Thunder stay alive

by Gary Ahuja

For much of the first period, it looked like the Langley Thunder’s post-season was going to be done and over with in a hurry.

The Junior B Thunder, already down 1-0 in the best-of-three quarter-final series, found themselves trailing 3-0 to the Port Coquitlam Saints with just over four minutes to go in the opening frame on Thursday night at Langley Events Centre.

Up until that point, Langley had struggled to mount much of an attack, and were plagued by errant passes and unforced turnovers. In game one, two nights earlier, the Thunder trailed 4-0 after 20 minutes, ultimately falling 7-6 in the opening game of the BC Junior Tier 1 Lacrosse League series.

But sometimes, a single goal can spark a turnaround and this time, Langley received a boost prior to heading to the locker room.

Kyle Brunsch got the home side on the board and the Thunder came out to score five of the seven goals in the middle stanza on their way to a 10-6 victory.

The deciding game of the series will be played at the Port Coquitlam Recreation Complex on Thursday, July 19 with the winner set to face the Victoria Shamrocks in the league semifinals.

Langley coach Kris Bryde said the message to his team was they simply had to battle.

“We couldn’t get any rhythm in the first and needed to stop their transition, that was the biggest thing,” he said. “And we accomplished that in the second.”

Sparked by Brunsch’s late goal, Ty Ewen and Chase Moore scored two apiece for a 5-4 lead and after the Saints tied it at five, Brunsch came up with a huge individual effort with his team short-handed, shaking off the Port Coquitlam defenders to give his team the lead for good.

Brunsch set up Moore for his hat trick goal early in the third for a two-goal lead and Langley never looked back.

“(Kyle) made some beauty individual efforts to get in on goal and finished just how we talked about,” Bryde said.

Ewen would add three goals in the final 8:18 to finish with five goals and two assists while Brunsch had two goals and three assists and Moore had three goals and one helper to lead the Langley attack.

Ewen downplayed his individual effort.

“It feels better to get the win and stay alive in the playoffs,” he said. “We knew our backs were against the wall and just had to come out firing.”

Now comes the deciding game, which will be in Port Coquitlam. In both games the Thunder have fallen behind, and while they got away with it in game two, players and coaches know it is not a recipe for success to be playing from behind.

“Every goal matters, especially in the playoffs. Goals come few and far in between. Defences tighten up and every team is at its peak,” Bryde cautioned about getting a better opening 20 minutes in game three.

“A good start is going to be huge in game three. We were lucky to come back in this one, but we need a better start in their barn,” Ewen added.

Riley Richardson finished with 43 saves for Langley as the Thunder were outshot 49-41.

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For more information:

Gary Ahuja, Langley Events Centre, 604.613.5242 (cell), 604.455.8830 (office) or email.