The Campbell River Ravens were in tough against the Saanich Express during the last game of the Pacific Northwest Junior Lacrosse League regular season on Sunday at Strathcona Gardens.
Saanich scored six unanswered goals (three in the first period and three in the second) before the Ravens were able to punch a hole in the Express defence and get their first goal from Kenny Sweet, assisted by Rylan Fisher and Heydon Campbell.
The Express would then score five more goals before the Ravens could answer with a third period goal by Fisher from Sweet. The Express responded with one more after that before the end of the game.
While the ice was tilted in favour of Express scorers, Express fans were complaining about the ice being tilted in favour of the Ravens when it came to penalties. The Express were called for nine straight penalities before the Ravens received their first in the second period. After that that Ravens got five more while the Express were whistled for two more for a total of 11 to the Ravens’ six.
Shots on goal were, not surprisingly, heavily in favour of Saanich, 69-31.
This was the fourth straight defeat for the Ravens at the hands of the Express.
The Ravens finish the regular season in third place with a record of 5-10-1 and 11 points in the five-team league. The Westshore Bears are the regular season winners with an undefeated season and a 16-0-0 record and 32 points. Saanich finishes second with a 12-4-0 record and 24 points. Nanaimo Timbermen finish fourth with 4-11-1 record and nine points and in the basement are the Oceanside Sharks with a 2-14-0 record and four points.
Only the sharks are eliminated from playoff contention in the five team league. In the playoffs, first place Westshore will play fourth place Nanaimo. Second place Saanich will play the Ravens. Series are best two out of three and the series winners will move on to the PNWJLL championship and battle it out in a best two out of three final. Both finalists will advance to the provincials.
First game of the playoffs for the Ravens and Saainich is Saturday, July 20 at Strathcona Gardens at 6 p.m. Game two is Sunday, July 21 at Save-On Foods Arena at 2 p.m. and, if necessary, game three will be Saturday, July 27 at 2 p.m. in Save-On foods Arena.
Westshore and Nanaimo begin their series on Thursday, July 18 at 8 p.m. at the Q Center Arena. game two is Sunday, July 21 at Frank Crane Arena and game three, if necessary, will be Thursday, July 25 at Q Center Arena.