After missing the postseason last year, the New Westminster Salmonbellies clinched a playoff berth with a 14-5 win over the Maple Ridge Burrards on Tuesday night.
New Westminster is now on a four-game winning streak as they moved into a tie with the Langley Thunder for first place in the WLA. Langley has also clinched leaving the other five teams to battle it out for the final four playoff spots.
Maple Ridge’s offense was clicking in the sense they outshot New Westminster 49-45. However, they struggled to put the ball passed Salmonbellies goaltender Zach Higgins.
Hope fades for the Burrards in the first period
Gabe Procyk opened the scoring 2:23 into the game, giving the Burrards some hope. But that would quickly fade.
New Westminster went on the four-goal run with four different goal scorers. Haiden Dickson tied up the game on the power play at 6:22 followed by Will Malcom 25 seconds later to make it 2-1.
Keegan Bal and Jordan McBride also added markers as the Salmonbellies led 4-1 after the first period.
Back-and-forth second period
Both teams went goal-for-goal in the second period. Brett Kujala opened the second with a shorthanded marker at 1:32 to get the Burrards within two.
Jason Jones replied right back for the Salmonbellies 17 seconds later to restore New Westminster’s three-goal lead.
Kaden Doughty scored for the Burrard 2:56 into the second. However, Ryan Martel replied 2:10 after that to make it 6-3.
Drew Andre scored Maple Ridge’s fourth goal but, again, New Westminster quickly replied. It took Bal only 36 seconds to get the goal back for the Salmonbellies.
A powerplay marker by the Burrards’ Ryan Jones made the score 7-5. New Westminster finished the period on a two-goal run with a pair of markers from Bal.
Maple Ridge shut out in the third period
New Westminster pulled away in the third period as they shut out the Burrards 5-0 in the final frame. Higgins stopped all 14 shots he faced.
Dickson was absolutely dominant, scoring three straight goals in a span of four minutes to open the third-period scoring.
McBride followed that up with a pair of powerplay goals to give the Salmonbellies the 14-5 win and a playoff berth.
New Westminster Salmonbellies
Keegan Bal, 4g 9a
Jordan McBride, 3g 3a
Ryan Martel, 1g 5a
Maple Ridge Burrards
Brett Kujala, 1g 1a
Dylan McIntosh, 2a