There were two games on the WLA Schedule Friday night as the Nanaimo Timbermen took on the Victoria Shamrocks while the Langley Thunder took on the Burnaby Lakers.Â With the WLA season winding to a close each game has become more important as the teams battle for the playoffs.
The first game on Friday pitted the Victoria Shamrocks against the Nanaimo Timbermen. Victoria and Nanaimo have only met once this season with Victoria winning the only meeting between the two teams. The first period began with Victoria flexing their offensive muscle as they victimized Nanaimoâ€™s defense as Jeff Shattler, Corey Small, Ryan Benesch and Derek Lowe all scored just 7 minutes into the game in order for Victoria to take a 4-0 lead. Nanaimo got on the board 10 minutes into the game as Cory Conway scored in order to make the score 4-1. Jeff Shattler would add another goal with 6 minutes left in the period in order to give Victoria a 5-1 lead. At the end of the period Victoria was in full control of the game as they lead 5-1. Victoria would continue their offensive assault in the second period as Corey Small scored just 59 seconds into the period in order to give Victoria a 6-1 lead. Nanaimo would start to fight back though in the second as Ryan Keith and Cayle Ratcliff scored just a minute apart in order to make the score 6-3. Myles Kenny would then score for Nanaimo with 8 minutes left in the period in order to make the score 6-4. Victoria though would once again get back on track on offense with just 2 minutes left in the period as Corey Small and Ryan Benesch scored just 26 seconds apart in order to make the score 8-4. Blake Kenney though would respond with just 34 seconds left in the second period in order to make the score 8-5 at the end of the second period.
The third period began with Nanaimo continuing to fight back into the game as Cory Conway scored in order to make the score 8-6. Victoria would then respond as Jeff Shattler scored in order to make the score 9-6. Nanaimo would continue to battle with 10 minutes left in the period as Cory Conway scored to make the score 9-7. That was as close as Nanaimo got though as Victoria shut them down on offense and continued to light up Nanaimoâ€™s defense. Victoria would win the game 11-7 as Corey Small scored 2 goals in the last 7 minutes in the game in order to seal the win.
Nanaimo struggled tonight on defense and thatâ€™s what cost them the game as their defense could find no way to stop Victoriaâ€™s offense. Nanaimo stayed in this game due to great performance from Zach Boychuk and Cory Conway but they could not battle all the way back from the early hole they dug. Boychuk stopped 37 of 47 shots on net while Conway scored 3 goals and earned second star honors. Nanaimo remains in second last with the loss and will next be in action on Saturday in a rematch against Victoria.
Victoria looked to be in playoff form already as they dominated this game and kept control of the game from the very first moments as Victoriaâ€™s offense dominated Nanaimoâ€™s defense. Matt Flindell was excellent in net for Victoria as he stopped 41 of 48 shots on net and earned the third star of the game. Corey Small was also dominant for Victoria as he had 5 goals and 1 assist and earned first star of the night honors. Victoria with the win remains in second place 4 points back of Langley for first.
The second game on Friday night pitted the Langley Thunder against the Burnaby Lakers. Burnaby and Langley have met twice this season with each team winning a game. Burnaby needed a win in this game to keep pace with Victoria in the standings. The first period began with Burnaby drawing first blood in the game as Colton Clark scored 3 minutes into the game in order to give Burnaby a 1-0 lead. Langley would take control of the game though as Shayne Jackson scored just 30 seconds after Burnabyâ€™s goal in order to tie the game 1-1. Langley would continue their offensive momentum though as Joel McCready and Nik Billic scored to give Langley a 3-1 lead. Burnaby though would respond with 9 minutes left in the period as Rory McDade scored to make the score 3-2. Carlton Schuss would add another goal for Burnaby 3 minutes later in order to make the score 3-3. Athan Iannucci though would score with 2 minutes left in the period in order to give Langley a 4-3 lead heading into the second period.In the second period Alex Turner would score just a minute into the period in order to extend Langleyâ€™s lead to 5-3. The game would then turn into a defensive stalemate as neither team could get past the other teams defense. Lewis Ratcliff though would find a way to score on Burnaby’s defense with 9 minutes left in the period in order to give Langley a 6-3 lead. Burnaby would score just a minute later as Scott Tining scored in order to make the score 6-4 heading into the third period.
In the third period Burnaby would score just 12 seconds into the period in order to make the score 6-5. Langley though would respond quickly as Lewis Ratcliff scored to make the score 7-5 for Langley. Burnaby though would not back down as Carlton Schuss and Peter McFetridge scored a minute apart in order to make the score 7-7. With just a minute left in the game Garrett Billings scored to give Langley an 8-7 lead. Langleyâ€™s defense would then shutdown Burnabyâ€™s offense and hold on for the 8-7 win.
Burnaby played well on Friday night but just fell short of the victory. Burnaby looked great despite losing as Dan Lewis was solid in net once again as he stopped 29 of 37 shots on net and kept this game close.Â Scott Jones also had a great game as he had 3 assist on the night and was named third star of the game. Burnaby also got a great performance from Clark Colton who had 1 goal and 3 assists. Burnaby remains in third place with the loss. Burnaby will next be in action on Saturday night in their last game of the season against the Coquitlam Adanacs.
Langley proved once again why they are the team to beat in the WLA as they once again found a way to win a tight game. Brodie MacDonald looked to be back in playoff form as he stopped 44 of 51 shots on net. Garret Billings and Lewis Ratcliff once again proved their worth for Langley as Billings had 1 goal and 3 assists and was named first star of the game. While Ratcliff earned second star honors as he had 2 goals and 4 assists on the night and earned second star honors. This was the last game of Langleyâ€™s season and with the win they finish with 24 points and sit currently in first place in the WLA. Langley will now look towards the playoffs and to repeating as WLA champs.