The senior B Nanaimo Timbermen celebrate winning the West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association championship on Saturday at Frank Crane Arena.

The senior B Nanaimo Timbermen celebrate winning the West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association championship on Saturday at Frank Crane Arena.

Senior B Timbermen win B.C. championship

The senior B Nanaimo Timbermen won the WCSLA championship on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Ladner Pioneers 7-4.

This year, when the senior B Nanaimo Timbermen go to nationals, they’ll go as champions.

The squad won the West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association championship on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Ladner Pioneers 7-4 at Frank Crane Arena to sweep the best-of-five final three games to none.

“Fantastic. It’s the best feeling ever,” said Jon Diplock, team captain. “We worked all year for this and we finally did it.”

The game was a low-scoring affair, with both goaltenders putting forth player-of-the-game performances. The Pioneers led 2-1 after one period, but the T-men went up 5-3 after two and protected the lead.

“We knew we had it all along. It [didn’t] matter what happened in the game, in the back of our heads it was just, ‘It’s ours. It’s ours for the taking,'” Diplock said.

A turning point came partway through the third period when the T-men, up by two goals, were assessed a five-minute slashing major. The penalty killing unit, led by Cody Boon and Steve Higgs, created momentum culminating in Diplock’s fourth goal of the game.

The captain was in on six of his team’s seven scoring plays on the day. Higgs had a goal and two helpers and Ryan Forslund and Jonny Gill were the other Nanaimo scorers. Nick Patterson made 35 saves as shots were 47-39 in favour of Nanaimo.

“[The Pioneers] are a really strong team, but I think that kind of speaks to how good of a team we are,” said Mike Maughan, T-men coach. “We know we’re a good team, but we kind of showed it in every facet. Our offence scores when we need to, our defence has been strong all year long and all playoffs long and of course, the cornerstone, Nick, is unbelievable. He gives you the ability to stem the tide when maybe the play’s going against you.”

The championship – the first for the senior B Timbermen since 2003 – means the team will be going to Presidents’ Cup nationals for a third straight year.

“We went back door in 2013, side door 2014 and front door in 2015,” said Shawn Swanson, general manager.

Two years ago the T-men were B.C. representatives by default and last year they qualified as B.C.’s runners-up.

“The two years before we didn’t do it this way, but this way feels so much better,” said Nick Agius, alternate captain. “So much better. It’s euphoric. It’s great.”

GAME ON … The Presidents’ Cup national championships will be held Aug. 31-Sept. 6 in St. Catharines, Ont.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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