With an opportunity to close out the series at home, the New Westminster Salmonbellies did not disappoint the close to 2,000 fans at Queens Park Arena with a dramatic game five 13-11 win over the Visiting Victoria Shamrocks. Were now hosting the Mann Cup starting September 8th in New West At QPA. We’re going to the Mann!
After a OT win in game four, 48hrs later we were back home on the wooden floor to look at closing this series and advance to the Canadian championship. BC Premier John Horgan and New Westminster MLA Judy Darcy participated in the ceremonial faceoff. As well a fun side bet, winner of the series wears the other teams jersey in upcoming BC Legislature.
Once the formalities were taken care of we are on to the game in front of a very excited New West crowd. Joel McCready wasted no time with back to back goal and the Bellies were off an running up 2-0, just under 2 minutes later Corey Small answered with two of his own followed by Evan Messenger at 17:08 of the 1st to give eth Rock a 3-2 lead. New West Junior call up Drew Belgrave scored a beauty on transition to tie the game and score his first WLA goal of his career, however 16 seconds later Corey Small scored his third of the period and the Shamrocks end the period up 4-3.
Like most of the series the second period saw a shootout by both teams with New West going on a 5 goal run. Victoria opened it up with three straight and grabbed a 7-3 lead at the 7:50 mark of the period. Logan Schuss got the Bellies back on track with a power play goal, followed by Mike Messenger, Kevin Crowley, captain Curtis Hodgson on a beauty tweaster on the crease and again Crowley to go ahead 8-7. Victoria with a late goal and we head into the dressing room tied at 8 after forty minutes of play.
Victoria opened up the period at 1:45 with a go ahead goal by Casey Jackson, but Brandon Goodwin on a fast break beats Bold high far side to tie the game. 30 seconds later Schuss with a bullet have the Salmonbellies back up 10-9 still early in the period. The Shamrocks grab two and now lead 11-10 half way through the period. The bellies were patience and waiting for the opportunity to tie the game. Your WLA scoring leader Mitch Jones answered with the tying goal at 15:28. As the energy in old Queens park started to rise Kevin Crowley nets the eventual game winner at 18:30. In a desperate move the Shamrock’s call Buque on a stick check but fail and now sit shorthanded for the remaining 90 seconds of the game. Mike Messenger seals the win on an empty net goal and your 2017 New Westminster Salmonbellies are crowned the WLA championship and will host the Mann Cup.
Alexis Buque faced 49 shots with 38 saves and ended the WLA playoffs with an astounding 7.82 GAA and .844 save %.
Alexis Buque was awarded the Bill Ellison Memorial Trophy as the Most Valuable Player in the playoffs
We now await the winner of the east, either Six Nations or Peterborough. The Lakers are currently up 3-0 in the series and play game four Tuesday September 29th.
Mann Cup Dates
September 8,9,11,12,13,15 and 16
Queens Park Arena
All games start at 7:30PM
Tickets details to be announced in the next few days
Playoff Stats: http://www.wlalacrosse.com/view/wla/playoffs