Langley Thunder golden at provincial championships
In the last few minutes of the gold medal game — with the score tied and overtime looming — Langley U19 Thunder coach Ian Poole did not have to say anything to his team.
The Thunder were in the provincial tier 1 field lacrosse final against the Coquitlam Adanacs 2 at the Burnaby Lake Sports Complex last weekend.
“I didn’t even have to pump them up,” Poole said.
“In the last couple of minutes of regulation and overtime, there was no way they were losing.
“They had gotten too far to lose now.”
Mike Messenger struck for the winning goal in double overtime as the Thunder defeated Coquitlam 13-12. It was Langley’s first ever tier 1 provincial field lacrosse title.
It also marks a significant turnaround for the program.
“We have spent a long time trying to get to this point, where they get into a gold medal game and win,” Poole explained.
“And they finally did it. I am super proud of them.”
Poole, who plays for the senior A Langley Thunder, took over the U19 program three years ago.
That first year, the team did not have enough players in the 16 to 18 age group committed to the program to field a team in the playoffs.
Last year, with enough bodies, the Thunder finished fourth.
“They were a group that really hadn’t played much field lacrosse before,” Poole said.
“Throughout the whole season, we played real well,” he said.
“Our goal was to be in provincials and we knew once we got there, if we played hard and played our game, it would be there for us (to win).”
At the championships, they went 2-0-2 in round robin play, defeating Victoria 19-9 and New Westminster 16-8 and tying Coquitlam 2 10-10 and Coquitlam 1 8-8.
“No one really gave them a chance to win, but we knew in our hearts we could.”
Rhys Burnell earned the team’s Warrior Fair Play Award.
“Great kid, great attitude, real committed and a team player,” is how Poole described the midfielder.
“He is just one of those kids guys could look up to and I could count on when I need him out there.”