Thunder take season series over Shamrocks

by Gary Ahuja

A dozen goals split evenly in a pair of first and third-period runs was more than enough offence for the Langley Thunder on Sunday afternoon.

The Thunder spotted the visiting Victoria Shamrocks a 2-0 lead in the early going of the teams’ BC Junior A Lacrosse League clash at Langley Events Centre before flexing their offensive muscles with six unanswered goals in less than three minutes.

And even after the Shamrocks clawed their way back in the game with the only four goals of the middle frame, Langley again showed their propensity for the quick strike offence, thanks to a pair of Ryan Martel power-play goals 65 seconds apart.

The goals sparked another 6-0 Langley run and proved to be the difference as the Thunder won 12-7, improving to 6-1 as they hit the one-third mark of their 21-game season.

“Lacrosse is a game of runs and we went on two-six goal runs,” said Thunder head coach Dane Dobbie. “We just have to try and limit the oppositions. Victoria went on a four-goal run and we want to keep that to as minimal as possible and try and answer back to stop their runs.”

Following Martel’s goals – his third and fourth of the game – Trevayne Hunter notched his second (also with the man advantage) before Kyle Nichols, Matthew Abbott and Nick Scott added a goal apiece. All three came in transition with Victoria trying to cut into the deficit and when all was said and done Langley had scored six times in a span of 12:28.

Combined with their first-period surge, the Thunder struck for their dozen goals in 15:27.

“I thought we played two solid periods tonight and fortunately came out with the win,” Dobbie said.

The victory avenges Langley’s lone loss, a 13-8 defeat to the Shamrocks eight days prior in Victoria.

And just as important as the two points, the Thunder won the season series 2-1 over Victoria, which is critical should the teams finish the regular season tied. Victoria sits third in the league with a 4-3 record.

Martel led the offence with four goals and a pair of helpers, while Hunter, a Tier 1 call-up for the game, continues to impress, notching two goals and five points. In five combined games with the two teams, Hunter has scored 15 goals and 23 points.

Abbott added a pair, while Nichols and Ty Ewen each had a goal and one assist. Nathan McKeigan and Connor Watson finished the game with three helpers apiece.

In goal, Torin Van Rheenen was solid once again, finishing with 46 saves as each team registered 53 shots on goal. He also had an assist, springing Abbott on a breakaway in the first period to get Langley on the board and he leads all BCJALL goaltenders with six assists.

Victoria’s Zach Manns – who leads the league in scoring with 39 points through seven games – was the lone Shamrock to beat Van Rheenen more than once, finishing with two goals and a helper. Jackson Boyd had one goal and two assists while Garrett Wicks, Aido Solomon, Ben Preston and Casey Wilson had a goal apiece.

“Victoria is a great team. They have some fantastic shooters and their goalies have played great against us the last two games,” Dobbie said referring to Langley’s next game, a road contest against the Salmonbellies on May 21. “It is great to win the season series, but we are moving on to New West on Tuesday and trying to get two points.”

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For more information:

Gary Ahuja, Langley Events Centre, 604.613.5242 (cell), 604.455.8830 (office) or email.