Langley Thunder upset WLA powerhouse New Westminster Salmonbellies

What’s the best way of instilling confidence in a team that has lost four games in a row?

How about beating the best team in the Western Lacrosse Association, handing it its first loss of the season, and putting an end to its season-long, six-game undefeated streak, to boot.

That’s what the Langley Thunder did Thursday night at New Westminster’s Queen’s Park Arena.

The Thunder’s 8-6 win over the New Westminster Salmonbellies slides into the “upset” category as the Thunder snapped their aforementioned four-game skid to improve to 3-5 while the Salmonbellies dropped to a still-impressive 6-1.

The Thunder built a 5-1 lead by scoring four unanswered goals in the first period and early in the second stanza.

They continued to control the first half of the game, taking a 7-2 lead on rookie Anthony Malcom’s third of the night scored with 4:21 to go in the second period.

Then, it was a matter of hanging on, especially in the third period where the Salmonbelllies outshot the Thunder 21-11 and outscored them 4-1.

The Thunder’s lone goal in the final frame was an empty-net tally from Jakob Doucet with 46 seconds to go in regulation, which made it 8-5 for the visitors.

Twenty-one seconds after Doucet scored, the Salmonbellies Jordan McBride scored his second of the game, but New West ran out of time.

Along with Malcom’s three goals, veteran Athan Iannucci scored a pair while Alex Turner, Doucet, and Pat Saunders (who added two assists to his totals) also found the net for the Thunder.

Another Langley veteran, Lewis Ratcliff, tallied four assists on the night.

Thunder goaltender Rocky Bowman stopped 44 of 50 shots and was named the game’s first star.

As of Saturday, Malcom and Saunders share the league lead in goals with 16 apiece while Saunders is the WLA’s top point-getter with 34.


Burnaby Lakers 12, Thunder 11

The Thunder looked to tie the game as Alex Turner dove across the crease with 1:44 left in the third period, only to have it waved off by the referee.

That would be costly as the Lakers held on for a 12-11 win at the Langley Events Centre last Wednesday, June 17.

The visitors handed the Langley their fourth straight loss as they still search for their first win at the LEC.

Rookie forward Anthony Malcom scored a team-high four goals to go with his five points.

Pat Saunders also had five points and jumped back into the league lead in the WLA scoring race.

Alex Turner chipped in with four points in the defeat.

The Thunder looked to be in big trouble early as the Lakers scored six of the first seven goals of the game to lead 6-1 after 20 minutes, with Malcom scoring the lone goal for the home side.

The second period saw the Thunder go on a run of their own scoring four straight goals, including a pair of powerplay markers to cut the Burnaby lead to 7-5 midway through the middle frame.

The Lakers answered with the next two goals to lead 9-5 after two periods.

Langley scored six times in the third period but a Steven Neufeld goal at the 8:26 mark of the third period where he was left all alone in front of the Langley net proved to be the game winner as Burnaby evens its record to 4-4.

The Thunder return home next Wednesday to host the Maple Ridge Burrards. Game time at the LEC is 7:45 p.m.

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