Just like the resilient creatures from which they take their name, the Cowichan Rats can’t be kept down for long.
After suffering their first loss of the Vancouver Island Lacrosse League season at the hands of the Saanich Express on May 28, the Rats rebounded by stringing together four wins in just seven nights to improve their season record to 8-1, while Tyson Black compiled 18 goals.
Back on the floor at the Cowichan Arena last Wednesday night, the Rats defeated the Victoria Blazers 11-3. Black led the way with five goals and one assist, while captain Dylan Dewarle had four helpers and Jeremy Achtzner scored two goals and set up another.
Josh Hayton and Brayden Zunti also found the net, as did Shayne Alexander, who was knocked down by a Blazers defender only to scoop up the loose ball and beat that same defender to score his second goal of the year. Cowichan goalie Ryan Brabander stopped 22 shots to earn the win.
In Esquimalt the following night, the Rats faced the Victoria Jokers for the first time this season and came away with a 9-4 victory. The Jokers scored two of their goals during a 10-minute powerplay in the third period and added another shortly after it expired.
Black had another four goals, and Zunti notched a hat trick and one assist, with Dewarle and Aidan Miller adding singles. Brabander made 23 stops for the win.
Black, Zunti and Josh Hayton each scored three times on Saturday night as the Rats returned home to beat the Jokers 13-6. Zunti added three assists, and Black and Hayton each had one. Jeremy Achtzner scored twice, Clayton Vickers had one goal, and Aidan Miller totalled three helpers. Brabander was credited with 15 stops, while Jim Blackwood kept the Jokers alive with an astonishing 50 saves.
In Esquimalt again on Tuesday, Black scored six goals and set up three more and Vickers had four goals and one assist in a 16-2 win over the WSANEC Arrows. Zunti finished with four assists, Hayton and Pete Vanden Dungen each had two goals and one helper, and Aidan Miller and Conor Manahan had one goal apiece. Brabander stopped 19 of 21 shots.
The Rats will play host to the Arrows again this Saturday at the Cowichan Arena, facing off at 7:30 p.m.