Thunder draw Saints in opening round
The Langley Junior B Thunder could be peaking at just the right time.
The team heads into the BC Junior Tier 1 Lacrosse League playoffs this week riding a season-high four-game winning streak. The hot finish to the regular season earned the club the fifth seed among the 10-teams with a 10-8 record, just one point back of their first-round opponent, the Port Coquitlam Saints. The Saints will have home-floor advantage after finishing one point (10-7-1) ahead of the Thunder.
The teams played twice during the regular season, with Port Coquitlam winning 7-6 in late May before Langley took the rematch 9-5 just over a week later. Both teams won on their opponents’ home floor.
Offensively, the Thunder outscored the Saints by more than a goal per game, averaging 10.7 compared to Port Coquitlam’s 9.6. The Saints were led by the duo of Jacob Dunbar (45 goals, 69 points) and Austin Wahl (23 goals, 62 points) while Kyle Brunsch led Langley with 26 goals 55 points, followed by Chase Moore’s 53 points, including a team-best 30 goals.
The Thunder also featured five players with 19 or more goals, compared to two for Port Coquitlam, as well as trade deadline acquisition Kyle Nichols, who had a six-goal debut for Langley last week.
Defensively, the Saints allowed 7.61 goals per game compared to Langley’s 8.6 and the teams’ goal differential were nearly identical with the Thunder finishing +38 and Port Coquitlam right behind at +36.
Down the stretch, Langley has primarily ridden the hot hand of Riley Richardson in goal, and the netminder has responded. Richardson is 6-2 and boasts the second-best save percentage in the league at .839 and the fourth-lowest goals against average at 7.43.
The Saints counter with the tandem of Calvin Hofner (6-3-1-1, 7.61 GAA, .810 save percentage) and Connor Ramage (4-2-0-1, 7.11, .751).
And the special teams battle is also split as Langley has the more successful power play – 35 per cent success rate vs. 33 per cent – while Port Coquitlam counters with the superior special teams, killing off 77 per cent of their penalties compared to the Thunder’s 72 per cent.
Speaking of special teams, Langley should have plenty of opportunity with the man advantage as the Saints average a league-high 34.0 penalty minutes per game, nearly 13 minutes more than Langley (21.1).
The series begins July 12 at the Port Coquitlam Recreation Centre at 8 p.m. and the Thunder host game two on Tuesday, July 17 at Langley Events Centre at 7:30 p.m. If necessary, game three would be back in Port Coquitlam on July 19.
For more information:
Gary Ahuja, Langley Events Centre, 604.613.5242 (cell), 604.455.8830 (office) or email.