Lee pulls out all the stops for Thunder

February 13, 1994|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Contributing Writer

*TC Baltimore Thunder goalkeeper David Lee says he's happy with the way he has played in the first three games of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League season. He is content with his 69.3 save percentage, and he was elated to escape the Thunder's last game with 54 saves.

The only thing Lee isn't smiling about these days is Baltimore's 0-3 record, but even that doesn't bother him much, considering the forgiving playoff format of the six-team MILL.

"It's hard to adjust to not winning because I've always played on winning teams, and it's a big difference," said Lee, who, of course, knows that the two top teams in each division will earn playoff berths. "You can't be happy when you're not winning, but you can't put your head down, either. We're still in this thing, and we have to believe in ourselves. We're 0-3, but we're still in the hunt."

To remain "in the hunt" the Thunder, which is tied for last place in the American Division with the 0-3 New York Saints, could use a win tonight in Philadelphia. Lee, who is second in the MILL with a 35.3-saves-per-game average, knows that won't be easy with Paul and Gary Gait on the Wings' roster, but he isn't yielding anything yet.

"You have to worry about [the Gaits] more than anyone on the floor because they're like the Wayne Gretzkys of lacrosse," said Lee, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, who grew up playing against the Gaits. "If we see Paul or Gary coming down the floor with the ball we have to double-team them. Our defense has to work together to stop them."

First-year Thunder coach Skip Lichtfuss has been puzzled by his team's inability to score in transition and its second-half scoring droughts, but he sounds pleasantly surprised when discussing Lee's contributions.

"He's been outstanding and nothing short of that," Lichtfuss said. "I knew he was a very capable goalie, but I was concerned about how much of a stopper he would be for us, and he's done that and more.

"In general, he's been making the big saves to keep the games as close as they have been, and you can't ask a goalkeeper to do any more than what he has done."

In the Thunder's first three losses, Lee has saved 106 of the 153 shots on goal. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound second-year player also leads the Thunder in loose balls with 24.

"He's got very good quickness in the goal, and he recovers very quickly," Lichtfuss said. "He's not your classic stand-up goalie. Some of the bigger goalies stand up and make you shoot it past them. David is very active, and he relies on his quick reactions to make the save."

NOTES: Thunder GM Darrell Russell named Jim Huleskamp assistant GM. Huleskamp, who spent five seasons playing for the Baltimore franchise, will assist with player appearances and aid in the organization's various community-related promotions. . . . Lichtfuss was inducted into the Lacrosse Hall of Fame last Saturday in a ceremony at the Towson Sheraton. Lichtfuss received All-America honors in 1972, 1973 and 1974 at Washington & Lee University.

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