New Westminster Keeps Pace For First Place In The WLA

Shawn Slaght, All Lacrosse All The Time – A Division of the Edge of Philly Sports Network

The New Westminster Salmonbellies picked up a 13-8 win over the Nanaimo Timbermen on Thursday night to keep pace with the first-place runners in the WLA.

The Salmonbellies improved their record to 4-1 to put them in a tie with the Langley Thunder for first place. Nanaimo also sits with four wins but has three losses.

Mitch Jones put up eight points on Thursday night for New Westminster, while Kevin Crowley had a hat trick and seven points. Neil Tyacke stopped 49 of 57 shots for the win. The Timbermen only trailed 8-5 heading into the third period but Tyacke shut the door even though Nanaimo outshot the Salmonbellies 21-14 in the final frame.

Ryan Martel had a strong night at the faceoff dot, winning 13 of 17 draws for New Westminster. Connor Evers also won four of six draws for the ‘Bellies.

First Period a Game of Runs

Momentum swung like a pendulum in the first quarter with Nanaimo taking an early lead with a two-goal run. New Westminster would counter with a three-goal run themselves.

Zach Manns got the Timbermen on the board first 4:21 into the game on the power play followed by Adam Wiedemann taking a feed from Evan Soucy and burying it would 7:20 left on the clock.

Haiden Dickson got the ‘Bellies on the board with 2:39 left on the power play. Only 22 seconds later, Jordan McBride took a pass from Crowley to even the score at two.

New Westminster took the lead off a buzzer-beater from Noah Armitage with the extra attacker on the floor to make it 3-2 after the first period.

Timbermen Stay Within Striking Distance

Crowley opened the second period scoring 1:38 into the frame to give New Westminster a two-goal cushion. On the power play, Jon Phillips would get the Timbermen back within one at 4:42.

New Westminster went on a three-goal run in a matter of 2:16 as the ‘Bellies began to pull away. Mitch Jones started the run 6:36 into the period followed by Crowley on the power play 1:24 later. Jordan McBride rounded out the three-goal run at 8:52 to make it 7-3 for the Salmonbellies.

Zach Manns and Dickson would exchange goals before Phillips would score with 4:17 remaining to make it 8-5 for New Westminster heading into the final frame.

New Westminster Holds Off Nanaimo’s Third Period Rally

Special teams took over early in the third period. Power play goals from Crowley and Martel gave New Westminster a five-goal advantage. A third power-play goal came from the Timbermen’s Evan Messenger with 7:25 to play.

Jason Jones found the back of the net with just under seven minutes left to play to extend the Salmonbellies’ lead to 11-6. Dickson rounded out a two-goal run for New Westminster with 4:48 left on the clock.

Frustration boiled over with 3:25 left in the game with Mitch Jones and Armitage for New West and Nathan Grenon and Nate Wade for Nanaimo dropped the gloves and all four were called for fighting.

The fight briefly brought life back to Nanaimo’s offense. Phillips scored his hat trick goal with 2:22 left in the game. Jason Jones replied on the power play for New Westminster with 1:13 on the clock and Grenon rounded out the scoring with 26 seconds left to make the final 13-8.

Tyacke gave his thoughts after the game:

Three Stars

  1. Mitch Jones, New Westminster Salmonbellies
  2. Neil Tyacke New Westminster Salmonbellies
  3. Kevin Crowley, New Westminster Salmonbellies

Top Scorers

New Westminster Salmonbellies

MItch Jones, 1g 7a

Kevin Crowley, 3g 4a

Haiden Dickson, 3g 2a

Nanaimo Timbermen

Zach Manns, 2g 2a

Jon Phillips, 3g 1a

Taggart Clark, 3a

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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.