It was a long time coming, but the junior A Timbermen finally got rewarded for their efforts.
Nanaimo’s B.C. Junior A Lacrosse League team earned its first win of the season on Sunday, an 18-12 road victory over the Burnaby Lakers.
The T-men (2-13) won their only other game by default.
“Just to get that win, no matter how we got it, we walked off the floor and we earned those two points and that’s a big thing,” said Brad Dougan, the team’s coach.
Setting the pace in the win was Brett Hawrys, who scored seven goals and added three assists. Corey Shires scored six goals. Mitch Parker had two goals and four assists and Owen Barker and Macgregor Johnston each had a goal and four helpers. Ryan Hanna also tallied in the win and Pete Dubenski made 39 saves.
Dougan said the win was meaningful especially for returning veterans from last year who ended 2012 on a losing streak and had gone more than a calendar year between wins.
But despite the losses, the Timbermen believed they were close. Nanaimo lost 10-8 to the Langley Thunder the day before at Frank Crane Arena.
“All year everyone’s believed in themselves…” said Dougan. “We’ve had a lot of one- and two-goal games. Everyone knows we’re right there.”
Brett Fleming, T-men captain, said his team knew it was better than the Lakers.
“And we followed through and played really well,” he said. “The effort level was there.”
Even at this too-late stage of the year, the win was a meaningful one, Fleming said.
“This season has been pretty disheartening so yeah, it was huge…” he said. “It was a big team win – everybody stepped up.”
The Timbermen get back at it Wednesday (June 26) with a road game against the Delta Islanders. Dougan said the T-men will try to play spoiler the rest of the way, and he’ll also use the remaining games to assess players with an eye to 2014.
“The boys, they know they’ve got to work hard for me and if they don’t, they’ll sit in the crowd,” the coach said.
The players understand the situation and intend to make the most of the rest of lacrosse season.
“At this point we’re a little bit hooped in terms of playoffs, but it’s pride now,” Fleming said. “We’ve got to go in with the mindset that if we can end the year with some sort of a winning streak then we can bring that into next season.”
GAME ON … The junior A T-men visit the Port Coquitlam Saints on Saturday (June 22) and the New Westminster Salmonbellies on Sunday. Nanaimo’s only remaining home game is July 6 against the Burnaby Lakers.