New Westminster Are The 2023 WLA Champions

From missing the playoff last season to coming out on top, the New Westminster Salmonbellies are your 2023 WLA champions.

The Salmonbellies defeated the Langley Thunder 12-7 on home floor on Tuesday night in Game 7 of a hard-fought championship series.

After finishing with a record of 9-9 in 2022 and missing the post-season. The Salmonbellies didn’t settle for OK this season and will now face the Six Nations Chiefs for the Mann Cup.

For the storied franchise, this is their 22nd WLA title and their first WLA championship since 2017. They are looking to capture their 25th Mann Cup.

The New Westminster offense was dominant in Game 7, outshooting the Thunder 61-47 including 26 shots in the first period alone.

They were led by Will Malcom with four goals and three assists. The majority of the offense for Langley came from Dane Dobbie with four of the Thunder’s seven goals.

‘Bellies Gain Early Momentum

Langley opened the scoring with an unassisted goal from Curtis Dickson 39 seconds into the game. However, that didn’t translate into any type of momentum for the Thunder.

Patrick Shoemay tied up the game 6:59 into the frame to start a three-goal run for New Westminster.

Will Malcom put New Westminster ahead 2-1 with 10:19 followed by Haiden Dickson with 4:16 to play as the Salmonbellies led 3-1 at the first break.

New Westminster extends their lead

Langley tied it right back up early in the second period. Dobbie found the back of the net 23 seconds into the period and struck again 1:12 later.

New Westminster answered right back with three goals in a 3:00 span. Will Malcom scored 3:58 into the second. Mitch Jones would follow that up with 14:39 to play. Brandon Goodwin then made it 6-3 on a solo effort.

Dobbie struck twice. First on the power play with 10:57 on the clock and again at 6:04 to make it a one-goal game. Langley would then go 15:04 without a goal.

Mitch Jones and Haiden Dickson scored 1:00 apart as the Bellies led 8-5 heading into the third.

Salmonbellies Crowned WLA Champions

New Westminster kept their foot on the gas in the third period. Kevin Crowley extended the lead 2:33 into the third followed by Anthony Malcom 3:22 later.

Robert Church ended the goalless drought 9:08 into the third but the Thunder defense had no answer for New Westminster’s offense.

Will Malcom scored twice 51 seconds apart to all but put away the game. Chase Scanlan scored for Langley with the extra attacker with 3:28 to play but it wasn’t enough as the New Westminster Salmonbellies were crowned the 2023 WLA champions.

Three Stars

  1. Will Malcom, New Westminster Salmonbellies
  2. Zach Higgins, New Westminster Salmonbellies
  3. Dane Dobbie, Langley Thunder

Top Scorers

New Westminster Salmonbellies

Will Malcom, 4g 3a

Mitch Jones, 2g 3a

Noah Armitage, 3a

Langley Thunder

Curtis Dickson, 1g 3a

Dane Dobbie, 4g

Robert Church, 1g 2a

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Shawn Slaght
Shawn Slaght

Shawn Slaght has been a sports reporter across the Canadian prairies for over 10 years and has experience covering everything from junior hockey to World Cup skiing to all levels of lacrosse. He is the Saskatchewan correspondent for All Lacrosse All The Time.