New West players dominate WLA awards

Top goalie and co-rookie of the year named to senior A first all-star team

New Westminster took a lion’s share of this year’s Western Lacrosse Association awards.

Salmonbellies and former New West juniors combined for three major awards, while also filling five of 10 spots on this season’s two all-star teams.

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First-year senior A Salmonbellie goalie Eric Penney was named a first team all-star, while also garnering the league’s top goalie and co-rookie of the year honour with former Jr. Salmonbellie righthander Anthony Malcom.

The first all-star team also included New Westminster’s Brett Mydske, who won the best defensive player award with the Langley Thunder, and Jeff Cornwall of New West on defence. Up front, Victoria’s Corey Small and Jesse King flanked league MVP Ben McIntosh of the Maple Ridge Burrards.

Small won the overall scoring title with 33 goals, including a league-best five game winners, and 79 points. King had 33 goals, five of them coming while shorthanded. McIntosh led all goal scorers with 35 counters during the regular season.

On the second team, Burnaby Lakers Robert Church and goalie Tye Belanger were both named WLA all-star, along with defenders Ian Hawksbee of the New Westminster Salmonbellies and Victoria Shamrocks Rory Smith.

Sharing a spot with Church on the second line were Pat Saunders of the Langley Thunder and New West’s Logan Schuss, who finished third and fourth, respectively, in regular season scoring.

Small and Schuss led the league in three-star balloting, including a WLA-best five first-star honours apiece. Church was also named among the game stars on seven separate occasions.

Penney and Belanger both posted a league-high eight wins during the regular season. Penney led the league with a 0.829 save percentage. Belanger was among the busiest in goal, finishing with a second-best 7.85 goals against average and a fourth overall 0.804 save percentage.

Burnaby defender and former senior Salmonbellie Jesse Fehr and Zack Porter of Maple Ridge were co-winners of the Fred Wooster Award at the league’s unsung heroes.

Former first-round draft pick of New Westminster, Bruce Murray, who announced his retirement prior to the end of the season, was named the winner of the Maitland Trophy for outstanding play, sportsmanship and contribution to minor lacrosse.

Coquitlam coach Todd Stockdale was awarded this season’s coach of the year.

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