Juniors feel they’re still in mix

The junior A Nanaimo Timbermen take on the Delta Islanders this Sunday (June 2) at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

Junior A Nanaimo Timbermen player Brett Fleming

Junior A Nanaimo Timbermen player Brett Fleming

The junior Timbermen aren’t where they want to be a third of the way through the season, but there’s still time for a fix.

Nanaimo’s B.C. Junior A Lacrosse League squad is coming off a tough loss, as the seventh-place T-men gave up seven unanswered goals to lose 14-10 to the sixth-place Port Coquitlam Saints on Sunday in PoCo.

“Everyone in that room thinks winning’s a bit easier, but it’s not. Winning’s hard…” said Brad Dougan, coach of the T-men. “Right now there’s a lot of pissed-off guys in that locker room and I don’t blame them – there’s some guys taking the easy route right now and there’s some guys working their [tails] off.”

Sunday’s loss to PoCo dropped Nanaimo’s juniors six points back of the final playoff position, but they have a couple of games in hand on most teams.

To get back in the race they’ll need to pull off some upsets, like this coming Sunday (June 2) when they host the Delta Islanders at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

The T-men (1-6) took the Isles (6-4) to overtime earlier this season, but Delta scored a power-play goal in OT to win that one 15-14.

“We need to stay out of the box,” Dougan said. “They’ve probably got one of the best power plays in the league.”

Nanaimo is the most penalized team in the BCJALL by a country mile. The T-men are averaging 41 penalty minutes per game, while the other seven teams are averaging 21 per game.

Some of that comes down to focus, said Dougan, and the T-men are getting to the point in the season where they can’t afford many more lapses in concentration.

For now, the club isn’t considering giving up and trading away core players.

“If anything we’re looking to add bodies that are going to put us over the top and help us reach that playoff spot,” said Jon Nicholson, general manager.

He plans to wait and see how the club fares in the middle third of the season, he said.

“A couple teams ahead of us, I think they are still within our reach…” Nicholson said. “So our goals are remaining the same. We still want to get into the playoffs and I still think we have the group to make the playoffs.”

GAME ON … The junior A Timbermen take on the Islanders this Sunday (June 2) in a 5 p.m. faceoff at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com