The 24-time Mann Cup champion New Westminster Salmonbellies were eliminated from the Western Lacrosse Association playoffs.
The defending league champions finished in fifth place in the WLA following a must-win 12-6 loss to the last-place Maple Ridge Burrards on Sunday.
New Westminster needed a win against the Burrards in the final game of the regular season to nail down a spot in the final four, but came up short in arguably the most important game of the season for the storied franchise.
"When you can't beat the last-place team in what was a playoff game for us, you don't deserve to be in the playoffs," said Salmonbellies president and general manager Dan Richardson. "The Salmonbellies faithful - the organization, the alumni, the sponsors and supporters hold us in high esteem and have expectations for us to compete. ... I'm embarrassed we have let them down."
Trailing 3-2 after the first period, Ilija Gajic scored back-to-back markers to give New Westminster a brief one-goal lead. But the hero of the game for Maple Ridge, Curtis Dickson, sparked a five-goal reply with the second and third of his game-high six goals to put the home club into the lead for good.
The Burrards went on to outscore New West 4-2 in the final 20 minutes. Last season's goalie of the year, Tyler Richards, stopped just 26 of 38 shots in the Salmonbellies' goal. Drew Dickie made 37 stops in the Maple Ridge cage.
New Westminster finished the season with a 9-9 record.
It was the first time since 2004, the Salmonbellies have failed to make the WLA post season.
"I'm confident we can get back to where we need to be. But we have some tough decisions to make," said Richardson. "I think it starts with myself and goes right down to the 25th man on the roster and everyone in between. We have to look at it all."
The WLA playoffs begin this Wednesday in Langley with the first-place Thunder taking on the Burnaby Lakers.