Victory clinches playoff berth for Thunder

by Gary Ahuja

Get in the playoffs and anything can happen.

That is the hope for the Langley Thunder Junior Tier 1 Lacrosse team who took care of the first part of that on Tuesday night at Langley Events Centre, knocking off the Maple Ridge Burrards 12-5.

The Burrards were in must-win territory, playing their final game of the BC Junior Tier 1 Lacrosse League regular season and trailing both the New Westminster Salmonbellies and Thunder by two points. But Langley’s victory improves the Thunder to 7-10 on the season with one game to play and pulls them two points ahead of the Salmonbellies in the race for seventh place in the standings.

Maple Ridge finishes the season at 5-13.

The Thunder wrap up the regular season on Friday in Delta while New Westminster still has a pair of games remaining.

“It is all for the playoffs, that is what you play for. Regular season is all about placement and finding out that matchup. Playoffs, you get a hot team, a hot goaltender, anything can happen,” said Thunder coach Kris Bryde.

At one point in the season, Langley sat at 5-5 before a five-game losing streak threatened to torpedo their season. But this now marks two straight victories for the Thunder, and just as importantly, the team has been playing much better, showing great ball movement on offence and winning the loose ball battles for extra possessions.

“We have been rolling for the last few games here and we have been waiting for that to happen. We are starting to really gel as a team and guys are playing their roles,” Bryde said. “The ball movement is much better and our transition is better out there.”

In Tuesday’s game, Langley held a slim 3-1 lead following the first period before a five-goal middle frame essentially put the game out of reach, leading 8-3 before doubling up Maple Ridge 4-2 in the third.

The Thunder had a balanced attack with eight players finding the back of the net, led by two goals apiece from Kanen Hunter, Tristan Kirkham, Braiden Struss-Reid and Cooper Gettel. Kirkham also had three assists while Kyle Brunsch had five assists as both players finished the night with five-point games.

Dryden Recsky made 35 saves in the Thunder goal.

Maple Ridge was led by Kyle Bailuk’s goal and two assists.

Langley wraps up the regular season on Friday night at 8:30 p.m. when they travel to the Ladner Leisure Centre.

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For more information:

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