The Nanaimo Timbermen made sure their home opener was a barnburner.
The city’s senior A Western Lacrosse Association team, the Coastal Windows Timbermen, battled the New Westminster Salmonbellies to a highly entertaining 14-14 tie on Sunday night at Frank Crane Arena.
After trailing by as many as four goals in the first period, the T-men chipped away and actually went ahead 13-12 with 21 seconds to go in regulation before the ‘Bellies managed to force overtime.
“We’ll take it,” said Joel Henry, Timbermen forward. “It’s early in the season, we’ve got to get points when we can.”
The Salmonbellies had the early edge, scoring on their first shot on goal and eventually chasing Nanaimo’s starting goalie, Matt King, late in the first period.
But with scorers Scott Ranger, Lewis Ratcliff and Henry leading the attack and backup goalie Zack Boychuk holding the fort, the Timbermen stayed with the Salmonbellies the rest of the night.
“That’s the great thing about lacrosse, is goals come in twos and threes. There’s big momentum swings,” Henry said. “It’s a long game and you get the ball for half of it, usually, so you take your opportunities.”
Henry’s go-ahead goal in the last minute rolled slowly over the line to give the home team the potential game winner, but the ‘Bellies called timeout, pulled their goalie and potted a rebound with two seconds left to make it 13-13.
Coach Art Webster was impressed that his team didn’t let itself get deflated after giving up the late marker.
“We battled that hard to get back in the game and we knew we couldn’t give up on it just because they got a lucky goal,” said Scott Ranger, team captain.
The late stages of the game might have been the most memorable, but the Timbermen will also try to learn from the early stages.
“We’ve got a lot of things to clean up,” said Webster. “We just can’t keep turning the ball over and allowing them to transition us in the first period the way they did.”
The tie represents significant progress for the Timbermen, even though they were again missing a lot of bodies for a variety of reasons.
“We’re starting to get our full roster,” said Ranger. “Now you’re going to start seeing us practise more together and play more together and hopefully we all start jelling as a unit now.”
LACROSSE TALK … Ranger finished with six goals and six assists, Ratcliff had a hat trick and seven assists and Henry had a hat trick and four helpers. Jake Emms and Ryan Forslund were Nanaimo’s other scorers … Shots were 61-53 in favour of New West … Bubba Westwood, Bobby Debrone and Mike MacLeod sat out the game due to suspension, Cayle Ratcliff is off participating at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship and Carlton Schuss missed the game due to travel problems on game day … Nanaimo’s next game is May 31 when the Victoria Shamrocks visit Frank Crane Arena for a 7 p.m. game.