Nanaimo Timbermen senior B forward Jon Diplock takes a shot on goal during a playoff game against the Ladner Pioneers at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. The senior B T-men were swept out of the finals earlier this month.

Nanaimo Timbermen senior B forward Jon Diplock takes a shot on goal during a playoff game against the Ladner Pioneers at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. The senior B T-men were swept out of the finals earlier this month.

Season in review: Senior B team stayed in contention

Nanaimo’s WCSLA club is proud of its season after making it to the B.C. final and getting swept by the Langley Warriors.

The senior B Nanaimo Timbermen didn’t make it to the Presidents’ Cup, but they feel they ran a good campaign.

The city’s West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association club is proud of its season after making it to the B.C. final and getting swept by the Langley Warriors.

“We’re a good team so we expect to win, so it’s kind of a tough pill to swallow,” said Mike Maughan, coach of the senior B T-men. “When you don’t win, you’re disappointed. That’s kind of what you want, right? We expect to win and it didn’t go our way, but we’re still proud of our season.”

The Timbermen went into 2016 as defending champions, with three straight Presidents’ Cup appearances to their credit. But they also went into the season with a lot of new faces.

“When there’s that much turnover, you never really know how things are going to shake out and there’s some strong teams in the league,” Maughan said. “We weren’t sure how things were going to go and it was kind of an up-and-down regular season, but we showed by the end of the year that we were definitely one of the top teams in the league.”

The senior B T-men finished second with a 9-4-0-1 record and were third-best in the league in both goals for (151) and goals against (126). Corey Shires led Nanaimo in scoring and was second in the league with 32 goals and 64 points. Andrew Miller also finished top-10 in league scoring with 30 goals and 51 points.

Come playoffs, Nanaimo enjoyed a first-round bye, then defeated the Ladner Pioneers in the semifinals, three games to one. Timbermen player-manager Shawn Swanson suffered a serious neck injury in that series and the city’s sports community offered its support and rallied around the team, packing the Nanaimo Ice Centre for the last two home playoff games.

In the final, the Warriors were too strong, relentless on offence and smothering on defence. Still, the Timbermen believe they’re close to championship-calibre.

“I don’t think we’re far off it,” Maughan said. “We had a good influx of some young players and some talented young players at that, so that’s really promising. That gives us something to build off of.”

He hopes that the core of the team returns, as he liked the mix of new players and veterans. Having so many good local players is more important than ever, Maughan noted, now that Victoria has a senior B club. The coach said the fact that the T-men are always a top team should also help to attract talent.

“We had a shot there in the finals and things didn’t go our way,” he said. “We knew we were a strong group and we had a pretty strong season, so it was nice to see the guys came together really well.”

sports@nanaimobulletin.com