Someone recently told Langley Warriors owner Denise Forlin that in the senior B organization’s short history, they had an overall record of something in the neighbourhood of 20 wins and 95 losses.
The Warriors joined the West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association in 2009 and have struggled.
They did make the post-season in 2015, losing in the provincial semifinals.
But 2016 has been something special and on Thursday night, the Warriors capped things off with a 10-4 victory over the Nanaimo Timbermen to capture the provincial banner.
The game was played at the Langley Events Centre and the win capped off a series sweep — while improving the Warriors to 6-0 in the post-season — as Langley defeated Nanaimo three games to none in the best-of-five series.
In Thursday’s clincher, the teams were scoreless for the first 10 minutes before the Warriors exploded for three goals in a 31-second span.
Langley led 5-0 after one period and 10-2 after 40 minutes.
Derek Lowe led the way with three goals and three assists while Bryan Poole — the WCSLA regular season scoring leader with 31 goals and 80 points — had five assists.
Geordie Wells (two goals, one assist), Jordan Flaman (two goals, one assist) and Curt Callard (two goals) each had multi-goal games. Will Vanden Hooven had a goal and two helpers.
Tye Belanger stopped 23 of 25 shots with Ryley Brown coming in for the third period and stopping 11 of 13 shots.
Despite title, season wasn’t easy
But even winning the provincial title didn’t come easy for the Warriors, who were the top team in the regular season at 11-2-0-1.
They lost one of their leading scorers to an achilles injury during the year and the team’s head coach also stepped down midway through for personal reasons.
“(Troy Margetson) did a great job at the very beginning,” said Warriors coach Jason Kump, who wasn’t involved with the team prior to taking over, but has coached the majority of the players over the years when they played field lacrosse with Langley Minor Lacrosse. He also coached some of them with the Whalley Ballers field lacrosse program.
“These guys are full of youth and experience, battle hard in the corners and always come up with the ball,” Kump said.
Langley lights out in the post-season
In the six playoff games, Langley surrendered a grand total of 22 goals. And this came on the heels of being the only team in the league to allow less than 100 goals during the regular season, as they surrendered 97 in 14 games.
“Our defence won the championship, honestly,” Kump said. “Those are low, hard level battle games.”
For team captain Mark Forlin — who has been with the organization since day one — Thursday’s victory was satisfying.
“Amazing, the best feeling in the world,” he said. “We have waited eight years for this.
“It has been a struggle (and we are) glad to be on top.”
What makes the victory even sweeter was the fact Nanaimo eliminated Langley from last year’s provincial championships in the semifinals, the first time the Warriors had even made the post-season.
Buoyed by that success, Forlin said the team set out a goal at the start of 2016 of winning provincials and representing B.C. at the President’s Cup, the senior B national lacrosse championships.
“That was our goal and we accomplished it,” he said.
The last Langley team to win the WCSLA provincial title was the Langley Knights, who captured the crown in 2000. The Knights relocated to New Westminster in 2007 and are now the Royal City Capitals.
The Warriors now get set for the President’s Cup, which runs Aug. 28 to Sept. 3 in Leduc, Alta.