Billings back with Thunder
Rather than judge his team game-by-game, head coach Rod Jensen is taking a bigger picture approach, breaking the season down to three six-game segments.
And the first of those three segments wraps up on Wednesday (June 13) night following the Langley Thunder’s game against the visiting Coquitlam Adanacs at Langley Events Centre.
Both senior A squads sit at 1-4 in the Western Lacrosse Association standings as the season nears the one-third mark.
At the one end of the floor, the Thunder have acquitted themselves nicely, ranking third in goals per game at 10 while also boasting the league’s most efficient power play, clicking at 52.38 per cent. Those numbers are compared to the league averages of 9.42 and 39.97 per cent.
JP Kealey continues to shine, leading the Thunder with a dozen goals and 21 points in five games. Tyler Pace (nine goals, 10 assists) and Connor Robinson (five goals, 13 assists) to give the team three top-offensive options among the top 11 in league scoring.
And the offensive is getting a key boost as Garrett Billings makes his return to the WLA after a five-year absence. Billings was a part of the Thunder teams from 2008 to 2013. In his two full seasons – 2009 and 2010 – Billings scored 64 goals and 140 points in just 28 games. For his 42-game WLA career, the 32-year-old has 79 goals and 196 points.
It’s on the defensive side where the young Thunder squad have been exposed, allowing 13.2 goals against (league average 9.42) and penalty kill (53.85 per cent vs. 62.02 for the rest of the league).
And in all four losses, it has been a common theme: the opposition’s offensive weapons erupting for massive games.
The frustrating part from the coaches’ perspective is the fact the defenders are not making the necessary in-game adjustments.
“We need to gamble, send someone over, take some chances,” Jensen said last week. “If we get beat fair enough, but don’t get beat the same way.”
For more information:
Gary Ahuja, Langley Events Centre, 604.613.5242 (cell), 604.455.8830 (office) or email.