WLA notebook: Cory Conway working to find his role with new team in Nanaimo

Scott Ranger is one of the game's best scorers but has some additional help this summer in Nanaimo. (Photo: Dan Brodie)
Scott Ranger is one of the game's best scorers but has some additional help this summer in Nanaimo. (Photo: Dan Brodie)

The first step was making the trade for Cory Conway. The second step was getting him to report. The third step was finding a way for him to be a part of an offense that included Scott Ranger, Joel Henry, Kaleb Toth and hotshot rookie Cody Bremner. The fourth step has yet to come, but so far so good for Conway and the Timbermen, who are running with the leaders so far atop the Western Lacrosse Association loop with 4 points. “Anytime you’re with a different group of guys and there’s a different dynamic, you’re going to have different roles,” Conway told the Nanaimo News Bulletin. “I’m anticipating not carrying the ball as much and helping my teammates get open.” Conway came to Nanaimo following a trade with Coquitlam and his first game with Nanaimo was against his old mates, where he scored 1 goal and 2 assists in a 7-4 victory.

“Anytime you’re playing against some of your friends … you’ve got to kind of put that aside,” he said. “Everybody’s out there trying to win a lacrosse game.”

The prospect of playing with a new group of guys was a major motivator, said Conway, not to mention the urging from his NLL team, the Calgary Roughnecks, who wanted him to play summer ball. And the new guys are more than happy to have Conway aboard.

“He’s a great athlete, he sees the floor really well and he’s got a great shot,” Toth told the News Bulletin. “He’s an all-around great offensive player and bringing him in was key for us to have success.”

Conway, the second-leading WLA scorer in 2011 with 82 points for Coquitlam, is part of an offensive unit that now has the top 2 scorers so far this season in Ranger (13-12 for 25 points) and Bremner (9-10 for 19). But personal statistics are not the aim, he says.

“Everybody’s kind of unselfish, everybody’s working together and if I get the points, I get the points,” he said. “The biggest thing is if we get the win. That’s what counts.”

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Once the Timbermen got the rights to Conway from Coquitlam for a second-round draft pick in 2013 and a first-rounder in 2014, Nanaimo had to find a way to convince him to play. Having some NLL teammates in Nanaimo helped, and the Adanacs made no secrets about their desire to shop Conway despite his offensive production. “He’s a very skillful guy, but he wasn’t doing the things we wanted him to do so it was time to move,” Coquitlam GM Randy Delmonico said. (The Now News) … The Burnaby Lakers are one of those 4 teams witih 4 points atop the league table. Both victories have come on the road and their only home game was a loss. Assistant coach Gordie Gimple says it’s the defense that deserves credit, especially after Sunday’s 9-6 win over Maple Ridge, which was the second straight opponent held to single digits. “Again, the defence won it the game for us. Joe Bell was solid in goal, but it was nip and tuck until half way though the third period.” (Burnaby Now) … All 4 Gajic brothers, Nenad, Ilija, Alex and Milan are together in New Westminster, which is off to a 2-0 start with plenty of contribution from the Fearsome Foursome. “I wasn’t surprised we looked that sharp.  They’ve all been working so hard,” said Ilija, who led the Salmonbellies with 4 goals and 2 assists in the team’s home-opening win over Nanaimo. (Royal City Record) … Getting the oldest brother, Milan, 30, to join his brothers in New Westminster took a lot of convincing, especially after Milan last played Junior A with Burnaby and left after winning a Minto Cup to focus on professional hockey. “My brothers and Dan Richardson put the full-court press on me right away. I almost had to change my number to get away from everything. In the end, I think it means a lot to my parents — a helluva lot. That was a big reason why I came back. If they didn’t voice the opinion and let me know that they’d love to see it, it would have been an easier decision.” (The Province) … Coquitlam has lost 2 straight games after opening with a win over Maple Ridge and the offensive output of 7 goals and 4 goals in the losses have a lot to do with the absence of forward Dane Dobbie, who injured his knee in the loss to New Westminster and plans to have an MRI this week. “We looked like we were going to beat (New Westminster) until Dobbie got hurt, and losing him really was a hit to our offence. We had controlled the game to that point, but had trouble generating offence with him out of the lineup,” GM Randy Delmonico said. (The Now News) … The Victoria Shamrocks have done very well defensively in allowing a combined 11 goals in their 2-0 start to the season, but the 19 goals scored leaves a bit to be desired. “With the group we have, we should be more effective offensively,” new coach Bob Heyes said. (Saanich News) … Coach Darren Fridge says his Maple Ridge Burrards team needs a bit of nastiness to turn around its 0-3 start. The Burrards still are without Curtis Dickson, who is healing from an injury suffered in the NLL season. Jarrett Davis is on his way back to the team, and once the return of that duo is complete, Fridge is hoping it will spark an offense that has scored just 15 goals in the 3 games so far. “It’s like taking on an AK-47 with a pistol. You need to score at least 10 goals to win games in this league and right now we don’t have the scoring,” said Fridge. (Maple Ridge News) … Clint “Bubba” Westwood is back with the New Westminster Salmonbellies after working a trade with Nanaimo that gave the ‘Bellies one of their former players back and gave the T-men a third-round draft pick in 2013 and and a fourth-rounder in 2014. (TheBoxRocks.com) … It took a couple of games, but the Langley Thunder may have finally gotten their offense on track. The defending WLA champs opened the 2012 season with a pair of losses and were held to 7 and 4 goals. But in last night’s 14-10 win over Nanaimo, their first of the season, the Thunder scored more goals than their first 2 games combined. It was the first game of the season that all 3 of their high-profile snipers played together as Garrett Billings (2-7), Lewis Ratcliff (4-1) and Athan Iannucci (3-0) led the way offensively.

Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at bob.chavez@nllinsider.com or go to RochesterSports.com.

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