A nifty goal by Alex Turner four minutes into the second overtime session gave the Langley Thunder an 8-7 win over the host Coquitlam Adanacs on Saturday.
Just as importantly, Turner’s timely marker puts the Thunder one win away from the team’s second consecutive Western Lacrosse Association playoff title and Mann Cup appearance.
Saturday’s victory gave the Thunder a 3-1 lead in games in the best-of-seven series, which will not only decide the WLA playoff champion, but also the west finalist in the Mann Cup senior A lacrosse national championship.
The Thunder has a chance to end the series and win the WLA title on Monday (Aug. 27) at the Langley Events Centre. Game five of the series gets going at 7:45 p.m.
The teams traded goals throughout Saturday’s game.
They entered the first intermission tied 1-1. Coquitlam led 4-3 after two periods,.
Ahead 6-5 with under two minutes to play, the Adanacs were called for too many men on the floor, a call that if it occurs in the last two minutes of a game leads to a penalty shot.
The Thunder’s Lewis Ratcliff made no mistake, putting the ball past Nick Rose at the 18:13 mark to tie the score at 6-6 and send the contest into overtime. The game-tying goal was Ratcliff’s fourth of the night.
During the first 10-minute overtime session, Langley’s Joel McCready and Coquitlam’s Daryl Veltman found the net, setting the stage for the dramatic sudden-death second overtime period.
Ratcliff with four, Turner, McCready, Kerry Susheski, and Shayne Jackson scored for the Thunder.
Kevin Olson scored a hat trick for the Adanacs in a losing effort.
Thunder goaltender Brodie MacDonald was deservedly named first star of the game. The 6’7” netminder, who won the WLA rookie of the year award in 2011, stopped 53 of 60 Coquitlam shots.
At the other end of the floor, Rose, the 2012 WLA Most Valuable Player and top goaltender, stopped 54 Thunder shots and earned the nod as the game’s second star.
The Thunder won without the services of head coach Rod Jensen, who was suspended for a game by the WLA for his part in an altercation with an Adanacs’ fan at the conclusion of Thursday’s game three at the Langley Events Centre.
Thunder 9, Adanacs 5
The Thunder and Adanacs appeared well on their way to a barnburner during game three of the series.
But in the third period of Thursday’s game at the Langley Events Centre, a pair of Thunder snipers found their range and blew a close game open.
The teams were tied 5-5 after two periods of play.
Then, courtesy of two goals from Susheski followed by back-to-back markers from Ratcliff to cap the night’s scoring, the Thunder outscored the Adanacs 4-0 in the final stanza to win 9-5.
The Thunder got off to a quick start Thursday, with Nik Bilic finding the net seven seconds into the game.
Momentum swung back and forth from there and by the time the opening period ended, the Thunder and Adanacs were deadlocked at 3-3.
The teams tallied two goals each in the middle frame.
Then the Thunder took over, but not territorially. Langley only had a 19-18 edge in shots in the third frame.
Ratcliff led the Thunder offence with three goals and two assists. Susheski and Turner each scored a pair. Garrett Billings tallied once and added four assists for the home team, while Bilic rounded out the list of Thunder goal-getters.
Kevin Olson led the Adanacs’ offence with two goals and two assists. The league’s leading playoff scorer, Dane Dobbie, was held to a single goal.
The Thunder has yet to taste defeat on its home carpet during the 2012 playoffs and, including the regular season, is riding a five-game home winning streak.
– With files from the Western Lacrosse Association website, www.theboxrocks.com.