Jr. 'A' Islanders shake up their roster

Six players acquired in 10 days as lacrosse team makes push for a berth in Minto Cup

The Delta Islanders are all in as they chase a berth in the Minto Cup.

With six new players acquired in the past 10 days, the B.C. Junior "A" Lacrosse League team has completely re-shaped its roster in the hopes of clinching one of two B.C. berths in the national tournament, which will be played in Langley Aug. 19 to 29.

Among the moves, Aidan Milburn was acquired from the Burnaby Lakers, high scoring righthander Cam Milligan was picked up from the Peterborough Lakers and starting goalie Kevin Orleman was acquired from the Kitchener Waterloo Braves.

The Islanders also completed a four-player swap with the Victoria Shamrocks with Delta receiving Nate Wade, Adam Jay and future considerations while Will Kinnaird, Riley Taylor, first and third round picks and future considerations were shipped to Victoria.

Delta completed its flurry of deals on July 1 by picking up Ryan Lewis from the Nanaimo Timberman for future considerations.

"It has been a crazy week - six new players in 10 days," said Islanders assistant GM and head coach Greg Rennie. "They were all pretty big deals. We filled a lot of holes in places we felt were just needed."

The new players paid off over the weekend as Delta picked up a pair of home wins - 13-11 over the Port Coquitlam Saints on Saturday and 17-13 over Victoria on Sunday.

On Saturday, Chase Fraser led the way with four goals and one assist, Milburn scored twice and added three assists while Jon Phillips had five helpers. Evan Messenger and Spencer Bromley each added a goal and three assists, while Riley Phillips had a goal and two assists.

 Orleman stopped 52 of 63 shots in his goaltending debut with the club.

On Sunday, Delta fell behind 8-3 after the first period, but battled back, outscoring Victoria 4-0 in the second period and 10-5 in the third.   Fraser had a five-point night with four goals and one assist, Messenger added five helpers while Milligan, Jon Phillips and Bromley all had four-point nights with Milligan and Bromley netting hat tricks. Lewis and Riley Phillips chipped in with two goals apiece.

"This weekend was tough because a lot of guys hadn't played together and new faces, and a lot of change inside our dressing room, so it was a shock to a lot of the guys," said Rennie. "On Saturday we played well.  Poco played us tough.  Sunday night it took us awhile to get our legs and get going, but once we kind of got our groove halfway through the game, we started to roll."

Delta has clinched a playoff spot and can secure second place with a win at home tonight in its final regular season game against Nanaimo. Game time is 7 p.m. at the Ladner Leisure Centre.

"The big thing for us is to create some chemistry," said Rennie. "I thought it got better on Sunday and coming back down 8-3 showed a lot of resiliency from the guys. There is still a lot of shock in the room from the guys that we had to let go, so now we have to build on things as we head into the playoffs."

New West could still clinch second place if it wins its final two games (Tuesday against Langley and Friday against Coquitlam) and Ladner loses its final game.

Ladner will meet New West in the second round of the playoffs regardless with the winner of that best-of-seven series clinching a spot in the league final and the Minto Cup.

Port Coquitlam and Langley will either finish fourth or fifth and will square off in a first round best-of-three wild card playoff series with the winner meeting undefeated Coquitlam in the second round.

Delta's series with New West should start around July 15.

 

IAN JACQUES / DELTA OPTIMIST/JULY 6, 2016 12:00 AM

 

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