Thunder look to get back on track against 'Bellies

by Gary Ahuja

Fresh off a pair of weekend defeats on the road, the Langley Thunder are at home and eager to get back on track as they host the New Westminster Salmonbellies for the first time this season.

Langley sits in fourth place in the Western Lacrosse Association standings with a 3-3 record while the Salmonbellies are in fifth place with a 2-5 mark.

The teams will square off at Langley Events Centre on June 22 with the game scheduled to get underway at 7:30pm.

Both teams were last in action on Sunday with road games on Vancouver Island with Langley falling 18-7 to the league-leading Victoria Shamrocks while New Westminster was held to a pair of goals in a 12-2 loss to the Nanaimo Timbermen.

Curtis Dickson has been the leading scorer for Langley, playing in all six games this season with 24 points, including a team-high 16 assists. In the goal scoring department, the Thunder trio of Chase Scanlan (13 goals), Robert Church (12) and Dane Dobbie (11 goals) have accounted for 36 of the team’s 57 goals. Dobbie is averaging 4.6 points per game while Dickson and Church are each delivering four points per game.

Rookie Thomas Vaesen – who missed the early part of the season as he recovered from injury – has four goals and nine points, with multi-point games in each of the four he has played and goals in three straight.

In goal, Frank Scigliano sits third in save percentage at .803 and fourth in goals against average at 10.54.

The Salmonbellies’ leading point-scorers are Mitch Jones (14 goals, 12 assists) and Jordan McBride (12 goals, 14 assists) who each have 26 points while Haiden Dickson – the top player chosen in the 2022 WLA Draft – leads the team with 15 goals.

And in net, Zach Higgins has played all seven games and has an .803 save percentage to go along with an 11.38 goals against average.

In terms of special teams, the Thunder power play has been the most efficient of all seven WLA teams, scoring on 54.8 per cent (17-for-31) of their chances while the Salmonbellies are a league-worst 8-for-25 (32 per cent). Conversely, New Westminster does boast the third-best penalty kill, allowing just 11 goals on 30 opportunities, a 63.3 per cent successful kill rate. Langley has allowed 13 goals on 25 chances, a 48 per cent success rate.