First pick goes for first goal

Carlton Schuss

Carlton Schuss

Any rookie in the Western Lacrosse Association is bound to notice a few differences between junior and senior.

The most obvious difference – they probably don’t have the ball on their stick as often.

“That’s not always a bad thing,” said Carlton Schuss, Nanaimo Timbermen rookie. “Sometimes you don’t get the ball and other guys, they don’t really see you and you slip through the middle and you’re the guy open now.”

That should happen a few times for Schuss this Sunday (May 22) at Frank Crane Arena as the Coastal Windows Timbermen host the New Westminster Salmonbellies.

Nanaimo’s top draft pick this winter is finding his niche with his new team. When the T-men selected the 6-foot-1, 220 pounder seventh overall, they must have gone with the take-the-best-player-available approach because Schuss joins a stacked left side that also features Lewis Ratcliff, Cayle Ratcliff and Joel Henry.

“[Schuss] is a big man, he sets very good picks, he sees the floor well, he’s a good shooter,” said Art Webster, coach of the Timbermen. “He’s got to work hard; he’s going to have to find his space.”

Because there’s less space in the WLA – Schuss noticed that right away.

“It’s just a completely different game out there, a lot of bigger guys, a lot of guys are quicker,” Schuss said. “A lot of these guys know a lot more about the game so they’ll cut off better angles and try to push you the wrong way, so you’ve always got to be thinking what you’re going to do.”

Schuss has had the ball on his stick as long as he can remember. The 22-year-old comes to one lacrosse town from another, Ladner, where he used to go to the box as a kid to watch his dad’s Pioneers face the senior B Timbermen.

Now, crashing the crease for the T-men, it won’t be long before the rookie pots his first WLA goal and starts to make an impact on a team that has a lot of potential to win games.

“There’s a lot of good guys on this team, a lot of team players,” said Schuss. “Everyone wants to win. It’s a winning attitude.”

GAME ON … The Timbermen and Salmonbellies play at 7 p.m. Sunday (May 22) at Frank Crane Arena. Tickets will be available at the door. The team is planning a tailgate party in the arena parking lot starting at 5 p.m. … The Timbermen have invited Coun. Bill Bestwick, former Nanaimo Clippers coach, to place the ball for a ceremonial faceoff at 7 p.m.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com