As the Valley Rebels get set to embark on the West Coast Lacrosse Association playoffs, head coach Jim Nishiyama is well aware that his team’s fortunes could hinge on discipline.
During the regular season, the Rebels were easily the most-penalized team on the senior B men’s circuit, racking up an average of 39 penalty minutes per game. That was 10 minutes more than the runner-up in that statistical category, the North Shore Indians.
Friday’s regular season finale was a case in point. The Rebels trailed the Nanaimo Timbermen 7-6 through two periods at MSA Arena, but racked up 43 minutes in penalties in the final frame en route to a 12-6 loss.
“We got into penalty trouble, and that’s what killed us,” Nishiyama noted. “Everybody in our league has a deadly power play, and they feast on teams that lack discipline. And that’s us.
“It’s been ridiculous.”
The Rebels got a five-point night (one goal, four assists) from Sean Kelly and two goals from Jordan Hernandez in the loss, which dropped them to 8-6 and ensured they’ll be the fourth seed heading into the WCSLA post-season.
They take on No. 5 North Shore (5-7-1-1) in a best-of-three first round series this week.
Game 1 is at 8 p.m. Wednesday at MSA Arena. Game 2 will be at North Shore, but the date and time had not been set as of press deadline. Game 3, if necessary, will be Sunday at 2 p.m. Abbotsford Recreation Centre will be the venue, as the ice is set to go back into MSA Arena later this week.
“We can’t run and gun with them – they’ve got a real good team over there,” Nishiyama said of the Indians. “I’m expecting a war. We have to stay out of the box, play our game, and get to their goalie early.”