’Bellies beat A's to take over top spot

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The New Westminster Jr. Salmonbellies took the lead heading into the stretch drive of the B.C. Junior A Lacrosse League season with a big win Wednesday.

The ’Bellies downed the hometown Coquitlam Adanacs 12-10 to vault over the A's into first place with a 14-1-0 record. They improved their record to 15-1-0 Thursday by downing the hometown Burnaby Lakers 15-8 for their 10th consecutive win. That gives New West three more points than Coquitlam (13-2-1). They also hold the tiebreaker advantage over the A's having beaten them in both of their meetings this season. The Salmonbellies need just one more point to clinch a first-round bye.

New Westminster has six five remaining including a final one against the Adanacs July 2 in Coquitlam.

Josh Byrne scored four goals and assisted on three others to lead the Salmonbellies on Wednesday. He had the same output against Burnaby to give him 55 points (28-27) in seven games putting him in a tie for seven place in league scoring even though he's played less than half the games the rest of the top 10 has.

Byrne has averaged nearly eight points a game since returning from his freshman season at ASA College in New York.

Johnny Pearson also had a big game for New West on Wednesday scoring four goals and assisting on another. Connor Robinson had a goal and two assists.

Other Salmonbellies goals were scored by Jeremy Bosher, Chris Nasato and Nathan Stewart.

New West outshot Coquitlam 59-45. The second period was the difference as the ’Bellies outscored the A's 6-4. Both teams scored three goals in each of the first and third periods.

In Burnaby, Anthony Malcom also had a big night with three goals and three assists. Adam Dickson and Pearson both turned in five-point performances with Dickson scoring three goals and Bosher one. Luke Gillespie had two with singles going to Bosher and Nathan Stewart.

Robinson added to his league-leading points total of 83 (33-50) with six assists. He has 18 more points than second-place Eli McLaughlin (35-30-65) of the Delta Islanders who has just one more point than Pearson (36-28).

New West outshot Burnaby 61-38, including a 47-28 margin over the first two periods when the Lakers hung in and trailed just 9-7 heading to the final period.

The Salmonbellies will play host to the Nanaimo Timbermen (5-9-1) Sunday (5 p.m.) and the Langley Thunder (4-11-1) Tuesday (8 p.m.) at Queen's Park Arena.

They'll be back at Copeland to take on the Lakers Sunday June 29 before finishing with the July 2 game in Coquitlam and by playing host to the Victoria Shamrocks (9-5-1) on Sunday, July 6.

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