Islanders not content with 6-1 start

Head coach and assistant general manager Greg Rennie suggested a few weeks ago the Delta Islanders wouldn’t be making any significant moves until some time in June. That forecast took a sudden change with his team needing to address a couple of areas ahead of pivotal weekend games. 

The B.C. Junior “A” Lacrosse League club pulled the trigger on two trades and also made a key addition to its coaching staff.  

The Islanders acquired veteran defender Ian Hamer-Jackson from the New Westminster Salmonbellies in exchange for Chandler Bradley and future considerations. That deal came one day after landing intermediate age goalie Roman Rose from the Port Coquitlam Saints for Delta’s first round pick in the 2018 midget draft. 

Rennie also announced highly-respected coach and good friend Neil Doddridge will be joining his staff for the balance of the season.  Doddridge has achieved just about everything imaginable as a player and a coach.   As a standout defender, he won seven Mann Cup titles, a pair of professional championships and even helped the Ladner Pioneers win the President’s Cup.  Behind the bench, he guided the Coquitlam Adanacs to a pair BCJALL titles in 2013 and 2014.  He will join forces with Marty O’Neil to oversee the Islanders’ defence which has struggled out of the gate despite the team’s 6-1 record. Delta has a key game in Port Coquitlam (4-2) Friday night and again on Saturday when the Salmonbellies (4-2) visit Ladner at 7:30 p.m.  “With all his experience, Neil is a huge addition for us,” said Rennie. “We have been good friends since winning a President’s Cup together (in Ladner) and we’re just fortunate he is available. Marty is out-of-town this weekend and (offensive assistant) Logan (Schuss) is unavailable too. I didn’t want to be going into PoCo being by myself behind the bench.”
 
With just a 21 game regular season schedule and the stakes so high this season, Rennie couldn’t wait any longer to shore up his team. 
 
PoCo has been the early surprise story with only two losses, including one by forfeit to Nanaimo. Friday’s meeting will be the first of three head-to-head games as the teams jockey for home floor advantage in a potential semi-final series that would determine a Minto Cup berth.

Hamer-Jackson gives Delta another veteran player at the back who is outstanding on draws.  “He brings toughness, speed to our defense and is also is the best face off guy in our league,” said Rennie. “He is a really talented player who played in WLA playoffs last year for the Salmonbellies. “It’s a pretty big pick up for us.” 

The club was still waiting for the deal for Rose to be approved by the league. In question is his territorial rights given the former Team BC goalie played his minor lacrosse in Langley.  Rose played in 17 games for PoCo’s Intermediate “A” team last season and will be aged up to join the Islanders once the trade is finalized.
 
Delta notched its sixth win of the season on Sunday in Nanaimo, 14-7.   The visitors erased an early 2-1 second period deficit with six unanswered goals to take control. The Islanders outscored the Timbermen 13-1 from the 3:51 mark of the second to the early stages of the third.  Evan Messenger padded his lead atop the league scoring race with five goals.  Chase Fraser added seven points, including a pair of goals. Jayden Campbell recorded a hat trick and Jon Phillips also scored twice.  Matt Keith made 43 saves for the win. 

MARK BOOTH | DELTA OPTIMIST - MAY 25, 2016 

© 2016 Delta Optimist

- See more at:  delta-optimist.com/sports/