It’s not going well lately for the Maple Ridge Burrards, who bolted to a 5-2 start this summer and were the toast of the Western Lacrosse Association. They scored 10 points in the first 7 games and the 5 victories erased the bad taste of 2012, when they won just 4 games the entire summer. But they’ve hit a serious skid in their last 8 games, winning just 2 games with an offense that’s stuck in neutral and turning what looked to be a sure playoff berth into anything but certain. The latest blow came last weekend when they were losers of both games, losing at Coquitlam by a goal on Saturday before dropping a home game in overtime to Nanaimo. Team president Lance Andre isn’t concerned. Yet. “We’ll be better. We’re going through some hard times, and we’ll turn it around,” he told The Maple Ridge News.
If the Burrards are going to turn it around, they’re probably looking at the offense and what the problem there is. On the surface, it’s an easy issue to identify. In the first 7 games, Maple Ridge averaged 12.7 goals per game. In the last 8, where they’ve gone 2-6, they’re averaging just 8.5.
Of course, it’s never really that simple, is it? Sometimes, a system goes stale. Sometimes, opponents figure it out. Sometimes, it’s just a lull. And sometimes, it’s just a funk that no one really can explain. But there is no doubt the Burrards miss the production of Joel Dalgarno, who had 22 points in his first 5 games but has played just once since June 9.
Dalgarno’s absence is significant because while Curtis Dickson and Jarrett Davis continue to be the team’s leading scorers, the lack of a threat after that duo makes it easier for opposing defenses to key on the point of attack because they have a pretty good idea where it’s coming from.
Riley Lowewen and Andrew Murphy have played well in spots to pick up the slack, but the consistency hasn’t been there for the rookies. In the last 5 games, Murphy has a pair of 0-point games and Loewen has a pair of 1-point games.
The last thing Maple Ridge wants to do is panic, and there certainly is time to recover. The Burrards currently sit in the spot for the fourth and final playoff berth, but they’re just 3 points clear of New Westminster, a team with its own set of issues. But while the panic may not be there, a sense of urgency probably shoud be there. Maple Ridge has 3 games left in its regular season and New West has 4, giving the ‘Bellies the advantage when it comes to closing that gap.
Maple Ridge’s next chance to snap their funk comes tonight when they’re away to Burnaby, a team it’s already split with in 2 games earlier this summer. The Burrards play their final home game on Sunday.
plus the links
The Victoria Shamrocks didn’t get it done last weekend, but they get another chance this weekend. The Rocks lost at home to the Langley Thunder on Friday, but travel to Langley for a game against the Thunder on Saturday where the Thunder expect Mark Matthews to make his debut after 3 road games with the team. For Victoria’s part, the plan is simple. “The keys for us will be to stay disciplined, to work hard the whole game, and to have our 5-on-5 offence clicking,” said Victoria GM Chris Welch. (The Province) … The Thunder have won 5 straight, but took great pleasure in winning in Victoria last Friday in what was then a matchup of 2 teams tied for first place. “The Victoria game, we made a statement. (The Shamrocks) filled the whole building because it was their alumni night, so the emotional build-off was there. But we were able to maintain the pace of the game. It was exciting,” said Langley coach Rod Jensen. (Langley Advance) … The Burnaby Lakers won 5 of 6 heading into last night’s game against New West, and all this talk about youth for a team in third place isn’t flying with rookie Tyler Digby. “I don’t think we think we’re that young. We feel we’re that good and should be competing.” (Burnaby Now) … Speaking of youth, Cayle Ratcliff says the honeymoon is over for the young players in Nanaimo, and the team’s top scorer this summer is leading by example. “All of these guys are definitely not playing like rookies, our grace period is over for that. It’s good to see this much talent and this young. It’s scary how good the future of this team can be with all of the young guys and all of the draft picks we have coming up,” said Ratcliff. (Nanaimo Daily News) … The New Westminster Salmonbellies twice this season have won 2 straight, but that third consecutive win is the type of momentum that has eluded the ‘Bellies. There isn’t much time left in the season to find a winning streak, but that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped searching as they headed into last night’s game against Burnaby. ”This is a season that we and other teams are proving that if you’re not on and don’t have your momentum going — it’s a difficult league,” he said. The next step is to go on that run,” said coach Steve Goodwin. (Royal City Record) … The Victoria Shamrocks lost a pair of games last weekend but have a shot for redemption against each this weekend. More importantly, it’s a chance to snap a skid that’s seen the Shamrocks lose 3 of their last 4. “We need to get back to the basics and work on fundamentals — get to loose balls and once we get back on track, we’ll be all right. Sure, home-floor advantage is something we were looking at, but making the playoffs and finding our game and making sure we peak at the right time is what we’re most concerned with,” said captain Scott Ranger. (Times Colonist).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 email@example.com or go to RochesterSports.com.
Rate This Story: