of Victoria's power-play markers were gift wrapped, too, coming as a result of undisciplined Laker penalties – a poor strategy against a team that leads the WLA with 35 extra-man goals.
A pleasant sign for Burnaby was the play of rookie Brine Rice, who garnered his first multi-goal game since scoring his fourth and fifth goals in his first three WLA games against Coquitlam back on July 1.
To be ultimately successful, Burnaby must come out with more desperation, even more discipline and renewed savvy in the back end.
Photos courtesy of Garrett James