Thunder opened the junior B lacrosse season with a convincing win

The Cowichan Valley Thunder opened the junior B lacrosse season with an 11-5 win over the Saanich Express at Archie Browning Arena last Friday, but they’ve still got a way to go before they are in mid-season form.

“The boys played well,” head coach Lorne Winship said. “They had good heart. They showed lots of spirit; everyone was excited.”

“We clearly showed we’re not in shape,” he added, laughing.

Cowichan came out strong, going ahead 5-0 in the first period and leading 7-1 after the second. The Thunder were a little less dominant in the third frame as both teams scored four times.

“It felt like we turned it off a bit,” Winship admitted. “That isn’t always the way you want to do things. It just happens.”

Brayden Zunti and Colin Winship both recorded hat tricks, with Zunti adding an assist, and Taylor Martin contributed two goals and three assists. Brandon Brown-Corby, Jacob Taylor and midget call-up Devyn Zunti each scored once. Kurtis Smith had three assists, and Robin Brooks, Kyle Page and goalie Pollo Claxton each had one helper. Claxton was also outstanding in net, as the official shot count showed Saanich out-shooting Cowichan 43-38.

The game was a rough one, and both teams racked up their share of penalty minutes.

“It was a little bit of jungle ball,” Winship conceded.

The Thunder will be in action again this Thursday as they visit the Westshore Bears at the Q Centre. Mathieu Jung is expected to make his season debut after arriving home from university in St. Louis, Missouri earlier this week, but Tyson Black remains sidelined with an ankle injury. Winship is excited to get both players back in action.

“When you add Black and Jung to our lineup, we’ll be a much different team,” he said.

Cowichan’s May 19 home opener has been rescheduled, and the Thunder will now play their first home game on May 26 against Campbell River Ravens at 3 p.m.

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