Ladner Pioneers have wrapped up regular season honours in the West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association with two games to spare.
The Pioneers improved to 14-2-0 on the campaign with a 12-5 victory in the provincial capital on Sunday night over the Victoria Wolves. That result coupled with the second place Nanaimo Timbermen falling 13-8 to the Langley Warriors opened up a five-point lead for Ladner with each team having just two games remaining.
Tyler Kirby led the way with a nine-point night, including a hat trick, and is on his way to winning the WCSLA scoring title. His 77 points are 19 better than Nanaimo’s Corey Shires.
Spencer Bromley returned from the injured list to also produce a hat trick. Rookie Riley Phillips scored twice. Shaun Dhaliwal, Mike Avery, Zach Herreweyers and Joey Lucchesi had the others.
Eric Kraatz made 34 saves in his Pioneers debut as the visitors took control with six goals in the second period to open up a 10-4 lead after 40-minutes.
Ladner will host Langley on Thursday (8 p.m.) and travel to Nanaimo on Sunday to close out its regular season schedule.
The team will feature its full line-up for both games including Ryan Benesch returning to the west coast this week from Ontario.
The National Lacrosse League star had seven points in his Pioneers debut two weeks ago in Coquitlam. He needs to play three games to be eligible for the post-season.
Pioneers head coach Ross Frehlick said both games are important from a team chemistry standpoint with the playoffs on the horizon. Luke Wiles will also be back from Ontario and defender Cody Hawkins from Calgary.
A win in Nanaimo is also high on the priority list.
Ladner is 0-2 against its Island rivals this season and has lost five straight dating back to last year’s WCSLA championship series.