Riley Richardson may have come up with the stops, but the goaltender was quick to credit his teammates.
Richardson stopped 35 of 39 shots as the Langley Junior B Thunder won a huge game with massive playoff implications, knocking off the visiting New Westminster Salmonbellies 9-5 in BC Junior B Tier 1 Lacrosse League action at Langley Events Centre on Tuesday night.
“The defence played well in front of me, kept everything to the outside and locked up their big shooters,” he said following the game. “It makes my job easier (when I can see the shots) and the defence was pounding down, pushing guys to the outside.
“Everyone was just firing tonight, working together as a group.”
The four goals allowed were a season-low for Langley.
“That was a tough game, New West put up a good fight,” Richardson said.
Richardson also improved his personal statistics to a .862 save percentage and a 6.55 goals against average, which rank him first and third, respectively, in those categories among all goaltenders.
The Thunder used a balanced attack, as Kyle Brunsch, Jordan Daniel and Chase Moore each had a pair of goals, while Josh Brunsch, Cal Slade and Aiden Ellis scored once apiece and Tristan Kirkham finished with three assists.
New West was led by a goal and two assists from Alex Nimmo.
The victory was a big one as it pulled Langley even with New Westminster in the standings as both teams sit at 9-9 with two games to play. But the Thunder won the season series 2-0, and that is the first tiebreaker.
Langley finishes the regular season with a home game on July 5 versus Burnaby and the following night in Ladner against Delta. The Thunder know they will be among the top eight who qualify for the playoffs, which open with a best-of-three quarter-final series.
But Richardson knows the team needs to break its season-long trend that has seen them only win back-to-back games once, primarily alternating victories and defeats.
“We have been back and forth (but) we just want to keep this up and get on a roll,” he said. “We want to get on a streak and keep it going.”