A 10-day layoff couldn't have come at a better time for the Delta Islanders after receiving a reality check from the defending B.C.
Junior "A" Lacrosse League champions.
The Islanders were zeroing in on a potential first place finish until running into the Coquitlam Adanacs.
Delta dropped a 11-6 home floor decision then four nights later were blasted 18-4 in Coquitlam. The results leave the locals in somewhat of a desperation mode if they still want to finish second and earn an opening round playoff bye for the first time in franchise history.
A pivotal three game homestand begins Saturday when the Port Coquitlam Saints visit Ladner at 7: 30 p.m. The Islanders then entertain the Langley Thunder at North Delta's Sungod Arena on Monday at 8 p.m., before hosting the New West Salmonbellies on Wednesday back in Ladner.
The Salmonbellies currently hold a three point lead over Delta for second spot but a win Wednesday coupled with a New West loss to Coquitlam two nights later would make up the difference.
The Islanders close out the season with a home-and home series against last place Nanaimo, July 7-8.
"We have five games in eight days and basically every one is a must win (if we want to finish second)," said head coach Shaun Springett. "It's definitely a tough way to end (the regular season) but we have a chance to establish some momentum going into the playoffs and it has always been about playing our best lacrosse in July not June."
The first meeting saw the Islanders get off to a terrible start with the Adanacs jumping out to a 4-1 lead after 20 minutes. It was hoped they would be better prepared for the return match, especially with top sniper Logan Schuss back in the line-up. Instead, Delta surrendered a power play goal before the game was two minutes old and the floodgates soon opened.
Coquitlam led 7-1 at the intermission, chasing starting goalie Will Schwan once again.
"We had a tough game the night before (a 76 overtime win against Langley) and it was just one of those things," continued Springett. "We are a young team that got very rattled and it got ugly in a hurry. There seems to be a bit of mojo happening against them and the same thing happened for a while against New West until we finally broke through last year. But give them credit too. That is a very good team that now has all their kids back (from college).
"We are definitely not hitting the panic bottom. It's not like we have played a bunch of bad games in a row. When I looked at the schedule at the start of the season I figured we would be right around 15-6 and (at 10-5-1) we definitely have a chance to do that."
Instead of using the break to get in lots of practice time, the coaching staff gave the players a few days off which most took advantage of to go camping. The theory being it was the last chance to get away from the arena for a while before a lengthy post-season run.
Boxla bits... The Islanders pulled off a trade with the Nanaimo Timbermen prior to the league's July 1 roster deadline.
The club acquired goaltender Pete Dubenski and Mitch Parker for future considerations.
Dubenski has already made three appearances in the Delta net, a pair of relief appearances against Coquitlam and the road win over Langley.
Parker should give the team some added scoring depth on the right side. He had 31 points, including 20 goals in 14 games with Nanaimo.
Both are first-year juniors.
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