The Nanaimo Timbermen are showing a willingness to work overtime to try to achieve their goals.
The city’s Western Lacrosse Association club tied the Victoria Shamrocks 13-13 on Tuesday night in Nanaimo’s home opener at Frank Crane Arena.
Trailing 12-8 halfway through the third period, the T-men turned up their game a notch and forced OT. They fell behind in the extra frame, too, and needed a goal from Cayle Ratcliff with 45 seconds left to earn the tie.
The T-men had lost their season opener to the Maple Ridge Burrards two nights earlier on the mainland, 8-6 in overtime, so the draw against the defending WLA champions signals progress.
“We’re happy that we battled back,” said Bobby Debrone, T-men defender. “We’re getting used to tight games and getting closer to finishing them out so I think we’re trending in the right direction.”
Vic was the better team in the first period and led 5-2 through 20 minutes, but Nanaimo shored up its game in all areas.
“In the second and third … [we] started hustling and winning those loose-ball battles that we needed and getting to the middle of the floor on offence and creating those scoring opportunities,” said Kaleb Toth, the team’s coach.
A second-straight third period comeback is a positive sign for a young team, he said.
“Pride goes a long way and I see a bunch of kids in there with pride and with heart and they just don’t quit and that’s a good thing to have because you can’t teach that,” Toth said.
Cody Bremner led Nanaimo with a hat trick and four assists, Macgregor Johnston had two goals and three helpers and Ratcliff had a pair of goals. Hugh Weir scored on a penalty shot, Jamie Sorensen scored off a standout catch and Paul Brebber, Doug Langlois and Kyle Hofer also tallied. Zak Boychuk made 52 saves as shots were 71-65 in favour of the home team.
For Victoria, Corey Small had four goals and three assists and Rhys Duch also had a four-goal game. Bradley Kri tallied twice and Tyler Hass, Blair Pinnock and Mike Pires were other scorers for the Shamrocks.
One other highlight of opening night was attendance, strong even on a weeknight.
“What we lack in star power we’re trying to make up with some grit and hustle and play an exciting brand of lacrosse to keep fans in the stands and give them something to look forward to,” Debrone said.
The T-men continue their busy start to the WLA season with a rematch against the Shamrocks on Friday (May 23) down the Malahat.
“It was great to tie them but we’ve got to keep improving every single game … and play as tough as we did tonight,” said Toth.
GAME ON … The next home game for the senior A Timbermen is Sunday, when they host the Coquitlam Adanacs at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. For ticket information, please visit www.tmen.ca.