Islanders edged in overtime thriller
Adanacs force deciding game in B.C. Junior "A" Lacrosse League finals on Tuesday night.
Delta Islanders and Coquitlam Adanacs are heading to a deciding game Tuesday after a wild and entertaining night of B.C. Junior “A” Lacrosse League playoff action on Sunday at Sungod Arena.
The seven-time defending champion Adanacs scored twice in the final 1:46 of non-sudden-death overtime period to stun the hometown Islanders 11-10 and even the best-of-three championship series. The finale takes place 7:30 p.m. at the Coquitlam Sports Center.
The Islanders looked on their way to their first-ever BCJALL title after storming back with five unanswered goals in the third period to tie the game at 9-9, including Cam Milligan’s equalizer with just 13 seconds remaining. Hometown rookie Riley Phillips then gave Delta its first lead of the night 1:20 into the 10-minute overtime and the hosts seemed to have all of the momentum.
They were in possession with just over two minutes remaining when an errant pass sent the Adanacs the other way. Reid Bowering buried the opportunity, ending a near 30-minute goalless drought for the champs.
Downs’ unassisted effort, that just snuck past goalie Kevin Orleman, capped the comeback.
“It was right there for us. You go through this and learn from it,” said Islanders head coach Greg Rennie. “They are a great team and we know what they are. We are showing everyone we can play with them and our guys are learning themselves they can play with them.
“It’s too bad. We had all the momentum. Now we have to go to their barn Tuesday and put 60 minutes together.”
A large crowd was treated to plenty of momentum swings.
An evenly played first period saw the Adanacs lead 3-1 but the Islanders create a number of quality chances.
Chase Fraser’s hat trick goal with just over eight minutes to go in the second tied the game at 4-4. That’s when the Adanacs took over, using their lethal transition game to scored four unanswered goals to close out the period with an 8-4 lead. Only some great saves by Orleman prevented further damage.
The end result seemed a formality when Downs scored in the opening minute of the third. It stayed 9-4 until midway through the period when Milligan ignited a huge Delta comeback on a long range bounce shot.
Fraser and Spencer Bromley brought Delta within two and Evan Messenger continued the rally when he scooped up a loose ball behind the net and soared through the air to score a spectacular wraparound goal. Milligan sent the fans into a frenzy when his blind behind the back shot beat Adanacs standout goaltender Christian Del Bianco in the dying seconds.
“It’s going to take a good second period to win game three,” added Rennie. “They pushed the ball and we had a hard time getting off the floor. They were killing us on turnovers.”
Regardless what happens Tuesday, the battle lines are being drawn for the Minto Cup in two weeks with the teams scheduled to conclude round-robin play against each other on Aug. 22 in Langley.
The four-team event, that also features champions from Alberta and Ontario, will see three-days (Aug. 20-22) of round-robin action determine the top three seeds. The first place finisher advances directly to the best-of-five final, while the second and three place teams playoff Aug. 23 for the other berth.
Orleman and Del Bianco were outstanding at both ends of the floor, making 57 and 63 saves respectively.
The Islanders got a monster performance in the face-off circle from Tyrell Hamer-Jackson. He won 19 of 24 draws.
MARK BOOTH/AUGUST 8, 2016
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