It is shaping up to be a fantastic finish in the race for top spot in the Western Lacrosse Association standings.
The Langley Thunder and Victoria Shamrocks are tied atop the senior A men’s lacrosse standings with 18 points apiece and five games to play in the regular season. And two of those five games are head-to-head contests over the next two weeks.
Langley pulled into a share of first place after a frantic finish on Sunday (July 7) night at Maple Ridge’s Planet Ice. The Thunder scored five of the final six goals, including the winner from Dane Dobbie with 97 seconds to play in a 13-12 win over the Burrards.
Dobbie was one of six new players picked up by the team prior to last month’s deadline and he finished with two goals and an assist.
Another newcomer, Mark Matthews, who was playing his first WLA game since being drafted in 2012, also had a great debut with three goals and a pair of helpers.
And yet another new face, goaltender Nick Rose, relieved Brodie MacDonald early in the second period and finished with 19 saves on 21 shots.
The game began with a wild first period which saw each team score six goals.
The Burrards took a lead into the third period, 10-8, and then scored to go up three six minutes into the third. But Garrett Billings made it a two-goal game 14 seconds later. The teams would trade goals less than a minute apart to make it 12-10 with 10 minutes remaining before Damon Edwards, Matthews and Dobbie scored three unanswered to close the game.
Curtis Dickson, the WLA’s leading scorer, led Maple Ridge with four goals and three assists while Riley Loewen had three goals and two assists. Joel Dalgarno scored twice and set up another pair.
For the Thunder, Billings and Athan Iannucci each had two goals and four assists. Adam Jones also scored twice and set up one goal.
The Thunder have won three in a row and have just one loss in their past six games (3-1-2). They will look to keep their winning ways going as the head to Vancouver Island for a pair of games this weekend.
On Friday (July 12), they face the Shamrocks in Victoria before they play at the Nanaimo Timbermen on Saturday (July 13).
The game also marked the return of head coach Rod Jensen, who was suspended 12 games by the Canadian Lacrosse Association, stemming from his actions in regards to the CCES and the way they handled the drug testing of the teams at the Mann Cup.