The Maple Ridge Burrards lost game five in their best-of-seven series against the New Westminster Salmonbellies by a score of 10-7 on Thursday night in Maple Ridge.
Austin Shanks, the Western Lacrosse Association scoring leader this playoffs, lit up the Burrards for three goals and three assists. The diminutive sniper out of Scarborough, Ont. has 28 points in five post-season games.
The Salmonbellies won each of the first two periods by scores of 3-2, then answered all three Burrards goals through the third period and secured the win with an empty netter.
A trio of Burrards put up three points. Ben McIntosh, the game’s third star, had two goals and an assist; while Ryan Keenan and Curtis Dickson each had a goal and two assists. Dane Dobbie, who has figured prominently in every Burrards win in the series, was held to a goal and an assist.
They were held in check by ‘Bellies goaltender Alexis Buque, who had his best performance of the playoffs, making 44 saves on 51 shots.
The Burrards still hold a 3-2 lead in the series, which now shifts back to Queens Park Arena for a Saturday night contest.
If the Salmonbellies can force a seventh game, it will be played on Sunday night, at 6 p.m. at Cam Neely Arena in Maple Ridge.
The winner of the series will meet the Victoria Shamrocks in the WLA championship series, starting next week.
The eventual WLA champion will then host the Mann Cup series against the champion of Ontario’s Major Series Lacrosse.
The Peterborough Lakers, who swept the Burrards in the Mann Cup last September, are on a mission to get back to the big event. The Lakers won the regular season with a 14-4 record. They moved to within a win of the MSL final after an 11-4 win over the Brampton Excelsiors on Thursday night, giving them a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.
The Six Nations Chiefs have a 2-1 series lead over the Oakville Rock in the other MSL semi-final.