A big hit can really change the momentum of a lacrosse game.
Usually, the change goes in favour of the team that delivers the hit, but it went the other way for the Cowichan Valley Thunder last Tuesday evening.
Graham Winship laid out a Saanich Tigers player late in the second period of the game at Kerry Park Arena, but he ended up tossed from the game, depriving his team of one of its top players. The Thunder had been ahead before Winship’s hit, but saw their lead fall away and only scored once in the third, ultimately falling 11-10.
“It seemed to really change the tempo of the game,” head coach Lorne Winship said of Graham’s hit and its fallout. “The team that gives out the hit usually gets the momentum, but this time it backfired on us.”
The coach felt the punishment didn’t fit the crime.
“It was a suicide pass,” he said. “I don’t dispute the fact that Graham charged him, but it was shoulder to chest; there was no contact with the head.”
The game was an exciting one, even if it didn’t end the way the home team and crowd would have preferred.
“I’m sure the fans got their money’s worth,” Winship said. “Obviously, we didn’t like the result.”
Adam Golia scored four goals, Tyson Black had one goal and four assists, and Graham Winship had three goals and one assist before his early exit. Liam Clinging added one goal and one assist, Tyler Clint had one goal, and goalie Pollo Claxton two assists while keeping his team in the game.
The first few weeks of the season have been frustrating for the Thunder, who have unlimited potential but have thus far been unable to meet lofty expectations. Winship is nonetheless seeing steady improvement.
“I told the guys after the game that I’m pleased with their progress,” he said. “They’re better than they were three weeks ago. We’re going in the right direction, but we can still play a lot better.”
The Thunder were scheduled to visit Saanich on Friday, but had too many players unavailable due to work reasons. They tried to reschedule, but missed the 48-hour window to do so, and had to take a forfeit. The hosted Westshore at Kerry Park on Tuesday, and will visit Saanich again this Friday, followed by a trip to Nanaimo next Wednesday.