Game Preview: Thunder vs. Salmonbellies

by Gary Ahuja

The Langley Thunder will look to return to the win column as they are back in the friendly confines of Langley Events Centre.

The Thunder (1-1) are back in action at LEC as they welcome the New Westminster Salmonbellies tonight (May 31) at 7:30pm. It is the first of three meetings between the Western Lacrosse Association clubs.

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Langley was dominant in their home opener the previous week, delivering a decisive 20-5 win over the Burnaby Lakers. But the Thunder could not string together successive victories as they travelled to the provincial capital two days later, coming up a goal short in a 12-11 loss to the Victoria Shamrocks.

Langley and Victoria were tied at six through 40 minutes before the Shamrocks scored three times in a span of 1:32 to pull ahead 10-7. The Thunder did answer with a 4-1 spurt of their own to level the game with just over five minutes to play before the Shamrocks scored with 1:09 to play to earn the two points.

Curtis Dickson led Langley with two goals and eight points while Dane Dobbie (4+3) and Robert Church (3+3) also had huge games. Goaltender Kyle Mooney stopped 40 of 52 shots.

Through two games this season, the Thunder ‘Big 3’ each have 15 points on the season (tops in the WLA) with Dobbie scoring a league-best 10 goals and Dickson’s dozen assists also tops in the league. Goaltender Frank Scigliano – who played the first two periods of Langley’s season opener – has a league-best .941 save percentage.

The Salmonbellies will hit the road for the first time this WLA season. In the team’s only game so far, they were 15-6 winners at home over the Nanaimo Timbermen as they built a 7-3 lead after a period and never looked back. Kevin Crowley led the way for the Bellies with a four-goal, eight-point effort while Cam MacLeod stopped 34 of 40 shots.

Both Langley and New Westminster enter the game with power plays operating at an 80 percent efficiency rate with each having scored on four of their five opportunities. On the flip side, the Thunder penalty kill has allowed just two goals on six chances (.667) while the Salmonbellies have allowed two goals on four chances (.500). Langley has also scored a pair of short-handed goals.