Even before the Coquitlam Adanacs could think of advancing past the first round of the Western Lacrosse Association playoffs since 2009, they faced a daunting task. They not only had to win a game at Bear Mountain Arena, home to the Victoria Shamrocks, they had to win a playoff game there. And so, they did. Saturday’s Game 1 victory there set up the confidence for Coquitlam to keep rolling and that’s what set the stage for Wednesday’s Game 2 win and a 2-0 lead in the series. “I like the way our boys competed against a good team in a hostile environment,” Adanacs coach Bob Salt told The Now News after Game 1. “You go to Victoria on a hot night with a big crowd, it’s not easy.” And with the way lacrosse in Coquitlam is going these days at the junior and senior level, it’s got some asking if Coquitlam could have a Mann Cup and Minto Cup champion in the same season.
It’s obviously early to be asking such a question, but given the way the teams are playing in their respective playoff series, it’s a very real possibility. The Junior A Adanacs hold a 3-1 series lead over Delta in the BCJALL finals, and the Senior As — winners in 7 of their last 9 stretching back to the regular season — certainly have the right kind of momentum that’s anchored by one of the game’s best goalies in Nick Rose.
Having the same municipality win a Mann and Minto in the same season is not unprecedented. It’s been done at least 3 times: 1949 with the Vancouver Burrards (Mann Cup) and Norburn Eagletime of Vancouver (Minto Cup); 1973 with the Peterborough Lakers (Mann) and P.C.O.’s of Peterborough (Minto); and in 1982 with the Peterborough Lakers (Mann) and the James Gang of Peterborough (Minto).
But, first things first. The Senior As certainly aren’t looking that far forward and besides having to still get past Victoria, there’s still the matter of the WLA finals against either the Langley Thunder or Burnaby Lakers. Throw in the fact that for the rebuilt Adanacs, this is the first WLA playoff series for many on the roster.
“The speed and the nastiness of the first period alone probably opened up a lot of the young guys’ eyes,” Adanacs captain Bruce Murray told The Now News after Game 1. “Things that you don’t get away with in the regular season, you seem to be able to get away with in the playoffs.”
Playoff lacrosse is a whole new world for the uninitiated and for as much potential there is in Coquitlam, Six Nations in Ontario also has a shot at accomplishing the feat as the senior Chiefs are tied 1-1 with Brampton in their MSL series and the Junior A Arrows trail Orangeville, 3-1, in the OLA finals.
Potential doesn’t win games, of course, but the senior Adanacs appear to be coming together at the right time. With Rose leading a defense that plays a punishing, physical game, the coaching work of Bob Salt and his staff, and Dane Dobbie and Jason Jones leading a Coquitlam offense that’s scored 24 goals in 2 games, the As are as dangerous an option as any coming out of the WLA.
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Coquitlam’s Game 1 victory was highlighted by 48 saves from Rose, an astounding performance that has people talking, but not surprised. “Nick played unreal, he really played unreal. “We got really out-shot but most of their shots were from the outside. As long as Nick can see the ball, we’re usually okay,” Coquitlam GM Randy Delmonico said. (Tri-City News) … Down 0-2,the Shamrocks understand the challenge before them and they won’t shy from it. “Mentally, it would be a challenge, especially with not much time between Game 2 and 3. It could turn into that rolling stone that might not stop. But I’m going to challenge these guys on what it takes,” said coach Bob Heyes. (Times Colonist) … The Coquitlam Adanacs say they’re not very experienced when it comes to playoff lacrosse, but Victoria Shamrocks coach Bob Heyes said his team got the lesson in playoff intensity following Game 1. “They need to realize how to step their play up in the playoffs. Coquitlam played a playoff game — an agitating game. They kind of picked away at us. We lost that game in the first period. They got under our skin for a bit,” said Heyes. (Times Colonist) … Burnaby Lakers goalie Dan Lewis said before Tuesday’s Game 3 with the Langley Thunder that the Lakers have not lost their optimism despite trailing the series 0-2, which by the end of the night became an 0-3 hole after Langley’s 10-6 win. “It’s going to take a lot of hard work, guys bringing their lunch buckets. We’re going to need to outwork them,” said Lewis. (The Province) … Burnaby teammate Shaun Dhaliwal agrees, saying the Lakers need to get their power play back on track if they’re to see any sort of rally in this series. The Lakers were 3-for-3 in Game 1 with the man-up, but are 4-for-10 in the 2 games since. “It’s a long series, and we’ve learned so much. (Langley) knows what to do, and we’re learning from that,” he said. (Burnaby Now) … The Thunder, meanwhile, are clicking in all facets and that includes their loaded offensive lineup in which they can pick their poison from the bevy of snipers. In Tuesday’s Game 3 win, it was rookie Shayne Jackson stepping up with 3 goals and 1 assist. “He’s a hard worker and expects to perform at a top level. He just keeps going; he doesn’t stop. He sets hard picks and works for loose balls, and the other guys on offence feed off that,” said Langley assistant coach Darcy Rhodes. (Langley Advance) … Langley coach Rod Jensen says the experience of last year’s playoff run is what’s helped his team to a 3-0 series lead against Burnaby. ”We are a good team. We are a little bit tougher, more size, more physical,” said Jensen. (Langley Times).Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to RochesterSports.com.
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