Caleb Pearson beat the buzzer, scoring into the empty net with two seconds left as the Langley Junior Thunder rallied for a dramatic victory.
Pearson’s late goal snapped the deadlock with the Port Coquitlam Saints as the Thunder prevailed 11-10 in BC Junior A Lacrosse League action at Langley Events Centre on Thursday night.
The win improved Langley to 6-4 while the Saints fell to 6-3-2.
With 20 seconds remaining and the score tied, the Saints held possession and opted to send their goalie to the bench for an extra attacker.
The Thunder opted to get aggressive on defence, rushing the ball carrier and it paid off as Mason Hicks was able to block the shot. Pearson got a hold of the ball and let fly from beyond the restraining line, hitting the empty net.
And considering how the game began, it was a surprise Langley even had a chance. The Saints led 4-0 late in the first period before Ryan Martel finally got the home side on the board. For the period, the Thunder managed just five shots on goal.
“We were missing shots, we were staying to the outside, we weren’t moving around very well,” said Langley coach Matt Leveque. “But that late goal sparked us.”
By the time the second period was over, the teams were tied at five. The Saints would twice take a two-goal lead in the final frame, but both times, the Thunder battled back. Langley took their first lead at 8-7 with 8:26 to play before Port Coquitlam struck for a pair for the 10-9 lead with 4:03 to play. But Ryan Martel’s fourth of the game tied it at 10 and set the stage for Pearson’s buzzer-beater.
It was a good character building victory, Leveque said.
“As a team, we fought through the adversity,” Leveque said. “The boys knew they had to step up. And our defence held the fort down (to let us get back into it).”
In addition to Martel’s four goals and Pearson’s winner, Nathaniel Kozevnikov and Dylan Mcintosh both had a pair while Tesi Oakes and Nathan McKeigan had singles. Martel also had four assists for the eight-point game. Mackenzie Rope and McKeigan each had three assists as well.
Langley is back in action on Saturday as they hit the road to face the Victoria Junior Shamrocks at the Q Centre in Victoria. Game time is 4 p.m.
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