Senior B Nanaimo Timbermen players Graham Palmer, left, Andrew Miller and their teammates are ready to get the 2017 season started. The team opens the West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association campaign Saturday (May 6) with a home game against the Langley Warriors. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Senior B Nanaimo Timbermen players Graham Palmer, left, Andrew Miller and their teammates are ready to get the 2017 season started. The team opens the West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association campaign Saturday (May 6) with a home game against the Langley Warriors. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Senior B Timbermen looking strong for 2017

Nanaimo’s WCSLA club begins regular season Saturday (May 6) against the Langley Warriors

The senior B Timbermen know that a year from now, they need to be national-championship calibre. So they may as well get started.

Nanaimo’s West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association club, hosts of the 2018 Presidents’ Cup, begins its 2017 campaign this week with a home game Saturday (May 6) against the Langley Warriors.

“Things are looking pretty good,” said Mike Maughan, coach of the senior B T-men. “We’ve had some decent numbers early on and a good core of returning players and some young players that are looking to step into the roster. It should be interesting to see how we look this year.”

The Timbermen, after three straight trips to the Presidents’ Cup, were defeated by the Warriors in last year’s B.C. final. Nanaimo returns much of its core, bolstered by newcomers at all positions.

“We’ve been a strong team the last four or five years, so to have that core back, it always makes you feel good that you’re going to be a strong team no matter what,” Maughan said.

Jon Diplock, team captain, said the stability within the team gives it an edge heading into another season.

“We’ve worked together for a few years already, so it’s easy to start off right away and build on that,” he said.

The team chemistry helps at both ends of the floor, and should be evident in the offensive zone, Diplock said.

“Pretty much everyone on the floor can pass and catch and play ball and know what offence to do. Everyone has the same idea going onto the floor,” he said. “And we have a few talented guys that can make something out of nothing, so that’s always a plus.”

Some of the guys who will score goals this year include Corey Shires, who was the top scorer last year, along with Diplock, Andrew Miller and Travis Mickelson. Darrin Wilson, moving up from junior A, will be an immediate contributor. Joey Fendick and newcomer Josh Joseph will also add offence.

Some of the defensive guys, including transition defenders Shane Chalker and Cole Kryworuchka, will be able to chip in offensively. The defence includes a lot of veteran savvy from Simon Stocks, Aaron Vanderhorst, Graham Palmer and Bobby Debrone.

The T-men weren’t sure this off-season if goaltender Nick Patterson would be able to commit this year, but the vet recently confirmed that he will be able to contribute as often as he can. Conor Woroniuk and Matt Zeller will share the crease in the meantime. Danny Walters, recovering from injury, is also in the goaltending mix.

Maughan said he likes the idea of starting off against the defending champs and said there will be a lot of good games this season as he doesn’t think there’s much of a gap between any of the playoff-calibre teams.

“I’m confident and everybody here’s confident that we’re going to be, if not the team to beat, [then] right up there with the top teams,” the coach said.

Diplock said the team is hungry to try for another title this year and is looking forward to the first step, the home opener.

“It’s always exciting getting the jitters out and getting your blood flowing,” he said.

GAME ON … The senior B Timbermen host the Warriors on Saturday (May 6) at 6 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. Tickets will be available at the door, and fans can also purchase season tickets … The senior B Timbermen are seeking a public-address announcer for home games; for information, please e-mail shawn.swanson@shaw.ca.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo News Bulletin

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