With a gritty delivery and a resiliency reminiscent of Jason from the Friday the 13th movies, the Coquitlam Adanacs are moving on up to the Western Lacrosse Association final.
The underdog Adanacs survived a hardy rally by the Victoria Shamrocks on Wednesday to pull out an 8-7 triumph at the Poirier Sports Centre, taking the series 4-2.
That catapults the club - which finished dead-last in the WLA in 2011 - into the final against the defending WLA champion Langley Thunder, starting Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
If that duel equals the AdanacShamrocks rivalry for intensity and action, fans will be in for a treat.
"It was a little scattered, hairy
- whatever you call it tonight," Adanacs coach Bob Salt said. "We played so calm (Tuesday) even when they tied us. Tonight we played like a really young team with a lot of emotions."
Coming off a huge 10-9 overtime victory in Victoria on Tuesday, Coquitlam found itself trailing early on Wednesday. The Shamrocks' Corey Small tallied the first two goals of the game before the home team put in a reply.
Daryl Veltman's marker midway through the first cued a five-goal A's run. However, the visitors refused to go quietly and pulled ahead with four straight goals of their own to lead 6-5 early in the third.
But Coquitlam stayed the course.
Following Victoria's sixth marker, where league MVP Nick Rose gambled and lost on a loose ball, the home team responded quickly and tied it on Kevin Olson's well-placed shot to the top corner just 27 seconds later.
The teams traded goals, leaving it all up to Veltman - who cashed in a slick move from off the back boards to beat ex-Adanac netminder Chris Levis with just 2: 44 remaining in the third.
Taking two games on the Island demonstrated how much the team has come together since a rough 1-4 start to the year, Olson noted.
"I knew we had the skill and the grit. Our team had it all along, we just needed to kind of click, and we really started to click right around now," he said. "When we were losing that was our biggest downfall - a lot of negativity on the bench. We made that a point in the second half of the season to keep it really positive on the bench."
Now comes Langley, who easily swept Burnaby in their semifinal series.
"It's similar to this series," Olson said of the final matchup. "Victoria had a lot of firepower and so does Langley. It's going to be a similar series, they're going to play hard and they've been there before and they know what it takes - we want to be there."
From his vantage point, Salt expects the final to showcase the league's top offence against the most formidable defence.
"I don't think Langley's played against a D end like this," remarked Salt. "It's going to be interesting. I'm sure they'll have something planned for Dobbie because they were here watching us. I just hope they take us lightly."
Game 2 is slated for Tuesday at the Poirier Sports Centre, with the series continuing Aug. 23 in Langley and 25 in Coquitlam. All games start at 7: 45 p.m. Games 5, 6 and 7 will be played Aug. 27, 29 and 31, if necessary.