The lacrosse community came out to offer not only their cheers, but their support and well wishes.
The Nanaimo Ice Centre’s stands were full Tuesday night as the senior B Timbermen defeated the Ladner Pioneers 6-3 in Game 3 of the West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association semifinals. It was the first game for the senior B T-men since player-manager Shawn Swanson suffered a serious neck injury after being checked into the boards during Game 2 in Ladner.
“Everyone came together as a team and played hard and it was all for one guy and that was Swanny,” said Stephen MacFarlane, T-men defender.
Mike Maughan, the team’s coach, said his players responded well on an emotional night.
“Definitely the motivation was there and I think that helped,” Maughan said. “We made sure we used it as motivation, but not as the driving force. We still had to focus on the game at hand and not really try to do anything different.”
Simon Stocks, an alternate captain on the T-men, said his team was able to keep its emotions contained to play a lacrosse game and play well.
“There’s definitely some strong emotions about what happened,” he said. “You don’t get someone back for something like that. You play through it and you play as a team and you stay as a team and keep your emotions intact. There doesn’t need to be anymore stupidness out there. You play hard, but you play smart.”
Nanaimo’s defence led the way in Game 3, limiting Ladner to 27 shots on goal. Stocks said defenders did a good job keeping opposing forwards to certain areas of the floor, forcing them to shoot from angles where goalie Nick Patterson is especially strong.
The offence hit about a dozen posts, but scored enough goals for the victory. Corey Shires led the way with two goals and two assists and Ryan Forslund, Jon Diplock, Mitch Parker and Brendon Anger were other scorers.
Off the floor, the senior B Timbermen took in their largest gate in recent memory, and fans at the game donated more than $1,600 for the Swanson family. A Go Fund Me page, at last count, had raised more than $13,000 in 24 hours.
“Lacrosse is a community that touches a lot of people and the people that are familiar with it love it to death,” Maughan said. “We see one of ours that are struggling right now and the community stepped up like I knew they would.”
GAME ON … The Timbermen and Pioneers meet for Game 4 on Wednesday (July 27) at Delta’s Sungod Arena. Game 5, if necessary, wouldn’t be until Aug. 3, back in Nanaimo.