Red hot Langley Thunder spring to life

What a difference a week-and-a-half can make.

Langley Thunder players and coaches woke up Monday morning, May 26, with the realization that they had stumbled to an 0-3 start to their Western Lacrosse Association season.

Adding to the misery, they were licking their wounds from a 15-3 drubbing at the hands of the host Maple Ridge Burrards the night before.

Jump ahead to late Friday night, June 6, and the Thunder are arguably the surprise team of the WLA.

They had just handed the Burnaby Lakers their first loss of the season, beating the hosts 12-8 at Burnaby’s Bill Copeland Arena.

The victory was the Thunder’s third straight win and evened their record to 3-3.

To kick off the streak, the Thunder avenged their blowout loss to the Burrards by beating them 11-7 at the Langley Events Centre (LEC) on May 28.

“It’s a combination of things,” Thunder head coach Rod Jensen said, regarding his team’s recent string of success. “Against Maple Ridge, we got really embarrassed [on May 25], so the next game was a pride game, and our first home game, and that got ourselves going a little bit. Then we were able to have a full week off between games, and… get two wins at home with a very young team.”

The surprise element isn’t simply attached to the Thunder’s win streak, but also that they are going to battle each night – during the early part of the season, anyway – missing a veritable who’s who of North American boxla stars.

The surprise element isn’t simply attached to the Thunder’s win streak, but also that they are going to battle each night – during the early part of the season, anyway – missing a veritable who’s who of North American boxla stars. Notable NLL snipers Dane Dobbie, Garrett Billings (on the IR), Adam Jones, Mark Matthews, and Shane Jackson, along with key defenders Mike Grimes and John Lintz, just to name a few, aren’t with the team.

To climb out of the hole, the Thunder have leaned on a pair of veterans: lefty Alex Turner leads the team in goals (12) and points (28) while towering Athan Iannucci is tied with Turner for the team lead in assists (16) and has notched eight goals.

“The four guys who have stood out have been Alex Turner, Athan Iannucci, Ian Poole, and our captain, Matt Leveque,” Jensen said. “They have provided not only leadership, but a solid base.”

As well, 6’7” goaltender Brodie MacDonald has weathered the early season storm, and has started all six games for the Thunder.

“Brodie is the backbone of our team. He’s our last line of defence,” Jensen said. “I also give credit to the four seniors who are holding the fort.”

Jensen considers MacDonald to be the best goaltender not only in Western Canada, but the entire country.

“At the end of the day, we have a real advantage over a lot of the teams,” Jensen said. “He makes difficult saves look very easy.”

 

Thunder 12, Burnaby Lakers 8

Leading 8-6 after 40 minutes of play, the Thunder out-scored the Lakers 4-2 in the third period to seal the victory.

The Thunder scored the final two markers of the night, off the sticks of Iannucci and Turner (with one minute to go in the game) to give themselves some breathing room.

Iannucci led the way offensively with a six-point night, on two goals and four assists.

Turner notched a hat trick while adding a pair of assists to his totals.

Also having a productive night for the Thunder was  Daniel McQuade, who tallied twice to go along with a single assist.

Brett Baron (who added two assists), Poole, and Tom Johnson rounded out the Thunder goal-scorers.

 

Thunder 13, Coquitlam Adanacs 10

The Thunder improved to 2-0 at the Langley Events Centre with a win over the Adanacs last Wednesday, June 4.

Langley exploded for nine goals in the second period, turning a 4-2 deficit into an 11-8 lead. The Thunder’s Johnson scored three of his four goals on the night during the middle stanza.

The teams exchanged two goals apiece in the third period.

By the time the final buzzer sounded, Johnson had tallied four times, Turner finished the night with eight points including two goals and six assists, James Rahe notched a hat trick and one assist in his regular season debut, and Tyler Melynk scored a pair of goals.

Iannucci scored once and added five assists, and Adam Will had a three-point night on a goal and two helpers.

 

FINAL BUZZER: The Thunder will face a huge test this Wednesday (June 11), when the WLA-leading (and 4-0) Victoria Shamrocks visit the LEC to take on the Thunder at 7:45 p.m.

Tickets are available at the LEC box office.

Jensen knows the Thunder will have their work cut out for them Wednesday, and is guardedly optimistic when it comes to the remainder of the 18-game campaign.

“We’re excited about the three wins, but the [team] is young so there will be a lot of ups and downs,” he said.

Just Posted

Make-A-Wish BC grants Langley girl’s wish

Mae Ten Haaf battled a brain tumour much of her young life, and recently returned from Disney World.

Mark Warawa won’t run in the next election

Langley MP issues a statement about his impending retirement from politics.

Giants defenceman Bowen Byram named WHL On the Run Player of the Week

Registered three goals and three assists in a pair of victories for Langley-based team

British wheels have a certain appeal

Langley Area Mostly British Motoring Club celebrates English auto design

LETTER: Langley resident says a cancer plague is building

A Langley City man believes a poor diet and unhealed emotions are part of his cancer journey.

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of Brunette overpass

Dash cam footage shows a vehicle speeding across a Lower Mainland overpass

Surrey needs 350 more cops, activist tells council

‘Right now we are 350 police behind what our population requires,’ politicians are told

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Where mattresses go to die

Mattress Recycling opens the largest of its kind mattress-recycling facility in Hope

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Millennial Money: Don’t let Instagram envy get you into debt

A full 48 per cent of U.S. households have credit card debt

Jury debates fate of man accused of killing 12-year-old B.C. girl 40 years ago

Police allege Garry Handlen told a cop how he abducted, sexually assaulted and strangled Monica Jack in May 1978

Most Read