A's come out on top as rivalry renewed with 'Bellies

by Owen Munro

8  7

Despite the return of vaunted scorer Tre Leclaire, the New Westminster Salmonbellies dropped their third game in four to begin the 2019 BCJALL regular season, in a close loss to heated rivals in Coquitlam. 

The two clubs renewed rivalries at Queens Park Arena on Tuesday night still not at full strength, but with some players getting back in the lineups with school now over. 

Dennon Armstrong gave the visiting Adanacs a 3-1 advantage after the opening 20 minutes with a pair of goals - one with the man advantage and another shorthanded. The A's continued to build their lead with another three-goal run in the second period, capped off by a Max Semple marker, again on the Power Play. However, goals by Leclaire and Erik Maas kept things close at 6-4 after 40 minutes. 

Another goal by Leclaire and Cam Garlin tied things up seven minutes into the final frame before Semple and Trevor Funk restored a two-goal lead for the defending champions. Some tough defence over the final few minutes gave them the win despite a Ben Stewart goal with a little more than four minutes remaining.

The win gives Coquitlam a 4-0 record and will go along way to quieting those who may be doubting the Minto Cup champs after an offseason filled with turnover. Keep in mind that the A's are largely playing a Junior B laden roster, and reinforcements are coming. Shockingly, there are only two undefeated teams left in the BCJALL: Coquitlam and the upstart Nanaimo Timbermen. 

New West has a chance to get back in the W column when they take on Delta at the Ladner Leisure Centre tonight. Coquitlam isn't back on the floor until next Tuesday when the Islanders come to town.