The offence may get the accolades on most nights, but it was the defence that came through on Wednesday night.
Nursing a two-goal lead with five minutes to play, the Langley Thunder were assessed a five-minute major penalty for an illegal equipment call on goaltender Frank Scigliano. And less than two minutes later, Reece Callies – one of the team’s top defensive players and a key penalty killer – received a five-minute major penalty, putting Langley down two men against the Burnaby Lakers.
A Lakers penalty shortly thereafter did knock it down to a one-man advantage, but Scigliano and the penalty kill delivered, keeping the Lakers offence from generating much in the way of chances as the Thunder held on for the 8-6 victory at Langley Events Centre.
The win evens Langley’s record to 4-4 in the Western Lacrosse Association while Burnaby dropped to 3-7.
“That is something we have been working on in practice, especially this week, being ready to do a lot of jump defence and get the offence really having to move the ball, so I think we executed that well. Everyone was on the same page on defence and I think it really showed in the end,” said Langley’s Tyler Sceviour, who played a big part in the penalty kill.
Langley led 4-3 after one period and were up 6-4 early in the second after Curtis Dickson and Erik Maas scored 15 seconds apart. Burnaby struck back for a pair of power-play goals before the period let out to even the score at six with a period to play.
Dickson potted what turned out to be the winning goal on a power play with just over nine minutes to play before Thomas Vaesen tacked on an insurance marker 66 seconds later.
“You go in with the mentality win the period, win the game. You grind it out in five minute segments at a time and we did a great job of that. The last five minutes was pretty tense … that was a huge kill to seal the game,” said Dickson, the game’s first star following a four-goal, six-point performance. “Frankie and the defence came up big and saved our butts at the end.”
Erik Maas also scored a pair of goals while Vaesen had a goal and two helpers and Connor Robinson – who was named Thunder captain earlier in the day – made his season debut and had a goal. Scigliano made 35 saves – including stopping all 11 shots he faced in the third period — for Langley while his counterpart Zak Boychuk finished with 40 saves.
Burnaby was led by four-point games from Toron Eccleston (three goals, one assist) and Laszlo Henning (one goal, three assists).
The victory snaps a three-game losing streak for Langley.
“Wins in this league are hard to come by. We have been on a bit of a downturn but at practice the coaches did a great job of getting prepared for this next game. Hitting the reset button and getting after it,” Sceviour said.
“On paper, we have a really great roster, but I don’t think we have showed this year a complete game – I still don’t think we have shown a complete game – but it is definitely good to get the win out there.”
The Thunder are back In action on Wednesday, July 6 (7:30 p.m.) as they host the Maple Ridge Burrards at Langley Events Centre. It will be the second meeting between the two teams as Langley won 13-12 in the season opener for both squads.
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