Sports

Timbermen having fun winning

Nanaimo Timbermen player Lewis Ratcliff, left, is checked by New West opponent Shayne Bennett during a game earlier this season. - File photo
Nanaimo Timbermen player Lewis Ratcliff, left, is checked by New West opponent Shayne Bennett during a game earlier this season.
— image credit: File photo

First the Nanaimo Timbermen saw potential, then they started seeing results. Now they want to make winning a habit.

The senior A Coastal Windows Timbermen play the New Westminster Salmonbellies on Thursday (June 16) on the Lower Mainland.

The Western Lacrosse Association matchup will challenge the T-men. Nanaimo has never defeated New West in a regular-season game, though it did win one playoff game against the 'Bellies in 2007.

“You always get up when you’re in New West. They’re the top dog, so you always want to knock them off,” said Bubba Westwood, a T-men defender who used to play for the Salmonbellies.

“It’ll be fun to play against them. They’re just like us, they’re gritty, they play hard whistle to whistle. So we’ll see what happens.”

The last time the teams met was a barnburner, a 14-14 tie last month at Frank Crane Arena. That game was a bit odd for both teams, as the Salmonbellies are first in the league in goals against and the Timbermen are second.

New West has since added goalie Tyler Richards and scorer Jeff Zywicki, but Nanaimo will have a deeper roster than last time, too.

The T-men can also draw from the experience of two straight wins including a convincing 9-4 win Sunday over another league powerhouse, the Coquitlam Adanacs. That victory, said coach Art Webster, was positive reinforcement for his club.

“It’s always great for some of the rookie guys to build some confidence and know that they can play with some of the top players in the league,” he said. “But we can’t get away from what it took to get here; it took hard work.”

The win bumped the Timbermen upward in the WLA standings, which is important, said scorer Mat MacLeod.

“You don’t want to get yourself into a hole early in the season and have to dig yourself out,” he said.

Scott Ranger, team captain, said last weekend’s win gives the T-men momentum.

“We’re going to savour this one and remember what it tastes like and we’re going to come to battle [on] Thursday against New West,” Ranger said.

GAME ON … The Timbermen (2-2-1) and Salmonbellies (3-1-1) face off Thursday at 7 p.m. at Queen's Park Arena and Dan Marshall and Dominic Abassi will webcast the game live at www.tmen.ca … Nanaimo’s next home game is Sunday (June 19), when the Burnaby Lakers (2-5) visit Frank Crane Arena for a 7 p.m. start.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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