WEEK 4 GAME 1 SEA SPRAY 18 SHOOTING EAGLES 11
Keegan Bell spent Friday night on the active roster for the National Lacrosse League’s Vancouver Warriors but was a healthy scratch, watching from the sidelines as his Warriors teammates fell to the Colorado Mammoth.
Saturday afternoon, Bell played a starring role for the Sea Spray Lacrosse Club, scoring five times and setting up two other goals in his team’s 18-11 victory over the Shooting Eagles Lacrosse Club in week four Arena Lacrosse League West Division action at Langley Events Centre.
Was Bell’s seven-point outburst (and first star honours) motivated by not getting the call to play for the Warriors the night before?
“It is just me playing my game. I am not really thinking about proving anything to anybody,” he offered. “I just come out here and play for my team, whatever jersey I have on. I got the opportunity to play today and luckily things went my way.”
Saturday’s game did not begin very well for the Sea Spray as they were trailing 3-1 less than four minutes and were down 4-3 at the first-quarter mark. But the team scored seven goals in the second to lead 10-6 at the half and after the Shooting Eagles cut the deficit to 11-8 with a quarter to play, the Sea Spray responded with another seven-goal outburst in the fourth to put the game out of reach.
“The guys were just shooting well and playing hard. We were preaching on the bench to stay disciplined and focus on our game and that paid off in the end. The guys bought into it,” said Sea Spray coach Andy Ogilvie.
The second and fourth quarters – when a team is forced to make a long change and can be burned in transition – were the turning point.
“We have a good group of guys and they work hard and they are talented, but we have to get in better shape,” said Shooting Eagles coach Adam Smith.
“We got outworked today and transition is like a measurement of that. Transition and loose balls, they are the two measurements of being outworked and we lost both of those. That is the bottom line: we just got outworked.”
Leading the way for the Sea Spray transition was Bell, who usually plays as a forward but has been in a defence/transition role for the team. Bell also spent some shifts on offence as well, resulting in a season-high seven points. For the season, he has eight goals and a dozen points in four games.
“The boys just found me, there wasn’t much to that. I was given good opportunities to score and luckily some of them dropped,” Bell said.
While Bell led the way with seven points, he had plenty of help from his teammates with Tyler Kirkby – the game’s third star – scoring four times and finishing with six points, while Adam Dickson (one goal, three assists) and John Hofseth (two goals, two assists) each having four-point games. Parker Kump (one goal, two assists), Geordie Phillips (two goals, one assist) and Eli Batt (three assists) all registering three-point games. Ryan Heard and Dalton Lupul rounded out the scoring. In goal, Lee Jackman replaced Ashton Leclair in the first quarter and finished with 34 saves on 42 shots.
Dean Fairall was the game’s second star after scoring a hat trick and posting a game-high nine points for the Shooting Eagles. Greg Lunde (two goals, four assists), Mark Yingling (two goals, three assists) and Jake Foster (two goals, two assists) each had big games while Coady Adamson (one goal, one assist) and Dylan Lacroix (one goal) rounded out the team’s scoring. Andrew Gallant finished with 40 saves on 58 shots.
The Sea Spray (3-1) next face the other week four winner as they battle the Black Fish (1-3) on Sunday, January 16 at 1:00pm in week five action while the Shooting Eagles (1-3) face the Grizzlies (3-1) later that same day at 4:00pm. Both games are at Langley Events Centre.
WEEK 4 GAME 2 BLACK FISH 12 GRZZLIES 8
In a battle of teams at the opposite ends of the standings, it was the winless Black Fish Lacrosse Club coming through with a huge 12-8 victory over the previously unbeaten Grizzlies Lacrosse Club.
The two teams played the late game to wrap up week four action of the Arena Lacrosse League West Division action at Langley Events Centre on Saturday (January 8). The Grizzlies sit at 3-1 while the Black Fish are 1-3.
In their first three games, the Black Fish have scored a combined 17 goals, so the dozen goals they scored Saturday was double their season average.
“We have had some good periods of lacrosse (this season) but unfortunately have not been consistent enough,” said Black Fish coach Rod Jensen. “Today, we were consistent and our goalie played really well and made some big saves while our offence played with a little more passion.”
A big story of the game was goaltender Justin Geddie who earned first star honours thanks to a 41-save effort.
“It was huge to get that ‘W’ tonight. We were hanging our heads the first three games, but we put a great effort in against the first-place Grizzlies. I couldn’t be prouder of our team tonight.”
The goaltender credited his defence for making his job easier.
“They were phenomenal. I can’t even put to words how good they were tonight. They gave me the shots I was looking for. They just did so well tonight,” he said.
A big difference between this week and the team’s first three games was the fact the Black Fish have led for a grand total of 11:23 out of 180 minutes of lacrosse.
The Black Fish led 5-1 after a quarter before the Grizzlies scored the only three goals of the second quarter to cut the deficit to 5-4 at the half. But the Black Fish regained control thanks to a 4-1 third quarter before the teams traded three goals apiece in the fourth.
Geddie said it can be straining for a team when they are constantly playing from behind.
“As soon as you start chasing a game, it is tough to get back on top. The offence did their job today and it was awesome to see them start clicking again,” he said.
The Black Fish offence was led by Jon Phillips’ three goals and eight points while Evan Messenger scored four times and Jordan Roberts had a goal and three helpers. The rest of the offence saw Brandon Luitwieler (one goal, two assists), Ethan M’Lot (one goal, one assist), Nathan Romanchych (one goal, one assist), Ryan Jones (two assists) and Nick Jensen (one goal).
The Grizzlies were led by two goals and one assist apiece from Brian Smith and Pearson Willis while Mitch McDole (one goal, two assists) and Jacob Patterson (three assists) also had three-point games. Sekawnee Baker and Kieran McKay each had a goal and an assist while Andrew Gresham had a goal and James Baker had two assists.
“We learn from losses and move on to the next one. We came out flat and can’t do that. I think we honestly thought it was a foregone conclusion and it wasn’t. They have a bunch of good players and came out and played well aggressive,” said Grizzlies coach Rob Williams.
“We believe in all the guys in our dressing room. We have been running through everyone and we came out flat and they were hungrier than us.”
The Black Fish (1-3) will look to make it two straight wins when they face the Sea Spray (3-1) on Sunday, January 16 at 1:00pm. The Grizzlies (3-1) will face the Shooting Eagles (1-3) later that same day at 4:00pm. Both games are at Langley Events Centre.
Photos courtesy of Gary Ahuja Langley Events Centre