Lakers In The News
Dan Lewis knows that the Burnaby Lakers just making the playoffs is an accomplishment. He wants to make the Langley Thunder and the rest of the league to learn they’re far from satisfied with that, though.
The young, upstart Lakers, who this summer made the Western Lacrosse Association postseason for the first time since 2008, are trailing the defending champion Langley Thunder 2-0 in the best-of-seven semifinals heading into Game 3 tonight in Langley (7:45 p.m.).
Lewis, the Burnaby starting goalie, insists the Lakers are still loaded with hope, and are shooting to be this year’s version of the Thunder, who were an unheralded crew last year before beating the Victoria Shamrocks and New Westminster Salmonbellies to win the title.
“It would be a very similar story,” said Lewis, whose team finished league play at 9-7-2, good enough for fourth spot and four points behind the league-leading, 12-6 Thunder. “Everyone thought they were going to get knocked off last by Victoria and then New Westminster.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work, guys bringing their lunch buckets. We’re going to need to outwork them.”
Burnaby lost the opener 9-8 on a power play goal with 35 seconds left from Langley’s Lewis Ratcliff. They weren’t nearly as good in Game 2, falling 9-6, with a couple of late Burnaby goals making the scoreboard read closer than the game actually was.
As much as the regular standings were close, the Thunder have star appeal. They have their top line-up rarely during league play. Langley, who went to the Mann Cup national finale last season behind an athletic defence, clutch goaltending from Brodie MacDonald and an offence led by slick Athan Iannucci, bulked up their scoring over the winter by adding the ballyhooed Ratcliff and Garrett Billings.
Ratcliff is a three-time former WLA scoring champion, including in 2004 with the Shamrocks. That was the last time the Lakers won a playoff round, beating the Coquitlam Adanacs in six games in the semifinals. Victoria beat Burnaby in five games in the league finale.
The core of this Laker bunch was in minor lacrosse back then. Lewis was a third-round draft pick in 2011. Matt Beers, one of leaders on Burnaby’s defence, was the first overall choice that year, while Scott Jones, the team’s second-leading scorer in the regular season, was sixth.
Team leading point producer Dane Stevens went fourth overall in 2010. Casey Jackson, who was third in scoring for the Lakers this season, was the third overall pick in the 2012 draft.
“We have playoff experience in other areas,” said Lewis, pointing to the likes of Beers, who has been on postseason runs in the National Lacrosse League with the Washington Stealth, “but getting in with this group of guys together is really important. The experience of the playoffs together is important.”
In the other semifinal, the third-place Adanacs are up 1-0 on the second-place Shamrocks heading into action Wednesday in Coquitlam
July 08 2012
Burnaby Lakers win season series with Salmonbellies
It’s coming down to truth or dare in the Western Lacrosse Association.
The Burnaby Lakers settled one score in the tightest league finish in decades, winning the season series against the New Westminster Salmonbellies following a 9-4 victory at home over last year’s regular season champions.
Burnaby pulled away late in the middle period on rookie Justin Salt’s authoritative breakaway marker.
Two minutes later, Matt Quinton scored the eventual game-winner after linemate Scott Tinning threaded the needle with a dandy set up at 15:56.
Burnaby outscored the senior ‘Bellies 4-1 in the final frame, sending the visitors packing on the road for the sixth time this season.
Dan Lewis got his second win of the season, boosting his league-best save percentage to .838, while also keeping his goals against average under six goals.
The win lifted the Lakers into a tie with the Victoria Shamrocks for second place in what appears will continue to be a race to the wire with five teams still very much in contention for the final three playoff spots.
Langley appears to have a lock on one of those playoff berths after distancing itself from the pack this weekend with road wins over Victoria and Nanaimo. The back-to-back wins gave the first-place Thunder a six-point bulge on the five tightly packed clubs that are separated by just three points from second to sixth place.
“From now on it’s going to be either us or them,” said Burnaby first star Dane Stevens, who led the Lakers with four points, including a pair of late markers.
“Tonight we came prepared. I know they were missing the odd player, but so were we. … We’re learning what it takes to win. You can’t learn that from not winning. It was like the games we were losing were heartbreakers.”
Stevens and Scott Jones, with his second tally of the game doubled the score for Burnaby in the opening minute of the third period. A minute later, Mike Brascia pumped up his team-high .417 shooting percentage with his WLA career-high 10th goal of the season on a break.
“Learning how to finish just doesn’t happen overnight,” added Stevens. “We carried the momentum into the third period and that put that doubt in their mind. That’s what it takes. I’m really proud of the guys.”
With the win, Burnaby improved its record to 6-5-2, but both Coquitlam, 9-8 winners over Victoria on Saturday, and Nanaimo are both well positioned and hold a single game and three games in hand over the Lakers, respectively.
Burnaby will finish off its regular season schedule with four of its remaining five games against either Coquitlam or Nanaimo.
The Lakers play host to the Timbermen at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre on Friday at 7 p.m. The two clubs played to an 11-11 draw in their first meeting in Nanaimo.
The following week, Coquitlam will be in town for an all-important Friday, July 20 tilt at 7:45 p.m. Burnaby scratched out an 11-10 overtime win at home over the Adanacs in June.
June 26th 2012
Jackson Decker named player of the year NCAA
Player of the Year – Jackson Decker, Limestone
Out of the four divisions that I cover, which also includes MCLA Division I, MCLA Division II and NCAA Division III, this was the toughest Player of the Year selection. There were numerous candidates in the running, but Decker outpaced the field to earn the honor.
Decker’s numbers speak for themselves – 36 goals and 12 assists out of the midfield – and he created match-up nightmares with his size and speed, even when opponents knew he was going to his right. The fact that he was able to stand out on the Saints despite the dynamic duo of Jackson (27g, 44a) and Loewen (48g, 20a) speaks to how important Decker was to Limestone’s run to the brink of a national championship.
Limestone head coach J.B. Clarke will have some large holes to fill when he reloads for the 2013 season, but none will be bigger than Decker with the versatility that he afforded the Saints’ offense.
Full story HERE
Lakers tied for early lead atop WLA
The senior A Lakers moved into a four-team tie atop the Western Lacrosse Association with a 9-6 victory over the winless Maple Ridge Burrards on Sunday.
The win, Burnaby’s second straight on the road, came in a five-goal third period, including four unanswered tallies in the final four-plus minutes at Planet Ice in Maple Ridge.
“Again, the defence won it the game for us,” said Burnaby assistant coach Gordie Gimple. “Joe Bell was solid in goal, but it was nip and tuck until half way though the third period.”
The Lakers held period leads of 2-0 and 4-2 in the first and second frames, respectively, but on each occasion allowed the Burrards a way back into the game.
Derek Lowe took that opportunity to put Maple Ridge in the lead for the first time, notching a pair four minutes apart to start the third period.
Shaun Dhaliwal tied it up 55 at the seven-minute mark, but Maple Ridge’s Dayne Michaud scored a go-ahead marker less than a minute later on Bell.
With less than six minutes left on the clock, game second star Scott Jones sparked the Laker rally with his second goal of the game, followed closely by Dane Stevens’ hat-trick tally that stood up as the game-winner.
Stevens, the game’s first star, chalked up his sixth point of the game on Scott Tinning’s second of the game. Stevens currently leads the club with six goals and six assists and is third in overall league scoring.
Mike Brascia then scored his third goal in as many games off the ensuing faceoff.
“They just came together,” Gimple added. “It was like a snapshot. We banged in a couple of quick goals and that was the end of it.”
Burnaby has struggled on offence, averaging just seven goals per game, and its power-play to date is second-worst in the league at just 17 per cent.
Part of the coach’s problem is trying to find that chemistry between players, said Gimple. The other part is the players knowing when to take the lead.
“There’s a point in the game you have to be selfish, and you have to know when to be selfish and when not to be. But when you get in the red zone, you have to be selfish,” Gimple said. “But it was a good win.”
The Lakers have a timely opportunity to put up more wins in the month of June, which includes games next week against both Langley and Maple Ridge. Burnaby completes its season series against the Burrards the following week.
Burnaby is at home for a tilt against New Westminster at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre on Friday. Game time is 7: 45 p.m.
“It will be a big game against New West, a big test,” said Gimple.
Eight Lions Earn All-DSC Honors
April 10, 2012
Cowx Player of the Year, Thilo named Freshman of the Year
Wingate, N.C.– Mars Hill senior attack T.J. Cowx has been named the 2012 Deep South Conference Player of the Year, league officials announced Tuesday morning. Mars Hill’s Taylor Thilo has been named the DSC Freshman of the Year. Tampa’s Rory Whipple has been named the league’s Coach of the Year.
Cowx led the DSC with 40 goals in 2012, while ranking fifth in the league with 19 assists. He led the Lions to a 7-1 mark in league play, helping Mars Hill earn a share of the regular season title. Cowx led the conference with 59 points and an average of 4.54 points per game. He had 23 goals and 13 assists in conference games, notching a league-best 36 points in DSC action.
Thilo piled up 30 goals and 23 assists in his freshman season to help lead the Lions to a share of the regular season title. He finished the regular season ranked second in the DSC with 54 points, while also finishing second in assists and sixth in goals. Thilo also earned Honorable Mention All-Conference.
Whipple guided the Spartans to an impressive 11-4 record in the program’s first season. Tampa went 7-1 in the DSC, sharing the regular season conference title. Whipple guided the Spartans to victories in the first three games in the program’s history, which included two conference wins and two road victories.
Mars Hill led the way with eight all-conference players, including a league-best four first-team selections. Cowx is joined by senior midfield Cade Zulak, senior long stick midfield Chris Cudmore and senior goalie Dylan Price. Zulak finished with 12 goals and 15 assists on the season, ranking seventh in the league in assists. Cudmore anchored a defense that finished third in goals allowed. He caused a team-best 35 turnovers, while piling up 77 ground balls on the year. Price led the conference with a .630 save percentage, while ranking second in the DSC, allowing 6.96 goals per game.
Mars Hill led the way on the second team with four players. Junior midfieldDan Applebaum earned second team honors, along with sophomore defender David Beaumont and senior defender Dalton Jernigan. Junior defender Ryan Herrmann earned second team specialist honors. Applebaum finished third on the team with 17 goals. Beaumont, Jernigan and Herrmann helped lead a defense that allowed just 7.0 goals per game, combining for 135 ground balls and 49 caused turnovers. Herrmann won 123 of 205 face-offs on the year.
Florida Southern was second with six total selections, including three first team honorees. Senior midfielder John Freda and sophomore defender D.J. Lubs earned fist team honors, while senior Adam Ismaeil earned first team specialist honors. Freda had 14 goals and 22 assists on the season, ranking fourth in the league in assists. Lubs helped anchor a defense that allowed just 7.91 goals per game. He finished second on the team with 19 caused turnovers, while adding 26 ground balls. Ismaeil had three goals and three assists on the year, adding 47 ground balls and 10 caused turnovers.
Catawba had four players earn all-conference accolades, including three first team selections. Senior attack Braden Artem earned first team honors, along with junior midfielder Tom Cullop and junior defender Drew Stoltz. Artem finished second in the DSC with 54 points. He ranked fourth in the league with 35 goals, while finishing fifth in the conference with 19 assists. Cullop ranked third on Catawba’s team with 35 points, notching 21 goals and 14 assists on the season. Stoltz anchored a Catawba defense that allowed 9.15 goals per game on the year. He collected 25 ground balls on the year, causing six turnovers.
Tampa had four players earn All-DSC honors, with two first team selections and two second team honorees. Junior midfield Greg Griffo, along with junior defender Wayne Magee earned first team honors. Griffo led the Spartans with 13 goals and 16 assists on the year. Magee led the league’s top-ranked defense, helping the Spartans hold opponents to just 6.93 goals per game. He had 18 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers on the year.
Saint Leo had three all-conference selections, including one first-team selection. Sophomore attack Matt Obermeyer earned first team honors. He netted 37 goals on the year, leading the league with 3.08 goals per game. Obermeyer finished fourth in the conference with 41 points.
Wingate senior midfielder Bryan Bayliss earned first team all-conference honors. He had 18 goals and six assists on the season, while collecting 43 ground balls and causing 12 turnovers.
Florida Southern senior attack Mat Thompson earned second team honors, along with FSC sophomore midfielder Kevin Naslonski and sophomore defender Larry Gress. Thompson led the Moccasins and ranked sixth in the DSC with 30 goals. Naslonski had 12 goals and four assists on the year for the Moccasins, while Gress was another important member of the league’s second ranked defense.
Tampa junior goalie Joseph Fiorucci earned second team honors, while graduate student Greg Khanzadian earned second team specialist honors. Fiorucci led the conference, allowing just 6.92 goals per contest. He finished third with a .583 save percentage. Khanzadian won 104 of 174 face-offs on the year, while also piling up 63 ground balls for the Spartans.
Saint Leo junior attack George Proechel earned second team All-DSC honors, along with junior midfielder Ray Ferrera. Proechel finished fourth in the conference with 51 points, ranking third in the league with 36 goals and seventh with 15 assists. Ferrera netted 14 goals for the Lions, adding three assists and 13 ground balls.
Rollins senior long stick midfield Andrew Vossler earned second team honors, while graduate student Peter Harvey earned second team all-conference honors as a specialist. Vossler was the anchor of the Rollins defense, causing 10 turnovers while collecting 33 ground balls. Harvey won 144 of 232 face-offs on the season, leading the league with 7.25 ground balls per game. He also had four goals and six assists for the Tars.
Catawba junior midfielder Cory Losselyong earned second team honors. He notched 15 goals and nine assists on the year, adding 15 ground balls.
Wingate junior attack Derek Watts earned second team honors. He led the Bulldogs and ranked fifth in the DSC with 47 points, while finishing second in the conference with 24 assists.
2012 All-Deep South Conference Team