With some of their top scorers missing from the lineup, the S&B General Contractors Cowichan Rats used their depth and teamwork to pick up a pair of wins over the Victoria Jokers last week.
The Rats went into last Thursday’s Victoria Senior Lacrosse League test in Esquimalt missing four of their five leading scorers, but Pete Vanden Dungen stepped up huge with four goals and two assists to lead the Rats to a 7-6 victory over the winless Jokers.
Dylan Dewarle added his first two goals of the season, Brent Collett scored one, and Nick Prangley and Kyle Kaltiainen each had a pair of helpers. Kevin Smith was solid between the pipes, finishing with 24 stops as the Rats outshot the Jokers 36-30.
Neither team was playing at full strength as Cowichan had just nine runners available, including a couple playing hurt, while the Jokers had 10 runners on hand.
Both teams had bigger lineups for their rematch on Saturday, which was also the Rats’ 2019 home opener and the first senior C lacrosse game at the Cowichan Arena since 2006.
With Vanden Dungen sidelined, the Rats once again looked to their depth for offence. Father and son duo Kevin and Conor Manahan found the back of the net for the Rats, as did Spencer Rooke, Luke Cuthbert and Wes Morris, all five notching their first goals of the young campaign. The Rats outshot the opposition for the fourth straight game, peppering the Jokers’ net with 49 shots, while Smith turned aside 34 of the 37 balls he faced.
Up next, the 3-1 Rats will face their toughest test so far this season when they play host to the unbeaten Victoria Blazers, who have won five of the last six VSLL titles. The action gets underway at the Cowichan Arena at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.