The Nanaimo Timbermen cruised to a huge 16-8 win over the Langley Thunder on Sunday night to tighten up the race for the top spot in the WLA standings.
We now know that Victoria can place no higher than fourth place. The Shamrocks are 8-7-1 for 17 points with two games remaining. Nanaimo sits in third at 11-5 for 22 points. Even if Victoria wins out, the most they can get is 21 points.
Meanwhile, at the top of the standings, New Westminster sits on top at 13-3 followed by Langley at 13-4. At 11-5, the Timbermen could pull into a tie for first place in the standings with two games remaining. To do so, Langley would have to lose to the Burnaby Lakers on Wednesday, while the Salmonbellies would need to lose to Maple Ridge on Thursday to set up a match between New Westminster and Nanaimo on Saturday that could pull the Timbermen into the mix.
The game on Sunday night was a shooting gallery as Nanaimo had 64 shots on net, while Langley had 55. Aden Walsh and Kyle Mooney split time in goal for Langley, while Delvin Shanahan got the nod for the Timbermen.
Slow start for Nanaimo
It was a slow start for the Timbermen in the first period. Langley jumped out to a 2-0 lead starting off with a goal from Dane Dobbie 5:18 into the game. Robert Church added a power play marker at 9:03 for the second goal.
Jon Phillips got the Timbermen on the board with 5:31 left in the first. However, Dylan Kinnear answered right back with 3:20 on the clock on the power play to restore the two-goal lead.
Jerrett Smith rounded out the scoring, taking a pass from Adam Wiedemann with 41 seconds remaining to make it 3-2 for Langley.
Timbermen’s offence breaks out in the second
Phillips tied up the game for Nanaimo 2:15 into the second period as the teams battled back-and-forth. Almost a minute and a half later, Matt Abbott scored unassisted for Langley at 3:41 as the Thunder regained the lead.
After that, it was all Nanaimo as they would score 11 straight unanswered goals in a span of 23:42 between the second and third periods.
Kyle Playsted tied up the game again at 5:37. Ryan Sheridan then gave Nanaimo their first lead of the game with 8:03 on the clock on the power play.
Zach Manns continued his strong summer campaign, scoring just under a minute later to make it 6-4.
Goals from Taggart Clark, Sheridan, and Manns would round out the second-period scoring as the Timbermen led 9-4 heading into the third.
Timbermen pour it on in the third
Nanaimo continued to kick it into top gear in the third period to keep their hopes of first place in the WLA alive.
Nathan Grenon, Brett McIntyre, Wiedemann, Manns and Colton Lidstone all scored in the first 9:19 of the third period as the Timbermen started to run away with it 14-4.
Nathaniel Kozevnikov finally got Langley back on the board 17 seconds after the Lidstone goal. It was the start of a three-goal run for the Thunder as they looked to close the gap.
Dobbie added a shorthanded marker with 7:59 left to play followed by Chase Scanlan shorthanded with 6:25 on the clock.
Graden Soucy and Wiedemann scored 30 seconds within each other to put Nanaimo up by nine, 16-7.
Tristan Kirkham rounded out the scoring for Langley to make the final 16-8, a game that will tighten up the race for first place in the WLA.
- Zach Manns, Nanaimo Timbermen
- Adam Wiedemann, Nanaimo Timbermen
- Dane Dobbie, Langley Thunder
Zach Manns, 3g 3a
Kyle Playsted, 1g 3a
Adam Wiedemann, 2g 2a
Jerrett Smith, 1g 3a
Dane Dobbie, 2g 3a
Tristan Kirkham, 1g 2a
Matt Abbott, 1g 1a
Jake Bowen, 2a
Robert Church, 1g 1a
Bobby Kidd III, 2a
Dylan Kinnear, 1g 1a