The senior B Nanaimo Timbermen were winners in their long-awaited return to the finals.
The T-men, after 10 days off, took to the floor against the Ladner Pioneers and won 12-7 to start the West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association championship series.
“We had a bit of a layoff and they were coming off a tough series, a close series,” said Mike Maughan, T-men coach. “I was a little worried that we weren’t going to be able to match their intensity because we had a bit of an easier time in our series, but the guys mentally prepared themselves really well and we did what we needed to do.”
The contest was a two-goal game early in the third period, but goalie Nick Patterson didn’t allow anything the rest of the way and Nanaimo’s top scorers took care of the rest.
“We knew they’re a good team and they’re going to have their runs, but I think our guys did a really good job of settling down and answering any time we needed to,” Maughan said.
Ryan Dietterle, Timbermen defender, said as the game went on Nanaimo’s D did a better job contesting shots.
“And after that they pretty much had nothing. They slowed down,” he said.
Jon Diplock, T-men captain, said his team won by playing the same sort of lacrosse it’s been playing all year.
“We told each other at the start of the game, just do our thing and everything will work out, because we know that we’re the better team,” he said.
Diplock led the offence with four goals. Ryan Forslund had a hat trick, Derek Lowe and Steve Higgs had two goals apiece and Adam Brown was the other scorer. Patterson made 41 saves as his team was outshot 48-42.
The T-men will have a long time to savour the win, as Game 2 isn’t until Aug. 6 on the mainland.
“With the long break after the first game, it would have been really tough to lose that first one and have a long time to sit on it,” Maughan said.
Diplock said the win is a good start.
“We’ve got two more games to win – it’s less than what they’ve got to do,” he said.
GAME ON … The next game in Nanaimo is Game 3, to be played Aug. 8 at 2 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena.