Spirited defensive effort helps Thunder stop A's

by Gary Ahuja

Dylan McIntosh had five goals and six points (and has 20 goals in his past four games) as the Langley Thunder rallied for a 9-6 victory on Thursday night at Langley Events Centre. Gary Ahuja Langley Events Centre photo

There is still work to be done – and help needed from other teams – but the Langley Thunder live to fight another day.

Knowing that one more loss will virtually eliminate any hopes of a post-season berth, the Thunder kept their playoff hopes alive with an inspiring 9-6 victory over the Coquitlam Adanacs on Thursday night at Langley Events Centre.

Even more impressive was the fact the Thunder – who trailed 2-0 2:22 into the game and were down 4-1 following the first period – were able to hold the top team in the BC Junior A Lacrosse League to just a pair of goals over the final 40 minutes.

And with the defence challenging the Coquitlam shooters all game and goaltender Torin Van Rheenen coming up with clutch stops (he finished with 37 saves), the Thunder continued to flex their offensive arsenal.

Dylan McIntosh led the way on Thursday with five goals and six points and he now has four or more goals in four consecutive games, including a dozen in just the past two. Clark Walter (one goal, four assists), Carson Rees (two goals, two assists) and Trevayne Hunter (one goal, one assist) rounded out the attack with Ryan Martel and Caleb Pearson serving the role of playmakers in the game, finishing with four and three assists, respectively.

Thomas Semple led the Adanacs with two goals and a helper while Braydon Cresswell chipped in with three assists and Colin Munro had a goal and an assist.

Nate Faccin made 46 saves before giving way to Cam McLeod for the final 8:38 with the back-up stopping all three shots he faced.

Down three goals after the opening period, the Thunder cut the deficit to 5-4 after 40 minutes and then scored four straight in a span of 6:49 midway through the final frame.

Langley improved to 11-8 with two games remaining in the regular season and while they are just two points back of second place and tied for third, they are also just a pair of points ahead of the fifth-place Nanaimo Timbermen, who have three games in hand. Both Victoria (24 points, four games to go) and New Westminster (22 points, five games to go) also possess games in hand. Coquitlam sits atop the standings at 14-4.

But all the Thunder can focus on is winning their own games and then seeing what transpires on the out-of-town scoreboard.

“Right now, the guys are just putting the work boots on before every game and practice. We are just coming in with nothing to lose, so put it all on the line and give it our all,” said captain Anthony Kalinich on the team’s mindset, knowing they are facing tough odds to qualify for the post-season.

The six goals Coquitlam scored matched a season-low for the Adanacs. They also entered the game allowing a league-low 6.47 goals per game while boasting a league-best +73 goal differential.

“We knew they were going to come out hot in the first period and get a couple of quick ones on us. But we just put it behind us and started from scratch,” Kalinich said of the team’s mindset as they entered the locker room trailing 4-1 after the first period.

But from that point on, the Thunder settled things down defensively while the offence found its rhythm.

“We have been preaching a lot and everyone has been on the same page. The communication has always been a key part of the defence. The focus was there and that was a big part of it,” he said.

“It is good to know we can bust down the floor and get the ball to our O guys and they are going to be capable to put the ball in the net, several times over.

“I think we do best when we run numbers of the back end and really push. We have a bunch of athletic guys on the front end and the back end, so we just have to stick with it and run with the horses.”

The Thunder now rest up and wait for their next game, which is not until next week (July 4) as they host the Delta Islanders at Langley Events Centre. That is followed by another home game to close the regular season, July 7 against New Westminster. Langley is 8-1 at home this season.


For more information:

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