Thunder fall silent in third period

by Gary Ahuja

After clawing back to pull even in the final seven minutes of the second period, the Langley Thunder could not carry that momentum into the third, surrendering a 4-0 run.

And that proved costly as the visiting New Westminster Salmonbellies knocked off the Thunder 11-8 in Senior A Western Lacrosse Association action on Wednesday night at Langley Events Centre.

Anthony Malcom opened the scoring 3:34 into the contest for New Westminster and from that point forward, the Thunder faced an uphill battle, trailing for all but 6:19 of the 60-minute contest.

James Rahe twice tied the score, once at 1-1 early in the first period and then at 5-5 when he scored with 2.2 seconds to play in the middle period, capping off a 3-1 Langley run.

That was short-lived however, as 87 seconds into the third period, Austin Shanks restored the lead and 39 seconds after that, Jordan McBride made it 7-5. Kevin Crowley and Shanks added on two more goals and the deficit was too much to overcome, despite Connor Robinson scoring his second and Rahe tacking on two more to finish with four goals on the night.

“(New West) came out hungry (in the third) and were obviously upset with where (the game was at) and buried a couple quickly. We were a little stunned on O and we didn’t get back.,” Rahe said. “On the offensive side, we have to make up ground if they get a couple and unfortunately, we didn’t there.”

Moving forward, Rahe said the offence needs to find a way to respond quicker after the other team rattles off a run. Wednesday was a perfect example as aside from Rahe’s first-period power play goal (which came 6:34 in) the rest of Langley’s offence came in the final 6:41 of the middle frame and 4:57 of the third period.

The victory improves New Westminster to 2-2 (with both victories coming over the Thunder) while Langley sits at 1-3.

Despite the loss, there was improvement from their last game, a 12-7 loss the week prior to the 4-0 Burnaby Lakers.

“Our defence, they really stepped up after the first. They got in the way and played strong D and kept them to 5-5 going into the third,” said coach Todd Stockdale.

One of the factors was inexperience in playing together as the Thunder battle injuries. They also had to play the final period down a body after losing Jake Carey to a shoulder injury.

“We have a lot of things we have to work on, offence getting the ball inside, moving guys a little bit more and little things on defence. Once we get that going, we should be good for Saturday night,” Stockdale said.

Game notes:

Rahe finished with four goals and six points and was the game’s third star while Robinson had two goals and an assist and Aidan Milburn finished with three helpers. Dylan Kinnear chipped in with a goal and an assist while Reece Callies scored once.

The Salmonbellies were led by three goals and seven points from McBride, the game’s first star, while Crowley had two goals and five points and Jason Jones had five assists. Malcom finished with three goals while Shanks had two.

Steve Fryer made 44 saves for Langley while Alexis Buque countered with 39 in the New Westminster goal.

Up next

The Thunder are back in action on Saturday, June 8 as they host the Nanaimo Timbermen at Langley Events Centre with a special 5 p.m. start time.

The game is being celebrated as Country Night and will feature great giveaways and opportunities to win fantastic prizes such as a pair of tickets to the sold-out Gone County country musical festival. There will also be a post-game party in Banquet Hall at Langley Events Centre and a courtesy shuttle service being offered to Gabby’s Country Cabaret.

For tickets, click here.


For more information:

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