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Warriors wipe out Salmonbellies in Minto opener
The New Westminster Salmonbellies battled back and forth for half of the opening game of the best-of-five Minto Cup Canadian junior lacrosse championship final Thursday.
They even took a 4-3 lead over the Ontario champions at 12:19 of the second period. But then the dam burst and it came crashing down on them in a big way with the Whitby Warriors wiping out the ’Bellies 16-6 by scoring 13 goals in the game's final 27 minutes.
Both teams scored twice in the first period with New West getting goals from Luke Gillespie and Connor Robinson. New Westminster native Josh Byrne assisted on Robinson's goal and they teamed up in the same fashion to create a 3-3 tie early in the second period. Byrne then gave the Salmonbellies a 4-3 lead with a power-play goal on the first penalty called in the game.
But just 23 seconds later, New West's Steve Ferdinandi was called for holding the stick and the Warriors scored on the subsequent man advantage. It was the first of eight consecutive goals by Whitby, including four to start the third period.
Gillespie scored another in the third period and assisted on a late marker by Anthony Malcom.
The Salmonbellies outshot the Warriors 61-50 with Alexis Buque making 55 saves for Whitby.
Frank Scigliano took the loss making 33 saves on 43 shots before being pulled for Ross Bowman with 9:31 remaining. He only made one save on seven shots because he was constantly being pulled for an extra attacker in an effort to get New West back in the game.
Dan Lintner, Ryan Keenan and Mitch De Snoo scored three each for Whitby with Lintner adding two assists and Keenan one. Michael MacDonald scored twice to go along with a pair of assists. Single goals went to Austin Shanks, Chad Tutton, Stevan Diachenko, Jordi Jones-Smith and Curtis Knight, who also contributed four assists. Reilly O'Connor collected six helpers.
It was New West's fifth game in six nights having beaten the Coquitlam Adanacs 11-7 in the tournament semifinal Tuesday. By finishing first the Warriors got to rest both Tuesday and Wednesday.
Game 2 is Friday (8 p.m.) at Queen's Park Arena with the third game Saturday. Games 4 and 5, if necessary, will be played on Sunday and Monday respectively.