Lakers' late surge silences Thunder win streak

by Gary Ahuja

Langley Thunder's Dylan Kinnear had a goal and four assists in his team's most recent game, an 11-8 setback to the Burnaby Lakers on July 12 at Bill Copeland Arena. Garrett James Langley Events Centre file photo

For nearly 52 minutes, the Langley Thunder were neck-and-neck with the Burnaby Lakers, the teams knotted at seven goals apiece.

But 97 seconds changed all that as the Lakers, with a whole lot more at stake than the playing for pride Thunder, scored three times in that short span to take the lead for good, winning 11-8 on Friday night at Burnaby’s Bill Copeland Arena.

Vinny Ricci broke the tie and Robert Church scored twice to complete his hat trick, finishing with seven points overall, as the Lakers earned the crucial victory as they battle for one of the four Western Lacrosse Association playoff berths up for grabs.

The Thunder fell to 4-11 with three games remaining.

Entering play on Sunday night, Burnaby is tied with both Maple Ridge and Nanaimo as all three have 18 points. Right behind are Victoria and New Westminster with 16 points apiece. One of those five will join Langley and Coquitlam when the WLA post-season begins in late July/early August.

In Friday’s contest, Langley – in search of a third-straight victory – led 2-0 thanks to goals from Keegan Bell and Dylan Kinnear. The Thunder defence held strong for three quarters of that first period before the Lakers were finally able to solve goaltender Steve Fryer, scoring four times in the final 5:06 of the frame for the 4-2 lead.

The second period again saw the goaltenders steal the show for the first 13 minutes and change. But Brodie Gillespie’s goal for the Thunder set off a back-and-forth between the two teams with Langley scoring three times and the Lakers twice, making it 6-5 Burnaby with a period to play.

The lead did not last long however, as Andrew Garant scored for the Thunder with Burnaby’s Jared Pozzobon scoring in between to make it 7-7 at the 3:18 mark of the final frame. And after the Lakers scored their three goals in quick succession, the goals dried up temporarily before Brad McCulley finally got one back for the Langley visitors, making it 10-8 with 3:28 to play.

The game’s final goal, however, belonged to the Lakers, as Brandon Clelland scored into the empty net.

Kinnear earned third-star honours with a goal and five points for Langley while Garant and McCulley each had a pair of goals and three points. Former Laker Brodie Gillespie also scored twice against his old squad while Coady Adamson (also picked up in the trade with Burnaby for Clelland) chipped in with three assists. Bell had a goal and one assist.

The Lakers were led by matching three-goal, four-assist nights from Church and Dane Stevens, who also earned first and second star honours, respectively, for their efforts.

Steve Fryer was solid once again in goal for Langley, stopping 50 of 60 shots as the Lakers outshot Langley 61-43.

The Thunder are off until Saturday (July 20) when they travel to Nanaimo to battle the Timbermen.

The team also visits Maple Ridge on July 23 before returning home on July 24 for their finale against the New Westminster Salmonbellies. Langley will wear special jerseys that night which will be auctioned off with proceeds benefiting the Tessa Beauchamp Foundation. Bidding is now open for the jerseys.


For more information:

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