Langley Thunder’s Brendan Mykle-Winkler fires a shot on New Westminster goaltender Eric Penney during the Thunder’s WLA season opener at the Langley Events Centre on May 27. The visiting Salmonbellies won 6-5.

Langley Thunder’s Brendan Mykle-Winkler fires a shot on New Westminster goaltender Eric Penney during the Thunder’s WLA season opener at the Langley Events Centre on May 27. The visiting Salmonbellies won 6-5.

Thunder silenced in home opener

Langley rally falls short, lose 6-5 in Western Lacrosse Association season opener

The Langley Thunder showed some early season rust as they dropped their Western Lacrosse Association opener 6-5.

The Thunder were hosting the New Westminster Salmonbellies at the Langley Events Centre on Wednesday (May 27) night but ran into a hot goaltender as rookie Eric Penney made 41 saves in his WLA debut.

“We had some good chances but Penney made some great saves,”  said Thunder coach Rod Jensen.

“We didn’t capitalize on our opportunities,” said Langley captain Matt Leveque.

“There was a little bit of rust and the chemistry is not quite there yet but it will come.”

New Westminster scored the game’s first two goals and were up 3-1 in the first period.

Langley’s Jacob Ruest cut it to 3-2 late in the first and Pat Saunders tied the score at three early in the second.

The Salmonbellies answered with three straight goals before Steve Hinek made it 6-4 after 40 minutes.

The third period was a defensive battle with the only goal coming off the stick of Alex Turner with less than two minutes to play.

Langley was plagued by too many turnovers.

“We turned the ball over a lot in the second period and they capitalized on it,” Jensen said.

“It was one of those nights where the unforced errors hurt us.”

Saunders led the team with a goal and three assists while Joel McCready chipped in two assists. Rookie Anthony Malcom had opened the scoring for Langley.

The Salmonbellies were led by Keegan Bal (one goal, two assists) and Logan Schuss (three assists).

The Thunder hit the road for two games — May 30 in Coquitlam and June 2 in Burnaby — before hosting Coquitlam at the LEC on June 3.

Langley Times