A comparatively young Cowichan Valley Thunder team proved it was among the best in B.C. last weekend when they won the silver medal at the intermediate B lacrosse provincial championships in Richmond.
The Thunder played the Coquitlam Adanacs in the gold-medal game on Monday, a day after losing 14-6 to the same team, and came much closer to winning the rematch, falling 13-9. Trailing 9-6 after two periods, the Thunder fought back to make it 9-8 before the Adanacs pulled away again. Cowichan head coach Lorne Winship called Coquitlam – who allowed just 49 goals while going 15-1 in 16 league games – the best team his group had faced all season.
"You go over there, and you don’t know what you’re going to get," he said. "We had heard good things about Coquitlam, that they were the team to beat."
Drawing from a huge organization, the Adanacs can put together a very strong squad loaded with second-year players, one that Winship believes could beat many intermediate A teams. By contrast, the Thunder went into the tournament with a roster made up almost entirely of first-year intermediates, with just one secondyear player, Jimmy Johnnie, and two midget call-ups in Mathieu Jung and James Taylor.
Cowichan opened the tournament with a 14-6 win over Quesnel, holding the Interior champions to just two goals over the first two periods. Game MVP Colin Winship led the team with seven goals and two assists, while Taylor had three goals and one assist, and Jung scored twice and added five helpers. Tyson Black scored one goal and set up four more, and Brandon Corby finished with a goal and an assist, while Dallas McLaughlin earned the win in net.
The Thunder carried the momentum into their second game, a 17-6 win over New Westminster. Winship again scored seven times and added three assists, while Black
had four goals and four helpers.
Jung finished with two goals and six assists, Taylor had two goals and one assist, and Corby scored a pair of goals. Josh Porter and Kane Stewart had one assist apiece, and Steven Robertson was named game MVP.
In their final round-robin game, Cowichan lost 14-6 to Coquitlam.
"We kind of held back in the third game, knowing we had already qualified and would play them again for gold," the coach said.
Game MVP Corby finished with a goal and three assists, and Mitch Page scored twice. Black, Winship and Jung each had a goal and an assist, and Taylor, Johnnie and Liam Clinging each recorded one helper.
Colin Winship finished with 16 goals and 11 assists over the four games and was honoured as the top scorer, along with receiving a spot on the tournament all-star team.
The coaching staff, which included Neil Gailey, Derek Anderson, Traves Black and trainer Brent Anderson, was pleased with the result of the season, Cowichan’s first in the inter B ranks in several years.
"It was an awesome season," Winship said. "It was a super group of guys."