Langley’s junior lacrosse team outplayed it senior counterparts, as competition heated up for the Thunder at Langley Events Centre this week.
Sixty-five shots on goal – and countless others which missed the net – produced just six goals as the Langley Thunder lost a third consecutive game as the visiting New Westminster Salmonbellies left Langley Events Centre with a 9-6 victory this week.
New Westminster (3-5) drew even with Langley (3-4) in the Western Lacrosse Association standings for fourth place although the Thunder do hold a game in hand.
“There is a lot of good things I am seeing out there, but it was a disappointing loss for sure,” Thunder coach Dave Pym said after Wednesday night’s game.
“We had some good efforts: we had some good goaltending, we had some good offence, we put up 67 shots and came away with not enough goals.”
Dane Dobbie opened the scoring at the 5:23 mark but the lead was short-lived as the Salmonbellies tied the score 63 seconds later and then went ahead 1:28 later.
Curtis Dickson would tie the score before intermission with the first of his three goals on the night, but New Westminster struck for a pair of goals 1:12 apart in the opening two minutes of the middle frame and went ahead for good.
The Thunder pulled to within a goal on four separate occasions but could never draw even as the ‘Bellies Zach Higgins made 59 saves on 65 shots to earn first star honours.
Another problem which plagued Langley was their power play, which entered the game operating at a league-best 54.8 per cent but was held scoreless for the first time this season, failing to cash in on any of the three man-advantage opportunities.
Dickson (three goals, one assist) and Dobbie (one goal, three assists) each had four-point games while Robert Church (one goal, one assists) and Thomas Vaesen (two assists) finished with two points apiece. Erik Maas had the other Langley goal.
In net, Frank Scigliano stopped 37 of 46 shots.
Jordan McBride (two goals, one assist) and Tomas Jeck (two goals) led the New Westminster offence.
The loss wrapped up a stretch of four games in eight days for Langley and the team had a full week off before they return to action, hosting the Burnaby Lakers at Langley Events Centre on Wednesday June 29 (7:30 p.m.).
“We have a lot of work we need to do. We are fortunately going to get our first practice on Monday with the full team and we can go over a lot of our systems and that kind of stuff,” Pym said.
“We have guys who are still fighting for spots. Come practice on Monday, they better come prepared to work their tails off.”
Junior Thunder drop Lakers 19-8
Meanwhile, in junior action, Langley Thunder emerged with a much better record than the WLA counterparts.
Seven goals in a span of 5:46 broke open a tie game as the Langley Thunder hammered the Burnaby Lakers 19-8.
The teams were tied at two goals with just under seven minutes to play in the opening period before the Thunder seized control over the visiting Lakers on Thursday at Langley Events Centre in BC Junior A Lacrosse League action.
The win improved Langley to 9-3 on the season while Burnaby fell to 5-6.
Stuart Phillips led the way for the Thunder as he scored four of his six goals in the opening 20 minutes and finished with a 10-point night.
Phillips credited the team’s defence for helping them find their game, especially as they were missing Drew Kask – their second leading goal scorer – on the right-side.
“Our back-end picked it up and were transitioning pretty well so we were able to get some easy ones,” Phillips said.
“That sparked us, and we didn’t look back from there.”
Phillips entered Tuesday night with just six goals in his past six games, despite firing 41 shots on goal. Against the Lakers, he scored on six of 10 shots.
“His shot is staring to come on now. Just good choices on when he was shooting, good placement, and then doing all the other little things well to help others get open as well,” said coach Adam Smith.
Phillips was just one of several Thunder players with big games as Kyle Brunsch scored four times while Cody Malawsky (two goals, five assists) and Tristan Kirkham (two goals, three assists) also had multi-goal games.
Kaidin Sheehan-Davies, Kaden Doughty and Declan Fitzpatrick all finished with a goal and a helper and Curtis Goode and Ethan Quinn contributed a goal apiece. Both Langley goalies saw action with Brayden Wandler allowing five goals on 24 shots before giving way to Troy Cuzzetto, who finished with 23 saves on 26 shots.
The Lakers’ Ethan M’Lot led his team with three goals and five points.
The win was a second straight victory for Langley, as they fell behind 5-0 on Sunday in Victoria in what became a 17-10 loss to the first-place Shamrocks before again facing a 5-0 deficit on Tuesday in New Westminster only to rally and recover for the 15-11 win.
In the junior Thunder’s last five periods, they have now scored 42 goals while surrendering just 14 in that same span.
Langley has two games remaining in the regular season and can finish anywhere from first to fourth.
First up is a road game in Coquitlam versus the Adanacs on Wednesday, June 29 before they host the Delta Islanders at Langley Events Centre on Thursday, June 30 at 7:30 p.m.
The Adanacs beat the Thunder 13-10 back on June 2 while the Islanders scored 16 in a 19-16 Langley victory back in the season’s first game.
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