What to make of it

Whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, there is a lot to chew on following Burnaby's second straight loss in the opening round of the Western Lacrosse Association first round playoff.

The last time the senior A Lakers took a two-game tumble was 22 days earlier during the regular season, when Maple Ridge rallied to beat Burnaby 9-7 at home on July 14.

There are some striking similarities to that game and Saturday's 9-6 loss in Victoria to the Shamrocks that cannot be casually dismissed without a closer second look.

Firstly, both setbacks began when the Lakers were at the top of their game and enjoying the luxury of holding on to at least a share of first place in the seven-team loop. 

In fact, yesterday's loss came mere days later following Burnaby's first-ever regular season title win in the final game of the WLA regular season.

Even more concerning is the manner in which the losses occurred.

In both cases, the Lakers were well in command after strong opening periods before completely losing their way in what can only be described as disappointing final periods.

Against Maple Ridge, Burnaby led 5-1 after the opening period and played the Burrards even in the middle frame before heading into the third stanza with a four-goal advantage.

It all came undone for the Lakers in the final 20 minutes with Maple Ridge outscoring the home team 7-1 while raining 20 shots on the Burnaby keeper in that one period alone.

The same scenario held true at the Q Center last night.

Burnaby again jumped out to a 5-1 lead after one period and managed to hold on to a 6-4 advantage over the Shamrocks heading into the third.

But again, Burnaby was unable to stave off the opposition comeback when it counted.

The Lakers gave up five unanswered goals to the Victoria squad and were out shot 17-8 to boot.

In both cases, the Lakers showed little resilience under pressure, allowing eight goals over the remaining two periods in each instance to Maple Ridge and Victoria, while managing only a combined three goals in reply over that same period.

True to his captain's C, Robert Church left his mark with hat tricks for Burnaby in both match ups, but the opposition's best players, Ben McIntosh and Corey Small, were the best, making the difference in the final outcomes.

So what is to be made of this?

Well, that will no doubt be played out later this week, when the Lakers host the 'Rocks for the third time in the series Monday at home. Game time is 6 p.m.

But Laker well wishers can take some heart in the way Burnaby responded following that third-period collapse to Maple Ridge.

If you remember, Burnaby rallied with a vengeance, winning its final four games and snatching its first league title, which included back-to-back victories over those same Shamrocks.

Let's hope history repeats itself.

Photos courtesy of Garrett James