Third period comeback puts Lakers in second
The Burnaby Lakers got the win they could ill afford to lose.
The senior A Lakers got four unanswered goals in the third period, two apiece from Robert Church and Eli McLaughlin, to rally to an 8-6 victory over the visiting Langley Thunder at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre on Tuesday.
The win, coupled with Victoria's one-goal loss in Maple Ridge on the same night, elevated the Lakers into a second-place tie with the Shamrocks both with identical 6-3-1 records. The Burrards took over top spot in the seven-team loop with a 10-9 victory at home.
For the first two periods Burnaby struggled to get into the shooting lanes, scoring just four times on 32 shots at Langley netminder Davide Diruscio.
But the final frame was all Burnaby with Church and McLaughlin teaming up for all four markers, while at the other end of the floor Zac Boychuk stopped all 10 attempts by Langley to post his third win in goal this season.
Church moved into the top 10 in league scoring getting a hand in on every one of Burnaby's scores with a season-high eight-point outing.
The crafty right-hander signaled Burnaby's intent in the third, cutting to the crease in the opening minute of the period and burying the ball behind the Langley keeper in close.
Church then found an unmarked McLaughlin at the left crease with a wonderful cross-floor pass to tie the game at 6-6 midway through the period.
Later in the stanza, the two found each other again with McLaughlin tallying the game-winner on a quick shot from right in front of the goal.
A minute later, McLaughlin repaid the favour, finding Church in traffic in front of the net for what was No. 23's 12th goal of the year.
"We did a good job kind of turning it around and kind of shut them down in the third period and allowed our offence do their thing," said new defender Kyle Sorenson, who was playing in just his second WLA game for for the Lakers.
McLaughlin recorded a four-point night to remain third in overall league scoring with 15 goals and 34 total points, including four power-play markers, two on the shortman and a couple of game-winners.
Dane Stevens also garnered a pair of goals, scoring back-to-back markers a minute apart to tie the game at 3-3 to start the middle period.
Seconds later, Jason Jones gave the Lakers their first lead in the game with his 10th goal of the year and third of four points in the contest. Jones is currently seventh in WLA scoring with 30 points.
Burnaby welcomes the Coquitlam Adanacs to the Copeland centre this Friday, June 30 for the season series deciding game between the two clubs. Game time is 7:45 p.m.
Photos by Garrett James