The junior A Nanaimo Timbermen gave whatever they had left in the tanks to finish the 2012 season.
The city’s B.C. Junior A Lacrosse League team (3-17-1) played their last two games of the summer on the weekend, losing both halves of a home-and-home series against the Delta Islanders. The Isles won 14-8 on Saturday in Ladner, then won 21-8 on Sunday at Frank Crane Arena.
“I don’t know if it was emotions, I don’t know what it was but it was difficult for the boys, both ends of the floor,” said Jamie Gilles, assistant coach. “We weren’t scoring on offence – we had three goals going into the third – and we weren’t defending real well on defence.”
With the game out of reach after two periods, the Timbermen reassessed their goals. They decided that when lacrosse season was all over, they didn’t want to feel as though they’d left anything out on the floor.
“We went out there, we had fun,” said Bryan Dougan, captain of the junior A T-men. “That’s all you can do right now is just enjoy the game. Everybody loves this game.”
Dougan, a defender, played as an attacker in the third period as the Timbermen gave some of their graduating juniors extra chances to go out with a goal.
“I don’t think I’ve seen so many smiles or so much positive energy in our team all season,” Gilles said. “They had a great time, they were loving it.”
It was a challenging season for the Timbermen. Following an off-season ownership change, the team brought in an all-new coaching staff and an overhauled roster.
The group went winless the first month of the season, then, before the trade deadline, management traded away most of the team’s top talent.
They didn’t win any more games after that, but Gilles said he thinks the team showed improvement and said other teams around the league noticed it.
Dougan said if he was starting the season over again, and got to pick a team, he would choose all the same teammates.
“I’m happy with all the boys. They stayed together through all the adversity we went through,” he said. “No one quit halfway through the season or anything like that. All the boys stuck together and just kept battling, night in, night out. You can’t ask for more.”
LACROSSE TALK … Ryan Nicks and Ken Brown each scored twice in the season finale, with Brett Fleming, Evan Benham, Kyle Middleton and Ryan Hanna also scoring. Logan Schuss had 15 points for the Isles on five goals and 10 assists and former T-men player Mitch Parker had a hat trick to go with four helpers. Former Timbermen goalie Pete Dubenski earned the win in net, making 36 saves as his team outshot the T-men 71-44 … The day before, Adam Backular-Evans posted a hat trick for Nanaimo and other markers went to Nick Sanderson, Tyson Roe, Nicks, Jaeden Gilles and Bryson Weberg. Parker also had seven points in that one with two goals and five assists. Shots on Saturday were 44-37 in favour of Nanaimo … Dougan, Backular-Evans, Stu Mills, Evan Benham and Marino Best now graduate from junior.