Crucial week as Thunder look to salvage season

by Gary Ahuja

The odds may be stacked against them, but any hopes the Langley Thunder have of at least remaining in the conversation for a Western Lacrosse Association playoff berth need to include some victories now.

The injury-plagued Senior A lacrosse club went a disappointing 2-7 in the first half of the 18-game WLA season.

They kick off the second half of the season with a pair of games (in a span of three days) against the two teams directly ahead of them in the standings, Victoria and Nanaimo, with eight points apiece respectively. And who knows, perhaps a pair of victories could be just the spark to ignite a second-half turnaround for the Thunder.

First up comes a home game on Wednesday (June 26) as the Thunder welcome the Nanaimo Timbermen to Langley Events Centre at 7 p.m. That will be followed by a trip to the provincial capital on Friday (June 28) to face the Shamrocks.

What has plagued the team in their first nine games is a pop-gun offence (7.67 goals per game, sixth in the league) that hasn’t proven to possess the ability to come up with key goals in response to their opponents’ ability to string together lengthy scoring runs.

In Langley’s seven losses, they have allowed the opposition to rattle off scoring runs ranging from 4-0 all the way to 10-0 in each of those games.

Combined all together and it turns out to be a 41-0 run over a span of 104:52 of game action, which is just a shade under 20 per cent of the season’s total minutes. As for the other 80 per cent of the game action (435:08), Langley has outscored their opponent by eight goals, 69-61.

Now obviously, it is not as black and white as clean up those lengthy scoring droughts and all would be well in Thunder Nation, but it would be a great start to righting the ship.

“This is Senior A lacrosse, you have to execute,” head coach Rod Jensen said following their home loss to Coquitlam last week, one which saw them unable to hold a 7-6 lead in the third period, as the offence dried up and the Adanacs tallied the final four goals (two of them into an empty net) for the 10-7 victory.

“I know these games are tight, but we didn’t change it up,” he added. “The goalie had a good look at the ball, we didn’t use diversity or creativity and hence we got in a rut. And if you don’t score in five or ten (minutes), you start to press.

“We weren’t shooting the ball very well (and) we weren’t moving very well. We made our own bed.”

One bright spot has been the play of second year forward Connor Robinson, who sits fourth in league scoring with 32 points. That includes 15 goals (and a league-best nine power-play goals) as Robinson has upped his shooting percentage from .177 as a rookie to .203 through nine games. He has also developed some great chemistry with fellow lefty Dane Dobbie, who sits second on the team with 19 points, despite playing just four games.

Goaltender Steve Fryer also continues to stand tall in goal, as he is fifth in total saves (258) and fourth in save percentage (.832).


For more information:

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