Juniors win important games
The Nanaimo Timbermen junior A lacrosse team will stick together this summer and try to keep winning.
The B.C. Junior A Lacrosse League’s trade deadline came and went last week and Nanaimo’s juniors stayed intact, then went out and won a couple of key games.
The T-men (7-11) defeated the Port Coquitlam Saints 11-10 on Saturday on the mainland, then dropped the Burnaby Lakers 17-10 on Sunday at Frank Crane Arena.
“It’s guys stepping up; the guys are playing with heart,” said Matt Messenger, transition player. “It’s a team effort.”
Coach and general manager Dave Bremner said the Timbermen are sticking to their transition system right now.
"It seems to be opening up doors for us. We're getting more fast-break goals now," Bremner said. "We're still giving up too many opportunities when we shouldn't be, but if we start clamping down on those we can compete with all the top teams."
In Saturday’s game, Nanaimo outshot PoCo 70-48 but needed to score the last four goals of the third period to win. Ryan Sage’s hat-trick marker with a minute left was the difference. Joey Fendick and Messenger had two goals apiece and Tyson Roe, Cody Bremner, Glenn Foley and Marino Best also scored. Devon Winter was the winning goalie.
The T-men were able to carry their momentum back to the Island for Sunday’s matchup.
“You have a hard game like that, why not keep playing with the same intensity as we did last game?” asked Messenger.
Nanaimo’s power play made hay in the blowout, tallying six times. Kyle Hofer had a huge game with five goals and three assists and Foley scored four goals and added two helpers. Bremner and Fendick had two goals and three assists each and Messenger, Cory Koesdibyo, Ethan Garland and Roe were the other scorers. Winter made 32 saves for the win.
Nanaimo has three games remaining in the regular season and in all likelihood, earning one out of those six possible points should be good enough to pin down fifth place. That would be the franchise's highest-ever playoff seed and cause for optimism, and it's one of the reasons why the lacrosse club decided not to trade away players at the deadline.
"You look at your team and you look at where you're going to go and who you're going to play in the rounds and if you're able to beat them," Bremner said.
LACROSSE TALK … The T-men play the Victoria Shamrocks on Tuesday (July 5) at 7:30 p.m. at Bear Mountain Arena, then visit the New Westminster Salmonbellies on Saturday. The final home game for the Timbermen is Sunday (July 10) against the Delta Islanders at 5 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.