Ladner Pioneers will be trying to capture their second straight West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association championship on Saturday night.
The Pioneers opened their best-of-three final series with an impressive 7-4 road win over the Nanaimo Timbermen on Wednesday. It was their first triumph in four tries against the WCSLA regular season champion. Game two is slated for 7 p.m. at Sungod Arena in North Delta. A Nanaimo win would force a deciding game on Tuesday back on the Island.
With several regulars unavailable, it was the Pioneers’ depth the came through in one of their most complete games of the season.
The visitors led 2-0 after one and extended the margin to 6-0 before Nanaimo finally got on the scoreboard with a pair of goals in the final six minutes of the second period. The Timbermen made it 6-3 when defender Jake Carey provided some extra insurance.
Tyler Kirkby led the way with four points, including a pair of goals. Mike Berekoff also scored twice. Spencer Bromley and Garrett Lewis had the others.
Zach Wickett was outstanding in net — making 37 saves as Ladner was outshot 41-34 on the night.
The Pioneers were minus eight regulars and played one under the roster limit — despite calling up Brayden Kirk (Junior A) and Cam Summers (Senior C) to help fill the void.
“We had some guys really step up for us and it will definitely factor in who will be playing on Saturday,” said Pioneers head coach Ross Frehlick. “Cody Cowx had a great game and a guy like Alan Casey, who has missed a lot of time this season, really came through for us. Zach was outstanding.”
Both teams are headed to the President’s Cup national senior “B” lacrosse championships later this month in Nanaimo.