Langley Thunder squash Salmonbellies in Game 1 of playoff series

In Game 1 of the BC Junior A Lacrosse League playoff series, Langley Thunder trampled the New West Salmonberries 26-2 Thursday at Langley Events Centre. (Gary Ahuja, Langley Events Centre/Special to Langley Advance Times)In Game 1 of the BC Junior A Lacrosse League playoff series, Langley Thunder trampled the New West Salmonberries 26-2 Thursday at Langley Events Centre. (Gary Ahuja, Langley Events Centre/Special to Langley Advance Times)
In Game 1 of the BC Junior A Lacrosse League playoff series, Langley Thunder trampled the New West Salmonberries 26-2 Thursday at Langley Events Centre. (Gary Ahuja, Langley Events Centre/Special to Langley Advance Times)In Game 1 of the BC Junior A Lacrosse League playoff series, Langley Thunder trampled the New West Salmonberries 26-2 Thursday at Langley Events Centre. (Gary Ahuja, Langley Events Centre/Special to Langley Advance Times)
In Game 1 of the BC Junior A Lacrosse League playoff series, Langley Thunder trampled the New West Salmonberries 26-2 Thursday at Langley Events Centre. (Gary Ahuja, Langley Events Centre/Special to Langley Advance Times)In Game 1 of the BC Junior A Lacrosse League playoff series, Langley Thunder trampled the New West Salmonberries 26-2 Thursday at Langley Events Centre. (Gary Ahuja, Langley Events Centre/Special to Langley Advance Times)
In Game 1 of the BC Junior A Lacrosse League playoff series, Langley Thunder trampled the New West Salmonberries 26-2 Thursday at Langley Events Centre. (Ryan Molag, Langley Events Centre/Special to Langley Advance Times)In Game 1 of the BC Junior A Lacrosse League playoff series, Langley Thunder trampled the New West Salmonberries 26-2 Thursday at Langley Events Centre. (Ryan Molag, Langley Events Centre/Special to Langley Advance Times)
In Game 1 of the BC Junior A Lacrosse League playoff series, Langley Thunder trampled the New West Salmonberries 26-2 Thursday at Langley Events Centre. (Ryan Molag, Langley Events Centre/Special to Langley Advance Times)In Game 1 of the BC Junior A Lacrosse League playoff series, Langley Thunder trampled the New West Salmonberries 26-2 Thursday at Langley Events Centre. (Ryan Molag, Langley Events Centre/Special to Langley Advance Times)

It was a dominant appearance for the Langley Thunder as they kicked off their post-season with a 26-2 victory over the New Westminster Salmonbellies.

The teams opened the BC Junior A Lacrosse League best-of-three playoff series on Thursday night at Langley Events Centre (LEC).

Game 2 goes Saturday, July 9, at 6 p.m. in New Westminster, and if necessary, Game 3 will be back at LEC on Sunday, July 10, 7:30 p.m.

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Game 1 was never in doubt, as Langley scored early and often with seven goals in the first 10 minutes and a commanding 10-0 lead after a period. They stretched the advantage to 18-0 after two periods.

There was lots to like from the Langley side of things against an undermanned New Westminster team, which only had 15 players compared to the Thunder’s 18, noted Langley coach Adam Smith.

“We wanted to focus on systems tonight and getting the ball moving,” said Smith, who was pleased his team received a balanced attack as seven players had five or more points on the night and nine players scored two or more goals.

“Tonight showed how successful we can be by spreading the ball and using each other and learning to work with each other,” the coach added.

Cody Malawsky (three goals, five assists) and Drew Kask (two goals, six assists) both had eight-point games, while Declan Fitzpatrick scored four times and finished with six points. Stuart Phillips (three goals, four assists), Kyle Brunsch (three goals, three assists), Kaden Doughty (three goals, two assists), and Benjamin Stewart (three goals) each had hat tricks. Tristan Kirkham (two goals, three assists), Graysen Balatti (two goals), and Matt Abbott (one goal) rounded out the Langley attack.

Brayden Wandler stopped all 14 shots he faced before giving way to Troy Cuzzetto, who finished with 17 saves on 19 shots.

Daniel Battistin and Noah Faria scored the New Westminster goals.

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