The Nanaimo Timbermen had the hot hand in their home opener.
The city’s senior A Western Lacrosse Association team came up with a convincing 12-5 win against the Langley Thunder on Sunday night at Frank Crane Arena.
The game was 4-3 for Nanaimo midway through, and then the T-men scored three straight short-handed goals to take control.
“Even though we got into trouble, our short man played strong, our chasers and our raggers played good, our goaltender played great,” said Kaleb Toth, Timbermen coach. “And then when we got the power play, we put the ball in the net.”
Nanaimo was the better team in all facets, as Pete Dubenski was tough to beat in goal, the defence was physical, the offence was on target and the T-men were better on faceoffs and loose balls, too.
“I just like how we frustrated their defence,” said Chase Fraser, T-men forward. “We forechecked and then we got the balls and capitalized on our opportunities and didn’t let them get out of their zone.”
Brody Eastwood, T-men captain, said the key to success offensively was straightforward.
“We were getting in front and we were shooting where it was open,” he said.
Toth liked the offensive flow.
“It wasn’t just dying in someone’s stick. Everyone was moving the ball, everyone was cutting, we were finding people that were open, we weren’t just looking them off,” he said.
The defence, Toth said, was not only physical, but also positionally sound and guys were smart with double teams and help. He called it “probably one of the best” defensive games he’s seen from the Timbermen in a long time.
“This is what we know this team could do,” Dubenski said. “And we’re still missing a few key guys, but with this core of guys, the young talent we have, I think we have a real chance to push some teams pretty hard this year.”
Eastwood said Sunday’s win means a lot in such a tight league.
“Every two points is a big one and we were pretty excited afterward,” he said. “So I think it will be good, it’ll get us into next week and I can’t wait for next Friday.”
The rookie Fraser had a stat line to remember in his first WLA home game with a hat trick, five points, a fight, nine penalty minutes and 10 of 16 faceoff wins. Colton Clark had two goals and four assists and Eastwood and Jordan Cunningham had two goals apiece. Jordan Getz tallied a goal and three helpers and Tyson Roe and Conrad Chapman scored one each.
Dubenski made 33 saves for the win.
Three nights earlier, the T-men fell 12-7 to the New Westminster Salmonbellies on the road. Eastwood scored four goals in that one and Clark had four assists. Matt Benedict, Fraser and Jon Phillips were other scorers.
GAME ON … The Timbermen visit the Burnaby Lakers on Friday (June 2). Nanaimo’s next home game isn’t until June 10.