The Langley Thunder opened the WLA Championship with an 11-9 win over the New Westminster Salmonbellies on Wednesday night at Queen’s Park Arena.
Langley dominated through much of the game as they led 9-6 after two periods of play. New Westminster tried to mount a comeback in the third but came up just short.
Robert Church had the hot hand for Langley. He finished with four goals, including a natural hat trick in the first, and four assists for eight points. The Salmonbellies spread the ball around with eight different goalscorers led by Keegan Bal with a pair of markers.
Church Is In Session
New Westminster got on the board first only 27 seconds into the game when Haiden Dickson found the back of the net.
Connor Robinson tied it up 57 seconds later and then it was all Church. He scored three straight to give Langley a 4-1 lead.
Dane Dobbie rounded out the scoring with 4:27 to play on the power play to make it 5-1 Thunder after the first period.
Salmonbellies Claw Back Into The Game
Curtis Dickson put Langley ahead by five 2:53 into the second period. Brandon Goodwin got New Westminster back on the scoresheet at 6:42 but the Salmonbellies still trailed 6-2.
Curtis Dickson struck again 2:14 later before New Westminster would go on a three-goal run. New Westminster took advantage of a Dylan Kinnear five-minute slashing penalty. Kevin Crowley and Mitch Jones scored on the man advantage. Bal added another with 6:08 left on the clock as Langley’s lead was reduced to 7-5.
Fresh out of the penalty box, Kinnear scored with 4:25 left and Patrick Shoemay replied for New Westminster at 1:47.
Curtis Dickson rounded out the scoring with a buzzer-beater with the extra attacker was Langley led 9-6 heading into the third.
Salmonbellies’ Comeback Falls Short
New Westminster opened the third period with goals from Jordan McBride and Keegan Bal as the gap got narrowed to one midway through the final frame.
Church put Langley up 10-8 with 8:33 on the clock but Drew Belgrave scored 1:10 later to keep the Salmonbellies within one.
Kinnear rounded out the scoring with 3:50 left was Langley took Game 1 of the WLA championship 11-9. Game 2 goes Friday night in Langley.
- Robert Church, Langley Thunder
- Kevin Crowley, New Westminster Salmonbellies
- Curtis Dickson, Langley Thunder
Robert Church, 4g 4a
Curtis Dickson, 3g 3a
Connor Robinson, 1g 2a
Dane Dobbie, 1g 2a
New Westminster Salmonbellies
Mitch Jones, 1g 3a
Kevin Crowley, 1g 2a
Will Malcom, 3a
Keegan Bal, 2g 1a