ALL WEST FINALS PREVIEW
Goaltender Lee Jackman and the Sea Spray are up against Mark Yingling and the Shooting Eagles in the Arena Lacrosse League West Finals on April 1 and 2 at Langley Events Centre. Ryan Molag LEC photo
Will the Sea Spray repeat as champions or will the Shooting Eagles hoist the championship trophy instead? The answer to that question will be settled this weekend.
The two teams will square off at Langley Events Centre on April 1 and 2 in the 2023 Arena Lacrosse League West Finals. Should they each win one of the contests, they will take to the floor shortly after the conclusion of game two for a 15-minute mini-game to determine the champion.
The Shooting Eagles – who finished a West-best 10-4 – won their final seven regular season games, stretching the streak to eight games following their semi-final victory on March 26.
The two teams faced off five times during the regular season with the Shooting Eagles winning the season series 3-2.
The Eagles won the first meeting 15-11 back before the Sea Spray won a pair of one-goal decisions 15-14 and 16-15. The fourth meeting was also a close contest, this time with the Shooting Eagles wining 13-12. And the final meeting was also the last game of the regular season 16-10. That victory also determined first place in the regular season.
Among the four West Division teams, the Shooting Eagles were the lone squad with a positive goal differential at +28 and had four players in the top 10 for each of the three major offensive category (goals, assists and points). No other team had more than three in any single one of those categories.
Leading the way was Mark Yingling, who finished atop the scoring race with 70 points. He was also third in both goals (32) and assists (38). The team’s leading goal scorer was Spencer Bromley, who found the back of the net 34 times and was second in points (61). The team also had three other players crack the 20-goal plateau in captain Coady Adamson (25 goals, 55 points), Garrett Winter (20 goals, 51 points) and Dylan Lacroix (24 goals, 39 points) as the Eagles scored a league-best 14.6 goals per game.
Lacroix had 8 eight power-play goals while Yingling and Winter each scored seven times for a power play which connected on 70 per cent of their opportunities. Adamson’s three short-handed goals were tops on the team.
In goal, Brody Harris joined the team late in the regular season as the Vancouver Warriors practice roster goaltender, made just one start and finished with a 10.14 goals against average and a .744 save percentage. The duo of Connor Nichols (12.38 GAA, .783) and Thomas Ungaro (12.88 GAA, .758) split the rest of the duties.
On the other side of the floor, Sea Spray goaltender Lee Jackman led the division with 412 saves. He was also third in the ALL West with a 12.09 GAA and .769 save percentage as he played the bulk of the minutes in goal for the team. Backing Jackman up is Reed Watson (15.24 GAA, .709 save percentage).
And while Jackman led the league in total saves, teammate Keegan Bell led all players in goals, potting 35 and a team-high 63 points, good for second in the league. Bell was also one seven Sea Spray players to average more than four points per game with Tyler Kirkby (10 goals, 42 assists and 5.8 points per game) leading the way, just ahead of Marcus Klarich (17 goals, 23 assists and 5.7 ppg). Bell (4.8 ppg), Tyler Ewen (17 goals, 28 assists, 4.5ppg), James Rahe (21 goals, 21 assists, 4.2ppg), Adam Dickson (18 goals, 15 assists, 4.1ppg) and Vinny Ricci (12 goals, 17 assists, 4.1ppg) were the others.
In the special teams’ battle, the Sea Spray power play connected on 78 per cent of their chances, compared to the Shooting Eagles’ 70 per cent. The respective penalty kills were almost even with the Eagles at 15 per cent and the Sea Spray at 14 per cent success rates. However, when it came to short-handed goals, the Shooting Eagles outscored the Sea Spray 13-5 while playing a man down.