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New West Salmonbellies kick off 2024 season with a win

New Westminster Senior A Salmonbellies defeat Burnaby Lakers 14-9 in first game of WLA’s 2024 season
The New Westminster Salmonbellies and the Burnaby Lakers opened the WLA season on Thursday night at Queen's Park Arena.

Will Malcom and Kevin Crowley led the New Westminster Senior A Salmonbellies to a 14-9 win over the Burnaby Lakers in their 2024 season opener.

The Bellies kicked off their 2024 season with a home game at Queen’s Park Arena on May 23.

Malcom, the game’s first star, had six goals and two assists. Crowley, who was the game’s second star, had a seven-point night with three goals and four assists.

“What a play,” said a longtime Bellies fan after Malcom took possession of the ball in the corner and passed it out front to Crowley, who put it in Burnaby’s net.

The game marked the Bellies’ return to Queen’s Park Arena after last fall’s exciting Mann Cup run.

But Burnaby was first on the scoreboard, putting two goals back Bellies’ goalie Neil Tyacke within the first five minutes. At the end of the second, the Lakers led 2-1.

Tyacke and Burnaby goalie Keegen Melenychuk, who played much of his junior career in New West, were kept busy in the second period, when New West scored eight times. In the middle stanza, Malcom added to his first-period goal with four in the second.

At the other end of the floor, Burnaby scored four times.

Heading into the dressing room after two periods, the Bellies had a 9-6 lead.

The teams each scored three goals in the third, before New West potted two in the last minute of the game, after Burnaby had pulled its goalie.

Jeff Cornwall had a hattrick for the Salmonbellies, including two unassisted goals.

Logan Schuss had a goal and three assists. Thursday’s game marked his return to the Bellies’ lineup after playing in the Senior B league for the his hometown Ladner Pioneers in 2022 and being sidelined for the 2023 season while recovering from surgery.

Conner Cook also scored one for the Bellies.

Ben Stewart –  a former Junior Salmonbellie who was drafted by New West’s Senior A team in 2023 but later traded to Burnaby – had two goals and three assists for the Lakers. He was selected as the game’s third star.

Jacob Dunbar had a five-point night for the Lakers, with three goals and two assists.

The Salmonbellies head to Langley for a Wednesday, May 29 game at the Langley Events Centre, before returning home for a Thursday, June 6 game against the Coquitlam Adanacs. The Western Lacrosse Association's 2024 schedule is online.