Cowichan Valley lacrosse fans flocked to the Island Savings Centre on Saturday evening to catch the first senior A lacrosse played in the area in several years, and they weren’t disappointed.
Although the host Nanaimo Timbermen fell 9-6 to the New Westminster Salmonbellies, the Western Lacrosse Association game was a success for the organization, which said in a release on Monday that they were considering a return trip.
“The Timbermen organization is very excited about the prospects of heading back to Duncan once again down the road,” the statement said.
The T-Men fell behind in the first period, and despite dominating the second, couldn’t bounce back.
“You can’t spot a team a 6-1 lead in any sport and expect to win,” head coach Kaleb Toth said. “We’ve done that before, but it’s a tough thing to do.”
Unfortunately, Toth admitted, that’s been typical of Nanaimo’s play this season.
“We’ve got a young team, and that’s an excuse, but it’s becoming too much of an excuse,” he said. “And it’s not just the rookies making those mistakes.”
One rookie who stood out on Saturday for several reasons, not the least of which is his 6-10, 260-pound frame, was Tyson Roe, a product of the Cowichan Valley Lacrosse Association now making his mark at the senior level.
Roe, who had several family members on hand for the game, admitted he was pumped up.
“I had lots of energy,” he said. “I basically didn’t get any sleep last night.”
He would have been happier with a different result.
“We keep doing this to ourselves in the first period, falling behind 6-1, 5-1, 4-1,” he said.
Toth is pleased with Roe’s progress this season. Although he didn’t figure in the scoring on Saturday, he was effective on defence, and has picked up two goals and five assists in 14 games so far.
“He’s got such size and strength, he can dominate guys when he chooses to,” Toth said. “He’s got a very big upside and I’m looking forward to coaching him for a long time.”
A star in the National Lacrosse League for 13 years, Toth thinks Roe belongs at the top levels.
“He has the opportunity to play a long time in this league, and maybe pro, too.”
Two players who grew up in Ontario but now call the Cowichan Valley home did make a mark on the scoresheet. Hugh Weir scored Nanaimo’s first goal, and Blake Kenny assisted on one of Paul Brebber’s two second-period goals. Blake’s brother, Myles, was 10-for-12 in the faceoff circle.
Adding to the Valley presence was assistant coach Keegan Young, a Shawnigan Lake native.
The T-Men remain outside the playoff hunt, but can still sneak in as the season draws to a close.
“We have three games left, and we have to win all three,” Roe said. “If we win all three, I think we’ll make it, but it’s going to be tough.”