Langley Thunder are a victory away from a Western Lacrosse Association championship.
The Thunder needed overtime but prevailed 12-11 following the 10-minute extra period over the visiting Nanaimo Timbermen on Tuesday night, Aug. 23, at Langley Events Centre in game three of the WLA Finals as they lead 3-0 in the best-of-seven series.
Langley led 10-8 with under four minutes remaining but Taggart Clark struck on the power play and 21 seconds later Will Johansen tallied the equalizer as the Timbermen forced overtime. But Dane Dobbie tallied his third of the night at 3:31 of the 10-minute overtime period and 34 seconds later he set up Dylan Kinnear for what turned out to be the game-winning goal. It was Dobbie’s ninth point of the game as he leads all playoff scorers with 55 points in eight games.
Clark would pull the Timbermen back within a goal, but it came with just eight seconds remaining and Nanaimo was unable to get a shot on goal.
“That is a prototypical playoff game there. We didn’t make it easy on ourselves; I thought we were a little sloppy on both ends of the floor, but when you can not play your best and still win games, that is a testament to our depth and our perseverance here as a team,” said Langley’s Curtis Dickson, the game’s second star with a hat trick and six points.
“Happy with the outcome; not the way we wanted it to happen, but a win is a win at the end of the day.”
Langley led 3-2 after a period before Nanaimo took an 8-7 lead into the dressing room after 40 minutes.
“Our team has always been ‘what’s next’ and we able to push forward in overtime,” said the Thunder’s Cal Slade, part of a defensive unit which clamped down over those final 30 minutes where Nanaimo would only score three goals after striking for eight in the first 40.
“We regrouped and made some adjustments. Frankie (Scigliano) has been our wall all season and he stepped up big, but I think as a unit, the back-end played really well in the third and in overtime.”
Dobbie (three goals, six assists) and Dickson (three goals, three assists) were the first two stars while Nanaimo goaltender Charles Claxton – who was making his first start of the playoffs – was third star with 51 saves as Langley outshot the Timbermen 63-55.
Other top scorers for Langley included Connor Robinson (two goals, three assists) and Kinnear (two goals, one assist) who both had multi-goal games while defender Keegan Bell scored a goal for the fourth straight game. Robert Church also made his return to the lineup with a goal and two assists.
Frank Scigliano finished with 44 saves while his counterpart Charles Claxton made his first start of the playoffs and was the third star following a 51-save performance as his team was outshot 63-55.
Langley’s first chance to clinch the series and the championship comes on Thursday at Nanaimo’s Frank Crane Arena.
“It is not an easy place to play, as you saw last game, we squeaked one out there. It is a tough travel day. We don’t want them to extend this thing; we want to try and end this in four in Nanaimo. We know we are just going to have to as cliché as it sounds, take it a shift at a time, a period at a time and grind it out. We know it is not going to be easy, but we are looking to come out of there with the win,” Dickson said of the challenge awaiting the team.
Should the Timbermen extend the series, game five would be back at Langley Events Centre on Saturday, Aug. 27 with a 7 p.m. start time.
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