Timbermen grind out first win

Nanaimo Timbermen player Mat MacLeod takes a shot on goal against the Maple Ridge Burrards during Sunday’s Western Lacrosse Association game at Frank Crane Arena. The Coastal Windows Timbermen won 8-7.

Nanaimo Timbermen player Mat MacLeod takes a shot on goal against the Maple Ridge Burrards during Sunday’s Western Lacrosse Association game at Frank Crane Arena. The Coastal Windows Timbermen won 8-7.

The Nanaimo Timbermen have talked all season about how difficult it is to play from behind. On Sunday, they got a chance to play with the lead – it wasn’t easy, either, but they gutted out the win.

The Coastal Windows Timbermen senior A lacrosse team (1-2-1) defeated the Maple Ridge Burrards 8-7 at Frank Crane Arena.

“It was our turn to win a one-goal battle,” said Art Webster, Timbermen coach. “We battled all the way through. It’s a learning curve and I thought they handled it very well.”

The T-men were without MVP Lewis Ratcliff due to injury, but the defence and goaltending were top-notch. Goalie Matt King made a huge save with five seconds left to preserve the win.

“We have a young team and it’s a process learning to play with a lead,” King said. “At the end we started to bend a little bit, but it was a good win.”

Timbermen players said they felt better about the way they came prepared to play from opening faceoff. Still, said defender Rob Kirkby, holding the lead was a challenge.

“You’re protecting something and you sometimes get on the defensive and the hardest thing to do is play aggressively when you have a lead,” he said. “I think we did that well tonight.”

Offensively, the MacLeod brothers were the catalysts. Mat endeared himself to fans in his first game in T-men colours, scoring four goals, and Mike had two goals and two assists. Joel Henry and Doug Langlois also scored.

The victory was a big one in the locker room.

“We’ve been close the last few games and it’s been very frustrating because we’ve felt like we should have had a few wins,” said Kirkby. “We’re coming together. It’s still early, but one win is one win and we’ll just keep going with it.”

Webster said the win helps the T-men put their close early-season losses behind them and focus on the present, where they’re right back in the hunt in the WLA.

“We can’t look at what has happened in the past, we’ve got to keep taking steps forward and we’re going to do that,” he said.

LACROSSE TALK … Shots in Sunday’s game were 39-38 in favour of the Burrards … Lewis Ratcliff is expected back in the lineup for Nanaimo’s next game Sunday (June 12) against the Coquitlam Adanacs at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. Please look for a game preview in an upcoming issue of the News Bulletin.

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