Bandits sweep Rebels in first-place showdown

The Tri-City Bandits knocked the Valley Rebels off their first-place perch, sweeping a pivotal weekend series.

Valley Rebels goalie Brandon Mulligan scoops up a shot from a Tri-City Bandits opponent on Friday.

Valley Rebels goalie Brandon Mulligan scoops up a shot from a Tri-City Bandits opponent on Friday.

The Tri-City Bandits knocked the Valley Rebels off their first-place perch, sweeping a pivotal weekend series to overtake the Abbotsford squad for top spot in the West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association.

The Bandits came into MSA Arena on Friday and thumped the Rebels 11-4, building an early 4-0 lead and cruising from there.

The Valley squad was primed for revenge on Saturday at PoCo Rec Complex, taking a 5-4 lead in the third period thanks to a hat trick from Sean Kelly and singles from Graham Wiedenhammer and Jordan Hernandez. But Ryan Mosdell brought the Bandits back, scoring twice in the late going – including the game-winning goal with the goalie pulled and just 1.7 seconds left on the clock – to lift his team to a 6-5 win.

The Rebels took out their frustrations on the Royal City Capitals on Sunday, winning 18-2 on the road. But they’re now in second place in the WCSLA at 13-5-0 for 26 points, one back of the Bandits (13-3-1), who have one game in hand.

“They’re a real good team,” Rebels coach Ted Downey said of the Bandits. “Our guys had beaten them earlier in the year, but I think they had to reacquaint themselves with playing against a real good club. They (the Bandits) bring all the elements – they score, they shoot, they pass well, and they’ve been together for a number of years.

“You can’t just have one or two guys step up to the plate – everybody has to. That’s what PoCo taught us, and I think the lesson has been pretty well learned.”

The Rebels host another big game on Friday, when the third-place Ladner Pioneers (12-5-1) visit MSA Arena for an 8 p.m. tilt.