What had been a tense, defensive struggle turned into a laugher as the Oceanside Sharks midget lacrosse team rode a six-goal outburst in the final 21 minutes to a 9-4 win over visiting Saanich in Vancouver Island box lacrosse play at Oceanside Place Arena.
The teams were tied 3-3 and locked in a goalie duel until the final minute of the second period, when the Sharks took the lead on a power-play tally by Aiden Sutherland. The midgets then poured in five goals in the decisive third period to pull away.
“I’m not sure what caused it,” said Derian Thompson, who scored two goals and added three assists in the win. “But everyone just started going harder. As we started scoring more, everyone got in on it.”
Tyler Smith scored four goals and Sutherland had two goals and two assists as the Sharks improved to 2-1 on a four-game home stand to kick off divisional play.
Through the middle of May, Vancouver Island teams had competed to establish B and C divisions.
Oceanside was placed in the B division, and their recent success at home has allowed the squad to overcome a slow start and move into the middle of the pack as teams jockey for playoff positioning.
“These are the games that count, now,” said Thompson. “We like to be at home. There’s less travel, and more rest.”
The Sharks jumped out to a quick start Saturday, with Thompson putting the hosts on the scoreboard just 1:06 into the game. Saanich answered to tie it two minutes later, but Oceanside restored the lead at 2-1 on Smith’s first goal at 6:37 of the period.
The teams then entered a long stretch of play characterized by back-and-forth action punctuated by big saves by Saanich goalie Nick King and Sharks netminder Lauren Martynyk, who was filling in for regular goalie Jarrod Dykstra. Each team scored once more in the first, and both teams managed just a single goal in the second before the Sharks’ offence erupted to put the game out of reach.
Captain Zack Wheldon had a goal and two assists and keyed several breakouts with stingy defensive play in his own zone. Jose Hope and Dawson Fyfe each had two assists, and Adam Bougie chipped in a helper.
The win avenged a road loss to the same Saanich squad by an identical 9-4 score two weeks earlier. The midgets next play at home Saturday, June 11, when they host Cowichan Valley at 3 p.m.
Oceanside Sharks goalie Lauren Martynyk steers aside a Saanich shot during Saturday’s Midget B contest at Oceanside Place Arena. — Image credit: J.R. Rardon/PQB NEWS