ALL West: Sea Spray have sights set on second consecutive championship

ALL West action between the Sea Spray and the Black Fish. (Photo: Ryan Molag/Langley Events Centre)

The Sea Spray have their sights set on a second consecutive Arena Lacrosse League West championship, but the Shooting Eagles have designs of their own to bring home the title.

The two teams won their respective West semi-final matchups on Sunday afternoon at Langley Events Centre and now meet April 1 and 2 in the ALL West Finals. Both games begin at 4:00pm and should they split the two contests, they will play a 15-minute mini-game following the conclusion of game two.

Sea Spray 14 Black Fish 9

Dominant second and fourth quarters helped the Sea Spray eliminate the Black Fish 14-9. The teams were playing in the Arena Lacrosse League West semi-final round with the Sea Spray outscoring their opponent 10-3 over those combined quarters.

It sets up the Sea Spray to play for their second consecutive chance at an ALL West championship trophy, and while the team returns many of the players from their 2022 title team, it was a pair of rookies helping led the way on Sunday afternoon at Langley Events Centre as Marcus Klarich (3+4) and Tyler Ewen (4+4) were the game’s first two stars, respectively. Tyler Kirkby also had a solid game with a goal and six assists.

“We have a pretty loaded offence so anyone can score at any time. Anybody can have a four-goal, five-goal night,” Ewen said. “It is nice when you get your shots in, but anybody can score, and it is a pretty unselfish team we are playing with.”

Ahead 3-2 following the first quarter, the Sea Spray outscored the Black Fish 5-1 over the next 15 minutes for an 8-3 lead at the half. The Black Fish would cut the deficit to 9-7 after three quarters thanks in large part to a trio of power-play goals as the Sea Spray ran into penalty trouble as they were whistled for the period’s only five penalties.

The Sea Spray were called for a sixth straight minor but managed to kill that off, with Evan Pattison then stepping out of the penalty box and burying his breakaway opportunity for the 10-7 lead and the Black Fish could get no closer the rest of the way.

The Black Fish went 4-for-7 with the man advantage while the Sea Spray did most of their damage five-on-five with one power-play goal in four opportunities.

“The third quarter wasn’t poor play on our part, it was just an unfortunate string of penalties. Thankfully, we settled down, we righted the ship and played five-on-five and that is where we seemed to dominate today,” said Sea Spray coach Russ Heard.

In addition to Ewen’s eight points and the matching seven-point efforts from Klarich and Kirkby, Lukas Nielsen and James Rahe each had a goal and two helpers while Gordie Phillips and Keegan Bell scored a goal and had an assist apiece. Ricci and Pattison had the other goals while goaltender Lee Jackman stopped 48 of 56 shots, an .857 save percentage.

Jackman led all goaltenders during the regular season with 412 saves.

“He made some really acrobatic saves and saves at the right time to stop any type of run. He was fantastic in goals,” Heard said.

Laszlo Henning led the Black Fish offence with three goals while Chase McIntyre (2+1), Brian Gillis (1+4) and Ryan Jones (1+2) also had multi-point games and Tre Mason and Jordan Roberts scored a goal each. Gillis was the game’s third star.

Brandon Humphrey finished with 39 saves on 52 shots.

Shooting Eagles 15 Grizzlies 12

The regular season may have come to an end, but the Shooting Eagles continued their winning ways with a 15-12 playoff win over the Grizzlies.

The teams were playing an Arena Lacrosse League West semi-final contest on Sunday afternoon at Langley Events Centre with the top-seed Shooting Eagles winning an eighth-straight game.

And has been the case for much of the team’s winning streak, the Shooting Eagles used their offensive depth with seven players recording multi-point games and five players scoring two or more goals. Leading the way was Spencer Bromley, who had four goals and eight points and was named the game’s first star.

“It was a bit more of a back-and-forth game than we wanted, but we have the roster to do it. We have the depth; we have anybody who can contribute on any given night,” Bromley said. “That has been the strength of our offence: we have seen it all year, we can take guys out and move things around, and someone else steps up every night.”

Mark Yingling (3+2) and Adam Noakes (2+3) – the game’s third star – each had five-point games, while Dylan McIntosh (3+1) and Dylan Lacroix (1+3) both had four-point efforts, Garrett Winter (2+1) and Declan Fitzpatrick (0+3) also had multi-point efforts. In goal, Brody Harris finished with 43 saves on 55 shots.

The Eagles led 5-1 after a period and never trailed in the game. The Grizzlies would cut the deficit to a pair of goals on three separate occasions over the final 45 minutes but could get no closer.

“(The Grizzlies) got us on the run a couple of times; we got a couple of early ones on them, which gave us a bit of a cushion. As long as we could weather the storm, go one-for-one, we could stay ahead and that’s what we did,” said Shooting Eagles coach Adam Smith.  “We finished on some shots, that’s really what it was. “

Drew Kask led the Grizzlies offence with a five-goal effort and finished with six points to earn the game’s second star. Brian Smith (2+3), Sekawnee Baker (3+1), Pearson Willis (1+2) and Aidan Baker (1+0) rounded out the team’s scoring with captain Mitch McDole finishing with four assists. Goaltender Kyle Mooney stopped 46 or 59 shots.

The victory was a measure of revenge for the Shooting Eagles as last March, the third-seed Grizzlies upset the No. 2 Shooting Eagles 11-7.

“It is always nice to vindicate yourself, but it’s a new season. You need a short memory when it comes to that kind of stuff,” Bromley said.

ALL West Finals

The Shooting Eagles (10-4) and Sea Spray (8-6) finished one-two during the regular season with the Eagles also winning the season series three games to two.

Game one is set for Saturday, April 1 while game two goes Sunday, April 2, both of which start at 4:00pm at Langley Events Centre.

For tickets for the ALL West Finals, click here or to stream the games, click here.