Game Preview: Thunder vs. Timbermen

by Gary Ahuja

The Langley Thunder are back on Vancouver Island for a second week in a row, this time for a rematch of the 2022 Western Lacrosse Association Finals against the Nanaimo Timbermen.

The Thunder (2-1) and Timbermen (1-1) will renew hostilities on Saturday, June 3 at Frank Crane Arena with a 5:00pm start time.


It is the first of three meetings between the two teams with Nanaimo with Langley winning the season series in 2022 two games to one before taking the WLA Finals in five games.

The Thunder are 2-0 at home but lost their only road contest, falling a goal short 12-11 in Victoria on May 26 while Saturday’s contest will be the Timbermen’s home opener.

In Langley’s most recent game, Tristan Kirkham (3+0) and Curtis Dickson (3+2) each scored hat tricks and Frank Scigliano made 50 saves as the Thunder were outshot 57-50. The Timbermen are coming off a 15-10 win in Coquitlam over the Adanacs with Zach Manns scoring five times and finishing with eight points while Taggart Clark had a pair of goals and seven points. Justin Geddie made 30 saves in the Nanaimo net.

The Thunder enter the game averaging a league-best 13.3 goals per game and are second among the seven WLA teams allowing 8.0 goals. Nanaimo’s offence has scored 10.5 goals and allowed 12.5 through the first two contests.

Offensively, the usual suspects – Dickson, Dane Dobbie and Robert Church – find themselves at the top of the scoring race with 20, 19 and 18 points, respectively, with Dobbie’s 10 goals and Dickson’s 14 assists also leading the WLA.

But the Thunder are also receiving contributions from a pair of rookies as Jake Bowen (5+3) and Kirkham (5+1) have come through with secondary scoring. Each is shooting at a high percentage: .357 for Bowen and .333 for Kirkham.

Manns (7+5) and Clark (4+6) lead the Timbermen in scoring, and both have been highly efficient with Clark posting a .444 shooting percentage and Manns at .368.

In goal, Scigliano has won both his starts and sports a 5.44 goals against and .901 save percentage. Geddie has played both games for Nanaimo with a 12.55 GAA and .722 save percentage.

In terms of face-offs, Nathan Bell has been dominant in the circle with a 29-10 mark (.744) while David Byrne has taken all but one face-off for Nanaimo, going 31-21 (.596) in the process.

On special teams, Nanaimo has scored on half their power-play chances, going 2-for-4 while Langley has a lower percentage (.385) but has more goals with five on 13 chances. Langley has the advantage in terms of penalty kill, allowing four goals on a dozen opportunities, a .667 success rate. The Timbermen have allowed six goals on eight chances when short-handed, a .250 kill rate. The Thunder also have three short-handed goals to Nanaimo’s one.