Lakers Salvage Opening Weekend Split

The WLA’s opening weekend continued Friday night as the Burnaby Lakers had their home opener against the Coquitlam Adanacs at Bill Copeland Arena (aka The Swamp). The Lakers returned home after dropping a 14-9 decision to New Westminster on Thursday night. Coquitlam enters the 2024 season looking to improve on last year’s dismal 2-16 campaign, which saw them endure separate losing streaks of eight and six games. The Adanacs rallied from a five-goal deficit to tie the game in the third period. However, a late goal from Ben McDonald gave Burnaby a 12-11 win that evens their record at 1-1 and drops Coquitlam to 0-1. Coquitlam has a similar turnaround this weekend, hosting Nanaimo Saturday night in the back end of their doubleheader. The Lakers have another doubleheader next weekend, hosting Langley Friday, and at Coquitlam next Saturday.

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Big first period puts Lakers in front

Tyler Kirkby put the Adanacs on the board just 51 seconds into the game. Burnaby turned the tables, with Trevayne Hunter (3:09) and Sam La Roue (3:15) scoring within six seconds of each other to take a 2-1 lead. Brian Gillis (3:34) tied the game for Coquitlam, but the Lakers responded with a four-goal run. Gordie Phillips (4:10), Ben McDonald (8:53), Jacob Dunbar (11:10), and Cole Newton (15:34) put Burnaby up 6-2 after one period.

Both teams scored three times in the second period as Burnaby retained their four-goal lead, 9-5. Coquitlam got goals from Matt Delmonico (1:22), Adam Noakes (8:31), and a second from Gillis (9:10). The Lakers countered with Ben Stewart (3:20 power play), Thomas Vela (6:26), and Dunbar’s second (16:34 power play).

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Adanacs’ rally falls short in third period

Hunter’s second goal (2:30 third period) pushed Burnaby’s lead to 10-5. Erik Turner scored shorthanded for Coquitlam (4:18), but Dunbar’s second power play goal (5:45) kept the margin at five. However, the Adanacs put together a five-goal run to tie the game. A hat-trick goal from Gillis (8:58), Riley Isaacs (11:13), and Kirkby’s second of the game (11:38) pulled Coquitlam to 11-9. Kean Moon then went back-to-back (12:07; 14:39 power play) to tie the game at 11. But Burnaby would get the last laugh, as McDonald broke the tie with his second of the game (17:54), and Coquitlam could not find another equalizer.

The game-winning goal earned McDonald (2g, 4a) 1st Star of the Game honors. Kirby (2g, 3a) took home 2nd Star for the Adanacs, while Dunbar (3g, 3a) earned 3rd Star of the Game for the Lakers. Burnaby scored with great efficiency, netting 12 goals on just 44 shots, to Coquitlam’s 61 shots. Alex Buque made 50 saves in the win, while Andrew Gallant (32 saves) took the loss.

“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk

“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk was formally introduced to box lacrosse when he attended a New England Black Wolves game on a whim in 2016. Instantly hooked, he has since become an avid follower of the National Lacrosse League. Following the postponement of the 2019-2020 NLL season, he was offered the chance to share his wealth of statistical knowledge and unique insights with the lacrosse community at large. He cheerfully accepted, and covers NLL, PLL, WLA, and Major Series Lacrosse for the network.