Abbott, Brunsch remaining with Thunder

by Gary Ahuja

Following standout junior careers with the Langley Thunder Junior A program, Matt Abbott and Kyle Brunsch are remaining with the organization as the Senior A Thunder program has opted to use their territorial protection picks to keep the duo in Langley uniforms.

With the Western Lacrosse Association holding its Graduating Junior Draft on January 31, each of the seven Senior A squads was permitted to protect two players from their respective junior programs.

“We are thrilled to keep both Matt and Kyle in the Langley Thunder organization. Kyle is a proven dynamic goal scorer while Matt was the top face-off guy in the BCJALL and both will fit in perfectly with the core we have established at the senior level,” said Rob Buchan, the Senior Thunder general manager.

Both Abbott and Brunsch were integral parts of a Langley squad which advanced to the BC Junior A Lacrosse League finals for the first time in Thunder program history. Each player was also recognized with a major award as Abbott received the Al Boles Award for Most Inspirational Player while Brunsch was the recipient of the John Urban Award for Top Graduating Player.

Brunsch, a right-handed forward from Langley, led the Thunder with 34 goals and was second with 54 points, in 14 games. He followed that up with 32 goals and 50 points in 11 playoff games. His 32 goals were 10 more than any other player.

Abbott, who is from Mission, was dynamic at the face-off dot with a .616 winning percentage (175-106) while adding five goals and nine points in 14 games. He was also a key part of the Thunder defence. He was also 134-97 (.580) on face-offs in the playoffs with four goals and six points in 11 games.

Abbott already has significant experience at the Senior A level as he joined Langley for the WLA Finals and the team’s subsequent appearance at the Mann Cup. He played six games in the WLA playoffs and was 70-60 in the face-off circle with three goals and seven points and then adding five assists in six games at the Mann Cup championships.

The Maple Ridge Burrards have opted to select Drew Andre and Isaac Ngyou while the New Westminster Salmonbellies are keeping Noah Armitage and Ben Stewart. Ngyou played his entire Junior career with the Thunder while the other three were deadline pick-ups who helped Langley on their post-season run.

Other territorial protection picks included: Patrick Dodds and Casey Wilson (Victoria Shamrocks), Justin Geddie and Ryan Sheridan (Nanaimo Timbermen) and Adam Noakes and Nick Musso (Coquitlam Adanacs).