The Delta Islanders are off to the B.C. Junior “B” Tier One Lacrosse League final four and it took the program’s biggest win in three years to pull it off.
Since reaching the Minto Cup in 2016, it’s been hard times for the Islanders.
The Junior As missed the playoffs for a third straight year as some tough early losses and subsequent key injuries, along with a fire sale of top players to contending teams, added up to a 3-18-0 record.
There was some hope with the Junior B Tier One squad that finished third in league play with a 13-5-0 record. Yet, they were promptly on the ropes in its best-of-three series with sixth-place Nanaimo after a 10-7 home floor loss last Wednesday.
However, Delta dug deep for a 10-8 win on the Island Saturday, playing without league scoring champion Ben McDonald.
The comeback was complete with a thrilling 10-9 victory in Ladner on Sunday night. Delta erased a 7-5 second period deficit with three unanswered goals.
Cody Hoegg’s tally with 2:57 remaining in the frame proved to be the winner as goalie Ashton Leclair made 15 of his 39 stops in the final period.
McDonald returned to the line-up to produce five points, including a pair of goals. Rhys Porteous notched a hat trick while Isaac Richmond, Jared Moloci, Dylan Nishiyama and Keegan Kozack also scored.
Five unanswered goals provided the difference in game two as the visitors opened up a 6-3 lead and hung on for victory.
Peyton Hooper had a hat trick. Brayden Zunti, Richmond, Moloci, Porteous, Kozack, Nishiyama and Hoegg also scored. Leclair made 32 saves.
Coach Nathan Wilson’s squad will now face Victoria in a best-of-three semi-final series that will start on Saturday afternoon in the provincial capital.
Top seed Coquitlam has also advanced with a sweep of New West while Richmond rallied to win two straight against Port Coquitlam, including the deciding game in overtime.