Game 4 recap: Scanlan the OT hero as Thunder even series at two

by Gary Ahuja

Dylan Kinnear makes a diving attempt to score past New Westminster's Zach Higgins during first-period action of Game 4 of the Western Lacrosse Association Finals at Langley Events Centre on August 22. Kinnear was denied on this play but did come up with a huge goal during overtime as the Thunder won 6-5 to even the best-of-seven series at two games apiece. Ryan Molag LEC photo

For the second straight game overtime was needed; but this time it was the Langley Thunder emerging victorious thanks to a 6-5 win, evening the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

The Thunder held off the New Westminster Salmonbellies on Tuesday night at Langley Events Centre in Game 4 of the best-of-seven series with Chase Scanlan’s goal at 8:58 of the 10-minute overtime period serving as the winner.

“I have to give credit to my teammates for getting me open,” Scanlan said, referencing Nathaniel Kozevnikov setting a nice seal which gave him the open space. “I just saw a perfect lane to take that shot far side and found my spot.”

New Westminster forced the extra period when Will Malcom scored with less than 18 seconds to play, tying the game at four. Kevin Crowley then gave the Bellies their first lead of the night at the 1:24 mark of overtime before Dylan Kinnear scored at 5:18, setting the stage for Scanlan’s heroics.

In Game 3 two nights earlier, the Thunder tied the game with less than two seconds to play and then took an early lead before New Westminster tied the score and then won the game in sudden-death overtime winner.

“We did that last game, and the message was they came back and beat us; it is our turn to do that,” said Langley coach Curt Malawsky about the message to his players as they awaited the overtime period.

“You can drag your lip around and pout about what happened and some of the goals, but you man up and play for the guy next to you. Keep grinding forward for the next 10 minutes and that is what the guys did, and we got the result.”

“That is just old-fashioned heart; a team that is not willing to quit. They just want to keep battling,” he added.

Goals were hard to come by in Game 4 with Clay Scanlan – the game’s third star -- the only player to score more than once as he tallied twice to lead the Thunder. Chase Scanlan, Connor Robinson and Dane Dobbie each finished with a goal and an assist with Kinnear scoring the other goal. Curtis Dickson and Robert Church both finished with three assists.

In goal, Frank Scigliano was the first star following a 41-save performance. His counterpart, Zach Higgins was the second star with 40 saves. Crowley, Keegan Bal and Haiden Dickson each scored once and set up a goal with Malcom and Brett Mydske chipping in with a goal apiece.

Game 5 of the series is set for Thursday (August 24) at New Westminster’s Queen’s Park Arena before one of the teams will have a chance to clinch the WLA championship on Saturday (August 26) back at Langley Events Centre. Both games begin at 7:30pm.

Malawsky said the teams will rest, watch film and make the necessary adjustments as they both vie for the WLA title.

“It has been a heck of a series, great for BC Lacrosse and the WLA. I liked how it was refereed and I liked the great crowd. It is two great evenly matched teams and should be an exciting best-of-three,” he said.