The Nanaimo Timberman battled through an entire WLA regular season, and it still took until overtime of the very last game to get into the playoffs.
The senior A T-men tied the Burnaby Lakers 8-8 in Western Lacrosse Association action Friday on the mainland. Since Nanaimo (10-7-1) had previously clinched the season series against Burnaby, a tie was enough for the T-men to secure the WLA’s final playoff berth.
“It was an excellent game, both teams played well, both goalies played well, it was a tight game,” said Kaleb Toth, T-men coach.
The Timbermen led by two goals late but the Lakers managed to score twice with the goalie pulled, including a game-tying goal with four seconds left in regulation.
“Our guys didn’t quit, they held them off in overtime even though [the Lakers] had the momentum,” Toth said. “Unfortunate for them, they needed to win, we could settle for a tie and that’s what happened.”
Jon Phillips had two goals and two assists to lead Nanaimo’s offence, Tyson Roe scored twice as well and Nick Finlay, Conrad Chapman, Colton Clark and Cam Wengreniuk were other scorers. Evan Messenger dished three assists and goalie Charles Claxton made 52 saves.
Nanaimo’s first-round playoff opponent will be the Victoria Shamrocks for the second-straight summer.
“Playing Victoria, it’s going to be another hard-fought series. They’re a good team and we’ve just got to make sure we bring our A game,” Toth said.
The series gets underway Tuesday, July 30, in Victoria and the Timbermen will hope for fan support home and away as the Shamrocks fans travel well.
“I think it makes Island lacrosse more interesting. You get more fans out to both games – you get Nanaimo going to Victoria, you’ll get Victoria coming to Nanaimo. I think it’s a good thing for the sport on the Island,” Toth said.
GAME ON … Game 1 is Tuesday, July 30 at 7:30 p.m. atVictoria’s Q Centre and Game 2 is Thursday, Aug. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. Game 3 is Saturday in Victoria and Game 4 is Monday in Nanaimo.