Thunder host Adanacs as season hits stretch drive
The Langley Thunder begin a busy stretch of four games in the next eight days to close the Western Lacrosse Association regular season with the New Westminster Salmonbellies breathing down their necks for the fourth and final playoff berth.
Langley currently holds that last spot with an 8-6 record, but the Salmonbellies are just two points behind (7-8) and hold the tiebreaker, thanks to taking two of the three games against the Thunder in the season series.
It means the Thunder likely need to win three of their final four games to ensure their season extends beyond August 3. The first of those four contests is tonight (July 27, 7:30pm) as the team returns to Langley Events Centre for their first home game since July 13 as they host the Coquitlam Adanacs (11-5).
The game can be streamed at www.wlalacrosse.com/wlatv
The Thunder allowed six goals in the first period and trailed the entire contest as they dropped a 10-6 decision in New Westminster to the Salmonbellies. Dane Dobbie scored twice while Connor Robinson and Robert Church each had a goal and two helpers while Erik Maas had a goal and an assist.
The Adanacs are playing back-to-back road games on consecutive days as they were in Maple Ridge on July 26, posting a 16-10 win over the Burrards. Clark Walter (three goals, four assists), Dylan Watson (four goals, one assist) and Brett McIntyre (three goals, one assist) powered the Adanacs offence while Christian Del Bianco stopped 46 of 56 shots.
Curtis Dickson leads Langley in points (58) and assists (35) while Dobbie and Church sit one-two on the team in goals, with 27 and 26, respectively. Dobbie is also second in points with 55 and while Robinson has only suited up in seven of his team’s games, with 32 points, he gives Langley four players averaging more than four points per game: Dobbie (5.0), Dickson (4.8), Robinson (4.6) and Church (4.3).
Church is also third in the WLA in shooting percentage for players with 20 or more goals as he has scored 26 goals on 99 shots (.263).
Watson and John Hofseth lead Coquitlam with 24 goals apiece and Hofseth’s 46 points lead the team with Watson, Walter and Matt Delmonico sitting tied for second with 43.
Frank Scigliano is second in the WLA with a .824 save percentage and third with an 8.84 goals against average while Del Bianco is first in save percentage (.843) and second in GAA (8.81).
Del Bianco has been a workhorse this season, playing in all 16 games and being on the floor for 912:41 of his team’s 970 minutes of game action.
Scigliano has started 11 of his team’s 14 games, including starting the last four. Back-up Steve Fryer has won his only start with a 7.00 GAA and .860 save percentage.
Andrew Gallant is Del Bianco’s back-up and has a 3.27 GAA and .951 save percentage in 36:45 of game action.
The teams boast the top two power plays in the league with Langley cashing in on 34 of their 67 chances, a .507 success rate, while Coquitlam is second at .444 (28-for-63).
Coquitlam also has the second-ranked penalty kill (.629) while the Thunder come in third at .603.
The teams last met on June 18 in Coquitlam with the Adanacs scoring four consecutive third-period goals as they rallied for the 10-9 victory. Delmonico scored two goals, including the game winner, while Dobbie led the Thunder with a four-goal, six-point performance.
The teams also played on June 1 in Langley – a 13-10 Adanacs win – but that game was deemed a loss for both teams as there was a late player activation and roster issues on both sides.