The Nanaimo Timbermen are off to their best-ever start after back-to-back wins against the Victoria Shamrocks.
Nanaimo’s senior A lacrosse team swept its Island rivals to start the Western Lacrosse Association season, winning 8-6 down the Malahat on Friday and then winning 12-9 in overtime Sunday at Frank Crane Arena.
“I’m very proud of the way that they’ve shown so far in those two games,” said Kaleb Toth, Timbermen coach. “They’ve been working really hard and they’re working as a unit.”
Sunday’s game needed more than just a 60-minute effort. Although the T-men, led by goaltender Zak Boychuk, built a 7-3 lead early in the third period, the Shamrocks chipped away and forced OT. Overtime was all Nanaimo, with Cody Bremner scoring in the first minute and Mac Johnston and Mitch Parker adding insurance goals.
Toth said his team did the little things it takes to win. The T-men were winning a lot of races and making the most of their possessions.
“It’s a different mentality,” the coach said. “Guys want the ball. They want to battle, they want to compete. They’re not scared to go into the corners; they’re not scared to cut through the middle.”
Cayle Ratcliff, T-men captain, said the team’s success this weekend came through its work ethic.
“From Day 1, we knew our MO was going to be hard work,” he said. “We’re not the most skilled team; we’re going to have to outwork teams and I think we showed this weekend what we’re capable of.”
The T-men won’t get too far ahead of themselves, but they’ll enjoy these wins and start thinking about the next ones.
“The whole culture’s changed here,” said Brody Eastwood, T-men forward. “Everyone wants to win, everyone’s ready to go and I’m really excited for this season.”
In Sunday’s game, Bremner had two goals and four assists and Eastwood, Randy Jones and Johnston also had two-goal games. Kyle Hofer, Ratcliff, Paul Brebber and Parker were Nanaimo’s other scorers. Boychuk made 51 saves for the win.
For the Shamrocks, Scott Ranger and Corey Small had two goals each and Cody Hagedorn made 37 saves.
In the season opener in Victoria, Eastwood scored four goals, Parker had a goal and three helpers and Bremner had four assists. Doug Langlois, Johnston and Jake Emms were the other scorers and Boychuk made 44 saves.
Duch scored a hat trick for the ‘Rocks in that one and Hagedorn made 30 saves.
GAME ON … The T-men play just one game next weekend, Sunday (May 31) when the New Westminster Salmonbellies visit Frank Crane Arena for a 7 p.m. faceoff.
— Greg Sakaki (@BulletinSports) May 25, 2015