The King is dead, long live the King! Langley fans are hailing their team’s ascension to the top of the Western Lacrosse Association after a 7-5 win gave the Thunder the league title 4-2 over New Westminster. The Salmonbellies had come into this year determined not to lose another Mann Cup after dropping the last three to the Major Series Lacrosse champs. This, however, was not what they had in mind. Langley will now host the best-of-seven Mann finals September 7-15 against the winner of the Peterborough Lakers vs. Brampton Excelsiors MSL finals. The first period saw 27 shots but only 1 goal, from Athan Ianucci at 2:17. Langley ran off 3 straight in the first 7:31 of the second frame, though, to take control of the game. Alex Turner had a pair of goals for the Thunder and five other players added singles.
‘Bellie’s Junior call-up Brandon Goodwin had another strong outing to cement his status as a player to watch in the future, notching 2 goals and an assist to run his playoff total to 12 points in 6 games. Ilija Gajic scored a pair in the third period to bring New Westminster to the brink of tying it up, but Langley weathered the storm and closed it out on a Kerry Susheski empty-netter with just one second to play.
Each goalie made 36 saves but Brodie MacDonald was once again the story. After being pulled in Game 3, MacDonald was named the first star in each of the final three games as Langley stunned the defending champs with three straight wins to finish off the series.
In Okotoks, Alberta, the Whitby Warriors forced a deciding game in their best-of-three Minto Cup final series by beating the Coquitlam Adanacs 5-4. Mark Matthews, who won the Cup with Coquitlam last year, scored the winner for Whitby. See Ian Busby’s story for more about the game.
WLA Final (best of 7)
Langley 7, New Westminster 5 (box score)
Minto Cup Final (best of 3)
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