The Langley Thunder did a lot of things well on Wednesday night, but just couldn’t do enough to secure the two points. Thankfully, the team did manage to put one point in the bank as they jockey for a playoff position.
Playing the Nanaimo Timbermen in the back-end of a home-and-home series at Langley Events Centre, the two teams could not determine a winner, settling for a 10-10 tie after both scored twice in the 10-minute overtime period.
Langley sits at 2-5-1 with the tie while Nanaimo is 3-5-1 and holding down the fourth and final Western Lacrosse Association playoff spot as the season nears the midway point of the 18-game regular season.
“I have a bit of a sour taste in my mouth but a lot of good things to build on,” said Langley coach Rod Jensen, in a press release. “I thought it was the most consistent game for our goaltending and our defence for the season. We played three periods.”
“I thought we played well, it is just unfortunate we didn’t get over the top.”
Langley was coming off a 16-13 loss on Sunday to the Timbermen but the Thunder trailed for just a combined 3:09 in the rematch, leading for much of the contest.
The teams were tied at three after one period but in the second — a period which has largely been a disaster for the Thunder — Langley was up 7-4 after 40 minutes. Tyler Pace made it 8-4 with his third of the game at the 8:48 mark but that marked the Thunder’s only goal over the final 31 minutes of regulation.
“They are a physical team, they are young and bang bodies and I think that took a little bit out of our sting,” Jensen said, adding the offence seemed to continue trying to go five-hole on Nanaimo goaltender Charles Claxton, after some early success.
And by not putting their opponent away, the Timbermen seized the opportunity, scoring three times in the final 8:17 to force overtime. Each team scored twice in the extra period, with Dane Dobbie scoring first and last for the Thunder while Chase Fraser and Brandon Smith replying for the visitors.
Langley scored 10 goals on 70 shots, averaging a shot a minute over the course of the game.
“Hats off to the goalie, he made some good saves, and hats off to us, even when we were down one, we competed and got the goal and almost got the winner with Pace there,” Jensen said, referencing a good look Pace got at the net in the dying seconds of regulation.
Pace had a game-high 13 shots, scoring three times.
“Their goalie played well and their defence tightened up. Both teams knew the significance of this game was and it was just a tight battle through. It was just a good lacrosse game,” Pace said.
Tyler Richards got the start in goal for Langley, finishing with 48 saves on 58 shots.
Dobbie led the Thunder, finishing with three goals and seven points, while Garrett Billings had four assists. Johnny Pearson (one goal, three assists), Cole Shafer (one goal, two assists) and JP Kealey (one goal, one assist) also had multi-point games. Reece Callies rounded out the scoring.
Nanaimo was led by two goals from Cam Wengreniuk and three assists from Colton Clark.
Langley faces back-to-back road games this weekend, Saturday in Coquitlam and Sunday vs. Maple Ridge. And Pace knows the team needs to string together some victories, and not just moral victories.
“We are here to win and we are just not getting it done right now. We have to sharpen up and figure it out,” he said.
That’s not to say they can’t or won’t get it done.
“We are starting to come together. It is nice when you have some of the veterans like Dobbie and Billings in the line-up. They have that experience and leadership, so the young guys follow suit. We are all adjusting, a lot of rookies, second year guys, but we will get there,” Pace said.