Robinson pots four as Thunder win sixth straight

by Gary Ahuja

Langley Thunder captain Connor Robinson scored four times as his team won 11-7 over the visiting Maple Ridge Burrards on June 21 at Langley Events Centre in Western Lacrosse Association action. Gary Ahuja LEC photo

It was a wire-to-wire win for the Langley Thunder as they closed out a sixth-straight victory.

The Thunder scored twice in the opening eight minutes and held the visiting Maple Ridge Burrards at bay for the rest of the Western Lacrosse Association contest, winning 11-7 on Wednesday night at Langley Events Centre. The win improved Langley to 7-1 on the season while the Burrards fell to 2-6-1.

Langley led 4-3 after the first period and after Maple Ridge tied the score 15 seconds into the middle stanza, the Thunder rattled off four unanswered goals, holding a multi-goal lead the rest of the way.

It made for victories on consecutive nights as the Thunder were also 10-9 winners the previous day in Coquitlam against the winless Adanacs (0-7).

Connor Robinson led Langley with four goals against Maple Ridge and was the game’s first star, while also registering five points the game before. He was one of three Langley players with matching two-goal, three-assist games, alongside Robert Church and Nathaniel Kozevnikov. Church was the third star on Tuesday and second star on Wednesday with four assists. Kozevnikov was the first star against the Adanacs and chipped in two more goals versus the Burrards.

This marked Kozevnikov’s first two WLA games since he was drafted in 2020 after a series of serious knee injuries cost him the past few seasons. The Langley product played his junior lacrosse at Langley Events Centre in the BC Junior A Lacrosse League and in 2019, he scored 21 goals in just seven games before tearing his ACL the first time.

“Just happy to be back healthy, playing again. This team makes it pretty easy out there, lots of space. It is a lot of fun and I am just happy to be back,” he said.

“Just remembering what it is like to be out there playing. There is nothing that makes me happier. I love playing the game: it is the medicine game, that is what they call it. This is just what I love to do so just glad to have that feeling back,” he said about what kept him going while he battled to regain his health.

In addition to Robinson’s four goals and Kozevnikov’s pair, Tristan Kirkham scored twice and Jake Bowen, Jacob Motiuk and Jake Boudreau had a goal apiece.

Frank Scigliano stopped 34 of 40 shots, before heading to the bench for the final 5:40 with Aden Walsh stopping seven of eight shots.

Garrett Winter led Maple Ridge with three goals and an assist while Kaden Doughty (the game’s third star) had two goals. Ryan Jones (1+1) and Mitchell Nolet had a goal apiece. Brandon Humphrey stopped 36 of 46 Langley shots.

Robinson, the Thunder captain, said the team had everyone contributing and the coaches had them ready to go from the opening whistle with a great game plan.

“It is a battle playing two games in a week, let alone two games back-to-back, so it is just coming in with a fresh mindset that they (the opponent) is going to try and run,” he said.

Three of the first four Maple Ridge goals came in transition, but over the game’s second half, Langley did a better job with their transition defence. The last three Burrards goals all came on the power play.

The Thunder power play also continued its string of recent success as it added three goals on five chances. Langley is 11-for-16 (.689) over their last three games after going 5-for-23 (.217) in the first five games.

“It doesn’t matter who is in there, as long as we keep the ball hot, we are going to have success. You saw that tonight: when we started getting hot and the ball was moving around, the D was a little scrambly and that is when we got those looks and that is when we got those goals,” Robinson said.

The Thunder are now off until June 28 when they host the Victoria Shamrocks at Langley Events Centre, with a 7:00pm start time.