Timbermen chop up 'Bellies to start 2-0

by Owen Munro

It was a weekend years in the making.

The Nanaimo Timbermen rarely come out of the gate firing on all cylinders as they have struggled mightily in previous seasons, but ask any player or coach and they'd tell you this season felt different. Much like the WLA T-Men, being overlooked isn't a new concept for the Island club, but many people predicted the team would have one of the best seasons in recent memory with more experience and depth. 

So it was likely no surprise to those people that Nanaimo outlasted the Delta Islanders on Saturday afternoon. What comes as a shocker is that the pulled off another one-goal win, this time a 10-9 win over New Westminster, a team with its sights solely set on a Minto Cup appearance. 

Nanaimo took advantage of a 'Bellies parade to the penalty box in the first period, potting three of its four first period markers with the man advantage. This game was skewed heavily to Special Teams play; there was a seven-goal stretch in the middle frame where every goal scored was on the Power Play. Only five of the 19 goals scored were at even strength. What's even more impressive is that Nanaimo did much of the damage without Ryan Sheridan, who had six goals and nine points in Saturday's win over Delta. They got major contributions from Thomas Vaesen (one goal, six points), Cole Christensen (three goals) and former No. 1 overall pick Arthur Miller (two goals, four points). 

It's not time to panic in New Westminster just yet, but there are troubling signs. The 'Bellies have dropped two games in a row and they both come to the two teams that brought up the rear in 2018 and scoring appears to be an issue. The trio of Will Malcom, Cam Garlin and Erik Maas are scoring at a good clip, but they need more secondary scoring if they want to compete this season. 

Nanaimo has a chance to go 3-0 when they are back in action on May 18 when Poco comes to town. New West's next chance to get into the win column comes Tuesday night when the Delta Islanders visit. 

Photo by Nanaimo News Now's Gary Johansen