Langley Thunder’s Brad McCulley battled through a tough Coquitlam defence to finish with three goals and six points in his team’s 11-9 win on Wednesday at Langley Events Centre. (Gary Ahuja/Langley Events Centre)

Langley Thunder top Adanacs in WLA action

Next up: Thunder host the Victoria Shamrocks on Wednesday, July 10, at 7 p.m.

In a battle of teams playing for next year, it was the Langley Thunder prevailing over the visiting Coquitlam Adanacs.

Trailing 7-4 early in the second period after surrendering six straight goals (three in the final 4:00 of the first period and another trio in the opening 3:23 of the middle stanza), the Thunder were in danger of losing a sixth straight game.

Instead, a goaltending change solidified the back end and the offence found some life as they defeated the Adanacs 11-9 at Langley Events Centre on Wednesday night in Western Lacrosse Association.

Langley would score six of the next seven goals to close the second period for a 10-8 lead and then locked things down in the third as each team managed just a single goal. Steve Fryer finishing with 26 saves on 28 shots after entering the Thunder goal early in the second period.

Langley improved to 3-10 and Coquitlam sits at 2-9 as the season enters its final three weeks with both teams not quite mathematically, but virtually eliminated from the playoff race. Both teams traded away some of their top talent to stock up on draft picks with the players’ rights reverting to their original teams following this season.

“Fryer came in and got us grounded again and we started getting some good shots and some breaks and just rolled from there,” said Thunder head coach Rod Jensen.

“And it was good to see some of the offensive guys who have struggled to score (break out).”

Brad McCulley led the way with three goals and six points while Coady Adamson (two goals, one assist) and Andrew Garant (one goal, two assists) each finishing with three-point nights.

Aidan Milburn (one goal, one assist), Nathan McKeigan (two goals), Dylan Kinnear (one goal, one assist) and Mike Kaminski (one goal) rounded out the scoring with Cody Teichroeb and Markus Mattila chipping in a pair of assists apiece.

When all was said and done, 13 of the 18 players had at lease one point.

And the offence was overdue after playing hard the last two games but registering just a total of eight goals in a pair of losses, 8-5 in Victoria on June 28 and 8-3 in Maple Ridge on July 2. Both those squads are in the thick of the playoff race.

“The last three games we have really worked hard. We worked hard in Victoria, we worked hard in Maple Ridge and tonight we got a result,” Jensen said.

“Give our guys credit for battling. We have different players in the line-up every night. We are young.”

One of those young guys is McCulley, a WLA rookie, who is taking on a bigger than expected role earlier than anticipated following the trade of the team’s top three offensive weapons.

RECENT COVERAGE: Injury-plagued Thunder return to LEC to face the Shamrocks

“Everyone gets a different role and we all have to step up and play well, have a little more weight on our shoulders. I think it is awesome for the experience, I am excited for the opportunity and I think the other guys are as well,” he said.

McCulley had gone three games without a goal but now has five in his last three games, scoring once in Victoria on five shots, once in Maple Ridge on 10 shots and then three in the most recent game on nine shots.

“The shots just started going in, I think we were getting the bounces that we missed last night in Maple Ridge. We were getting rewarded for our hard work,” he said.

“Those bounces finally starting to pay off for our hard work.”

Despite the struggles when it comes to wins and losses, McCulley said he and the younger players are embracing the opportunity presenting itself.

“Everyone gets a different role and we all have to step up and play well, have a little more weight on our shoulders. I think it is awesome for the experience, I am excited for the opportunity and I think the other guys are as well,” he said.

“Obviously some stuff has not gone our way this year and not getting bounces. This team just keeps wanting to fight. We have a bunch of energy in the locker room and getting rewarded for it tonight was awesome.”

“We are giving these guys a chance to show their stuff and some of them are making their mark and are going to get another look come next year,” Jensen said about his roster, which included four Junior A call-ups for the game.

The Thunder are now off until next week, when they host the Victoria Shamrocks on Wednesday, July 10 with a special 7 p.m. start time.

Game notes:

McCulley was the first star while Fryer earned third star honours. Coquitlam’s Carter Dickson was second star after posting a goal and three assists.

The Adanacs were outshot 54-43 on the night.

Langley’s power play was 2-for-5 while Coquitlam was 1-for-2.

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