Time for a much needed upset

Good time for an upset

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="400"]unspecified Lakers captain Bryan Safarik is hoping to lead Burnaby to victory over the visiting Victoria Shamrocks on Friday night. Garrett James photo[/caption]


If there was ever a good time to score an upset in the Western Lacrosse Association, this is it.

With just four games remaining in the regular season, the Burnaby Lakers need to be at their best this Friday against the defending Mann Cup champion Victoria Shamrocks to ensure themselves a spot in the post season.

The senior A Lakers play the Shamrocks again at the Q Centre the following Friday before finishing up the season in Nanaimo. Coquitlam is next up at the Copeland on July 26.

Nanaimo and Coquitlam are both must wins.

If the Lakers can win three of their last four games they would finish with a record of 10-7-1. That alone should guarantee the Green and White a spot in the playoffs and possibly a best-case third-place finish.

But there is no room for slip-ups. Season series hang in the balance in both matchups against the Adanacs and the Timbermen.

Nanaimo is an unlikely playoff candidate, needing wins in its last four to reach the 16-point mark.

Coquitlam is still in the mix with five games left, but if form sticks to script the A's should end up with just 18 points.

That is why tonight's game with the 'Rocks is so critical.

One win over Victoria, along with series wins against Coquitlam and Nanaimo would leave the Lakers with 21 points

Maple Ridge, with three games to go, should also end up with a total of 21 points, leaving the Lakers in third place due to them holding the season-series advantage over the Burrards.

But if this season has taught us anything, it is nothing is for sure.

Burnaby is a better team on the road and its next two fixtures are at home, where the Lakers have only fashioned a modest 3-4 record. That has to change.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="400"]unspecified Scott Rouse and the Burnaby defence will have a say in the outcome of Friday's match-up with the Victoria Shamrocks. Garrett James photo[/caption]

Tyler Richards, recently signed on the trade deadline, should get a few starts in goal for the Lakers, providing an excellent tandem with Zac Boychuk, who is having a stellar first season in Burnaby.

The Lakers' back end has been a pleasant surprise this year and their short-man game continues to be the best in the league with a 0.760 percent penalty kill.

The team's transition game is also rounding into form with Justin Salt and Jackson Decker having particularly strong season's to date.

Righthanders Robert Church and Scott Jones lead the Lakers in scoring with more than 40 points apiece but the left side has been showing signs they're ready for a big breakout game.

Eli McLaughlin had a season-high effort in Burnaby's recent win over Nanaimo and has nine points in his last two outings.

Jason Jones and Dane Stevens were also keys in the Lakers' win in Langley last week.

Burnaby hosts Victoria at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre on Friday, July 22 at 7 p.m.