Burnaby Lakers lose league opener

The Burnaby Lakers didn't start the new Western Lacrosse Association season the same way they finished last year.

Last year's league champions lost to the 2017 cellar dwelling Langley Thunder 12-7 in the WLA league opener on Wednesday.

Last season, Langley finished at the bottom of the table in the seven-team summer loop but looked anything but a door mat, getting a first-star, five-point debut performance from No. 1 overall junior A draft pick, Connor Robinson, in its home opener.

Nick Jensen, a fresh pick up in a trade with New Westminster just days earlier, gave the visiters an albeit short 1-0 lead, with his first senior A goal, on his one-and-only shot on goal, just three minutes into the match up.

But Langley answered quickly and put three more past Burnaby starter Zak Boychuk before the first period ended, erasing the Lakers lead that lasted for all but a minute-and-a-half.

The second period proved no friendlier to the green and white.

The Thunder widened the deficit to 7-1 before Burnaby draft pick Luke Brine tallied his first-ever WLA marker midway through the contest. Brine, a sixth-round selection in the recent draft, also collected a second counter late in the final frame to finish with a team-high four-point night.

But Burnaby would never get closer, giving up two goals in the opening minute of the third period and another pair almost a minute apart halfway through the final stanza.

The Lakers closed the contest with three unanswered tallies, including back-to-back power play goals from veterans Scott Jones and Dane Stevens, with his second score of the game.

Langley was the better side on special teams, scoring four times on seven separate man advantages, while also getting an unassisted short-handed counter from Preston Lupul on a penalty kill that gave the Thunder a six-goal lead halfway through the second period.

Burnaby came into the game with a short bench, dressing only 18 runners.

Next up for the Lakers are the Victoria Shamrocks in a Friday night match up on the Island.

Photos courtesy of Garrett James