Salmonbellies stump Thunder

by Gary Ahuja

Langley Thunder's Keegan Bell defends his check during his team's 9-6 loss to New Westminster in Western Lacrosse Association action at Langley Events Centre on June 22. Gary Ahuja Langley Events Centre photo

Sixty-five shots on goal – and countless others which missed the net – produced just six goals as the Langley Thunder lost a third consecutive game as the visiting New Westminster Salmonbellies left Langley Events Centre with a 9-6 victory on Wednesday night.

New Westminster (3-5) drew even with Langley (3-4) in the Western Lacrosse Association standings for fourth place although the Thunder do hold a game in hand.

“There is a lot of good things I am seeing out there, but it was a disappointing loss for sure,” said Thunder coach Dave Pym. “We had some good efforts: we had some good goaltending, we had some good offence, we put up 67 shots and came away with not enough goals.”

Dane Dobbie opened the scoring at the 5:23 mark but the lead was short-lived as the Salmonbellies tied the score 63 seconds later and then went ahead 1:28 later. Curtis Dickson would tie the score before intermission with the first of his three goals on the night, but New Westminster struck for a pair of goals 1:12 apart in the opening two minutes of the middle frame and went ahead for good.

The Thunder pulled to within a goal on four separate occasions but could never draw even as the ‘Bellies Zach Higgins made 59 saves on 65 shots to earn first star honours.

Another problem which plagued Langley was their power play, which entered the game operating at a league-best 54.8 per cent but was held scoreless for the first time this season, failing to cash in on any of the three man-advantage opportunities.

Dickson (three goals, one assist) and Dobbie (one goal, three assists) each had four-point games while Robert Church (one goal, one assists) and Thomas Vaesen (two assists) finished with two points apiece. Erik Maas had the other Langley goal.

In net, Frank Scigliano stopped 37 of 46 shots.

Jordan McBride (two goals, one assist) and Tomas Jeck (two goals) led the New Westminster offence.

The loss wrapped up a stretch of four games in eight days for Langley and the team now has a full week off before they return to action, hosting the Burnaby Lakers at Langley Events Centre on June 29 (7:30pm).

“We have a lot of work we need to do. We are fortunately going to get our first practice on Monday with the full team and we can go over a lot of our systems and that kind of stuff,” Pym said. “We have guys that are still fighting for spots. Come practice on Monday, they better come prepared to work their tails off.”