Make it two losses in a row for the Langley Thunder Junior As following a five-game win streak to open the season.
The Thunder fell behind 5-2 after 20 minutes on Sunday afternoon at Langley Events Centre (LEC) and could never recover, losing 10-4 to the Nanaimo Timbermen in BC Junior A Lacrosse League action.
The defeat tightens up the standings as Langley and Victoria sit at 5-2 while Nanaimo and Coquitlam – who beat the Thunder on June 2 – are right behind at 4-2, said Langley coach Adam Smith.
“You have two teams that are nipping at our heels, and we lose to them back-to-back. That’s a tough week to end with, but it is what it is. Now we just have to learn from that,” Smith said.
“Nanaimo did a really good job today of keeping us on the outside and not letting us crash in the middle; and when we did, we weren’t seeing the passes and they had good shooters who scored good goals and that combination went in their favour.”
The teams traded goals to open the game before the Timbermen scored four of the next five to lead 5-2 following 20 minutes. Nanaimo tallied the only two goals of the middle period and then outscored Langley 3-2 in the final frame.
Drew Kask (one goal, two assists), Kyle Brunsch (one goal, one assist), Ben Gagnon (one goal, one assist), and Matt Abbott (one goal) provided the Thunder offence with Brayden Wandler stopping 34 of 44 shots.
At the other end of the floor, Justin Geddie was nearly unbeatable, finishing with a .925 save percentage as he stopped 49 of 53 shots. Ryan Sheridan (three goals, one assist), Jacob Dunbar (two goals, two assists) and Arthur Miller (two goals, one assist) led the Timbermen attack.
“We fought hard and played three periods, but it just wasn’t our day tonight,” said Abbott. “Nanaimo executed and did what they needed to do to beat us today.”
One difference in the last two games has been the fact the Thunder have been facing multi-goal deficits, something they did not encounter too often in their five-game winning streak to start the season.
“We haven’t really been down too much this season, so these last couple of games have been a lot of adversity for us to face,” Abbott said.
“It is a different experience. Especially for these young guys, getting that experience of playing down and then working our way back out of that hole is something that we are working on. As long as we take this game as a learning game, we shouldn’t have any problems.”
The Thunder now have several days off before their next game on Wednesday, June 15 in Burnaby against the Lakers and it kicks off a stretch of five games in nine days.
The team’s next home game at LEC is Thursday, June 16 (7:30 p.m.) vs. the Port Coquitlam Saints.
“We have teams that are hungry and nipping at our heels. We just need to clean up the little things that have been killing us,” Abbott said.
“Just that little fundamental stuff that we practise every week and working on our stick skills. I don’t think there is anything crazy we need to change; it is just executing at this point.”
Junior Tier 1 Thunder win third straight
It may have been Jack Margetson getting the glory on Tuesday night (June 7), but the captain was quick to deflect credit.
Margetson tallied five times – the first time he has ever scored that many at any level – as the Langley Thunder made it three wins in a row, defeating the Maple Ridge Burrards 10-5 in BC Junior Tier 1 Lacrosse League action at LEC.
“I have to give credit to my teammates – they were able to find me open and I was able to capitalize on their passes, so I appreciate that,” Margetson said.
For much of the first period on Tuesday, the Thunder offence was held at bay, finally breaking through to tie the score at one when Margetson scored with 2:08 to play.
Langley went into the locker room tied at one, despite outshooting Maple Ridge 21-7 as the Burrards’ Sam Paterson seemingly had an answer for each of their chances.
The second period was a different story, however, as Langley put up six goals on 23 shots in that period alone.
“We talked about it as an offence collectively in the dressing room and went over it and then just capitalized on our opportunities,” Margetson said.
The Thunder power play was a huge factor in the game, as each of the first four goals they scored in the game came with a Burrard in the penalty box, much to the delight of Thunder coach Darren Buchan.
“We are not going to play stupid lacrosse, we are going to play smart lacrosse and if they want to take penalties, we will score on the power play. It was nice for it to come through for us tonight,” he said.
Since starting the season 0-3, the Thunder have won seven of their past nine games and they sit at 7-5, good for fourth place in the standings with six games remaining in the regular season.
Buchan credits the defence – and the fact more players returned to the team these past few weeks – as credits for their success.
“Our defence has gotten a lot better. The last two games, we have only allowed five goals (in each game). And as our defence gets better, our offence starts to gel,” Buchan said. “Getting a few guys back, everyone is starting to get in sync, which is nice to see.”
While Margetson scored half his team’s goals, Kanen Hunter finished with a two goals and five points. Erik Forsselius and Liam Taillefer had the other goals and Bailey Vanichuk had three assists. Noah Kozevnikov made 24 saves, 13 of which came in the third period as the Burrards tried to claw their way back from a 7-3 deficit.
Cole Lowe and Noah Bradley scored two goals apiece for Maple Ridge.
Up next for the Thunder is a road game in Ladner against the Delta Islanders on June 10 before they host the Coquitlam Adanacs on Tuesday, June 14 (7:30 p.m.) at LEC.
In the meantime, Saturday’s Tier 1 game in Nanaimo on the weekend, Langley Thunder were again victorious.
Forsselius scored a hat trick as his team won for the fourth time in the past five games, defeating the Nanaimo Timbermen 8-5 on Saturday afternoon at the Frank Crane Arena.
The Thunder fell behind 3-0 10 minutes into the game but cut the deficit to one with goals from Hunter Wheaton and Jonathan Grywacheski to end the first period and then scored four straight to cap off a 6-0 run in the first 10:36 of the second period.
The Timbermen closed the middle frame with a pair of goals to make it a one-goal contest with 20 minutes to play before Noah Kozevnikov came up with 18 of his 42 saves in the third period alone.
Cooper Board and Forsselius had the only goals of the third period to ice the victory. Margetson and Hunter each finished with three assists while Grywacheski also had a pair of helpers for the three-point game.
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