With just one berth at the midget B provincial box lacrosse championships available to Island teams, instead of the usual two, the Cowichan Thunder got close, but ended up on the outside, looking in.
The midget B Thunder made it through two rounds of playoffs, then lost the one-game Island final to the Saanich Tigers at the Panorama Recreation Centre last Wednesday.
The Thunder and Tigers had battled twice earlier in the season, with Saanich winning the first game by two, and the second game ending in a draw. Cowichan had just one day off after playing three semifinal games against Juan de Fuca, and the exhausted Thunder ended up on the wrong side of a 12-2 score.
The Thunder swept past the Nanaimo Timbermen in the first round of the playoffs, winning 8-3 at the Nanaimo Ice Centre on June 29 and 5-4 at Frank Crane Arena on June 30.
Against JDF in the second round, Cowichan won 10-6 at the Q Centre on July 8, then lost 8-7 at the same arena the next night. They clinched the series on July 10 with a 6-3 victory at Panorama.
Devyn Zunti led the Thunder with 52 goals, 21 assists and 73 points over the season, followed by Kalum Lachance (23-21-44) and Brandon Carlson (19-19-38), but everyone on the team played a role.
“All the kids played really well,” manager Teri Zunti said.
The hero of the Thunder’s season, however, was goalie Jeremy Benson, who stepped between the pipes when Cowichan didn’t have a goalie for the midget level this season.
“Without Jeremy, we wouldn’t even have a team,” Zunti said. “He was phenomenal. A lot of people are shocked when they find out he’s never been a goalie before.”