OLD & YOUNG MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN ISLANDERS SEASON-OPENING WIN
MAY 7, 2018 05:26 PM
It took all of one game for the Delta Islanders to surpass their 2017 accomplishments.
The Islanders opened the 2018 B.C. Junior “A” Lacrosse League season Saturday night with a 10-5 victory over the Port Coquitlam Saints at the Ladner Leisure Centre. Given what happened a year when the club finished with a 4-17-0 record and only managed to defeat Nanaimo (1-18-11) and Burnaby (3-15-3) twice, it was an encouraging start to say the least.
The Saints came into Ladner with a 1-0 record and finished third in the league last season at 13-8-0. Yet it was the Islanders that set the tone early by jumping out to a 3-1 lead then taking full control with three unanswered to close out the second period.
The game was the full-time junior “A” debut for a significant number of players — many that could still be playing intermediate under the old age format — as co-head coaches Kyle Goundrey and Andy Ogilvie lean on that young talent to change the team’s fortunes.
“Some our young guys are used to winning and some of these older guys are not,” smiled Goundrey. “Hopefully it can pay off (going) with these younger guys because it’s expected of them.
“They were missing some guys (still at school) tonight and so were we. But not was out home opener, first league game and it’s a win. It’s something that these guys need to get used to is nobody comes in here and walks on us.”
The Islanders relied on their experience and youth to get the job done.
Player Riley Phillips, the lone remaining member of the 2016 championship team, led the way offensively with six points, including four goals. Rookie standout Haiden Dickson added a hat trick. Singles came from Connor Evers, Ryan Jones and Sekawnee Baker.
Evers is among the young additions at the back end of the floor. The former Team B.C. captain is coming off his freshman season at University at Alabama Huntsville and was a key member of a Ridge Meadows team that finished second at intermediate “A” provincials last year. Homegrown products Max Stalling, Jared Moloci, Jake Cantlon, Mark Yingling and Dickson are other Team B.C. alumni who were in the Delta line-up on Saturday, while Jon Greig is another valuable defensive addition.
Among the few bright spots last season was goaltender Brody Harris. He picked up where he left off with a stellar outing, making 38 saves.
When the Saints did make a second period charge to make it a 5-4 game, Delta didn’t wilt and instead responded with pair of goals from Dickson and another from Phillips in the final four minutes of the frame. Responding to adversity was rare a year ago.
“Our offence needed to move the ball. They knew when they were just burying their heads it wasn’t working for them. When we started to move the ball again we got the opportunities. Hopefully they know that now as they better understand our systems,” added Goundrey.
The Islanders return action Saturday when the Burnaby Lakers visit Ladner at 7 p.m.
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