Sportsmanship guides midget C Thunder to provincial bronze

The midget C Cowichan Valley Thunder win the bronze medal at the provincial championship and were named the Most Sportsmanlike Team.

Not only did the midget C Cowichan Valley Thunder win the bronze medal at their provincial championship in Port Coquitlam last weekend, they were also selected as the Most Sportsmanlike Team out of all the midget squads — A1, A2, B and C — at the lacrosse tournament.

Head coach Les Thibedeau was impressed with the level of discipline his team displayed.

“Considering how things can go sometimes with my boys, they did really well,” he said. “Every practice, every game, we’re working on that.”

Keeping things under control is something the Thunder have worked on this season.

“That’s been our focus all year,” Thibedeau said. “The last five games we played, it all came together.”

In their final game of the tournament, Cowichan beat Kamloops 4-1 for bronze, avenging a loss to the Rattlers in their opening round-robin contest. The win was the result of an all-out effort.

“The boys kept their intensity and energy up for the full 60 minutes,” Thibedeau said.

That’s not easy to do, the coach admitted, especially when the other team is tired and playing a chippy game, trying to get under your skin. The Thunder finished that game with about 16 minutes in penalties, Thibedeau guessed.

“That was way less than Kamloops,” he said.

At the end of round-robin play, the Thunder missed qualifying for the gold-medal game by just two goals. In addition to their opening loss to Kamloops, the Thunder lost round robin games to West Kootenay and Vanderhoof. Against the Vanderhoof team, which won gold, Cowichan trailed 10-1 late in the game, but refused to quit and rallied for four more goals to make it 10-5.

Cowichan beat Nanaimo 9-1 at provincials, avenging their loss to the Timbermen in the Island midget C championship game.

All but five of the players on the bronze medal squad were on Thibedeau’s midget team that didn’t win a game last year. This year, the team had to play up at the B level due to a lack of C teams on the Island, and won two games prior to provincials.

Trevor Charlie was named Cowichan’s winner of the Fair Play Award, and goalie Nolan Thibedeau was named to the midget C all-star team.

For all but five of the players, this was their last season of minor lacrosse, as they will age up to intermediate. Thibedeau was pleased with the way they went out on a strong note.

“The boys really came together as a unit,” he said. “They all supported each other, which was great. They executed the stuff we had been working on all season. It was great to watch.”

The Cowichan bantam C, also coached by Thibedeau, won their Island banner and will play at provincials in Port Coquitlam this coming weekend.