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Photos: New Westminster Salmonbellies dominate in season opener

“Big Cat” Kevin Crowley scores four goals in 15-6 win over Nanaimo Timbermen

The New Westminster Salmonbellies cruised to victory in the first game of their 135th year.

The Senior A Bellies defeated the Nanaimo Timbermen 15-6 at Queen’s Park Arena on Thursday night.

Veteran Salmonbellie Jordan McBride, who is set to retire after the 2023 season, opened the scoring just a minute into the game. Within the first two minutes, the Bellies were up by two goals – a lead they would hold until the final buzzer.

Leading the way, was Kevin Crowley, who netted four goals and had three assists. Crowley, who was unable to play for the Bellies last season because of an injury, was named Stonehaus Realty’s Player of the Game.

Will Malcom, who set a franchise record with the National Lacrosse League’s Panther City Lacrosse Club in the 2022-2023 season with 96 points scored (including 35 goals), pocketed three goals for his hometown team.

Haiden Dickson, who was last year’s Rookie of the Year in the Western Lacrosse Association, had two goals, as did captain Mitch Jones, who finished the NLL regular season as the top point-getter on the Philadelphia Wings’ roster.

Ryan Martel, playing his first game with the Bellies, also put two in the net. Earlier in the year, the Senior A Salmonbellies announced they’d made the “tough decision” to trade New West native Ben Stewart to the Burnaby Lakers in exchange for Martel, who plays for the Vancouver Warriors in the NLL.

Along with McBride, Brandon Goodwin pocketed a single for his hometown team.

Goaltender Cam MacLeod, making his debut for the Bellies, looked solid in net, allowing six goals on 47 shots. In April, the club announced it had acquired MacLeod – currently a back-up goaltender for the NLL’s Panther City Lacrosse Club – in a trade with the Victoria Shamrocks (in exchange for future considerations).

The Senior A Salmonbellies head to the Langley Events Centre on Wednesday, May 31, where they’ll take on the Langley Thunder. The Thunder kicked off their 2023 season with a 20-5 win over the Burnaby Lakers on Wednesday night.

The Bellies return to Queen’s Park Arena on Thursday, June 1 at 7:30 p.m., when they’ll play the Coquitlam Adanacs.

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