Two Coquitlam-born players sunk the hearts of the junior Adanacs Tuesday.
One was on the floor, playing for the opposing team, while the other could do little else but watch on from the stands.
New Westminster Salmonbellies netminder Frank Scigliano shut the door in what had to be his most pivotal period of netminding this season, as the Bellies turned a 7-6 deficit through two periods into an 11-7 win.
That the Adanacs didn't have leading scorer Wesley Berg in the lineup only compounded their third-period collapse, which resulted in Coquitlam being bounced from the Minto Cup.
The win catapults the Salmonbellies into a best-of-five final against Whitby for the national junior championship.
"Frank Scigliano really stepped up and shut us out in the third, that's really the difference," Adanacs coach Neil Doddridge said of the Coquitlam native. "He picked up on our tendencies. That was one of the more dominant periods I've seen out of him all summer."
The Adanacs emerged from the first in a 3-3 stalemate, and held a 7-5 edge with less than a minute to go in the second. Jeremy Bosher brought the Bellies back to within one with 10 seconds left in the second to breathe some life into their comeback charge.
That surge proved too much one period later, as New West copped three goals in a five-minute span midway through the second. A pair of empty net markers with under three minutes to go sealed Coquitlam's fate.
Reid Reinholdt and Cole Shafer both scored twice for Coquitlam, while Steven Neufeld, Tyler Pace and Vincent Ricci netted singles.
Davide DiRuscio made nine saves on 12 shots in about 14 minutes worth of playing time, while Pete Dubenski turned aside 27 of 33 shots in 46 minutes worth of work.
Tuesday's heartbreaker was the second time in three days that New West had Coquitlam's number, as the Bellies downed the Adanacs 9-7 on Sunday.
"In the first game we ran into a lot of penalty troubles, so we never really got much momentum going as far as our offence," said Coquitlam captain Tyler Garrison. "In the last game, that third period was the difference. We just tried to keep going with the momentum we had in the second to try and hold on to the thing, but ... it just didn't work out."
That the Adanacs managed just seven goals in each of their losses only underscores the importance of Berg, who suffered a broken leg in Game 3 of the provincial final against New Westminster. That series went to five games, with Coquitlam eking out a 3-2 win for its fifth straight B.C. crown.
Referred to as the "best offensive player in the country" by Doddridge, Berg netted 28 points in six playoff games and 41 points in eight regular season games.
"Our hearts were ripped out when Wesley got hurt," Doddridge said. "You try to take the high road and move on, but you can't. He's our leader, he's our everything. When you lose your John Tavares in the middle of a playoff run, it takes your heart. It took his leg, but it took our heart. I don't think we recovered from it. It's not just his goals, it's what he creates. But that's lacrosse."
And while Berg will be back next year - he' already been named captain for the 2014 season - Coquitlam will have a series of holes to fill, particularly in net and on the left side.
Lefties Reid Reinholdt and Vincent Ricci will be lost to graduation, as will DiRuscio. Dubenski, Coquitlam's other netminder, heads back to Nanaimo next season as part of the trade agreement that intially brought him to Coquitlam.
Other grads include Garrison, Matt Delmonico and Steven Neufeld.
Doddridge has confirmed that he will be back behind the bench next year, but it remains to be scene if assistants Dane Dobbie and Jon Harnett will be back.
General manager Tosh Nishimura said it's unlikely Curt Malawsky will return due to his National Lacrosse League commitments.
"I'm happy with how we finished and I'm proud of the guys - moving forward I like what I see," Nishimura said.
"We've already looked at what we were lacking in the Minto Cup and in the playoffs - it was offence. We're definitely going to be looking for some scoring studs for next year. We're not wasting any time on making changes."
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