The junior B Nanaimo Timbermen are on the cusp of clinching a post-season berth, but they know they have work to do before they get there.
The city’s Pacific North West Junior Lacrosse League team (5-5-1) defeated Victoria-Esquimalt 8-7 on Wednesday night at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.
The contest was closer, perhaps, than it should have been. Before the game, Nanaimo coach Ken Morrison warned his charges about taking the last-placed opponent too lightly.
“I don’t think we played up to our capabilities,” he said. “It’s a win, that’s the biggest thing and it’s helping our spot in the playoffs.”
The Timbermen fired 58 shots at the Esquimalt netminder.
“We stuck to the game plan, kept cutting through the middle and just threw unexpected things at the net, and whatever goes through, goes through,” said Dean Borrelli, Timbermen player.
Morrison wanted to see even more shots from in close, suggesting that his players were still taking too many outside shots. There wasn’t enough off-ball movement, he said, and in the defensive end, T-men players might have been too passive on loose balls.
They need to play harder, he said, to prepare for playoff lacrosse.
“Intensity’s a big thing,” Morrison said. “We seem to play back and relaxed a lot of times.”
Playing close games like Wednesday’s can only be a good thing in boosting that intensity.
“It’s always going to be a grind towards the end of the season, against any team you come up against,” Borrelli said. “You have to do what you can do to get the win.”
Nanaimo has one more regular-season game plus a handful of practices to prepare for a potential first-round matchup with undefeated Cowichan.
“The focus right now is to perfect our plays. It’s mostly refining little things and capitalizing on other teams’ mistakes,” said Josh Cronan, alternate captain. “There’s not a lot that you can do at this point other than trusting the guy next to you.”
LACROSSE TALK … Borrelli and Dustin Kothlow each scored two goals in Wednesday’s game and James Brown, Cody Dimond, Tanner High and Bryden Pelletier also tallied. Billy Good had three assists. Mike Berti was the winning goalie … The last regular-season game for the Timbermen is Wednesday (June 29) against Peninsula (6-3) at 7:30 p.m. at the NIC.