Back-to-back wins for Grizzlies

by Gary Ahuja

Grizzlies' defender Ethan Quinn got things done on both ends of the floor, helping hold the Sea Spray to 11 goals, while scoring twice himself in a 14-11 win on Feb. 21 in Arena Lacrosse League West action at Langley Events Centre. Ryan Molag photo

Don’t look now, but it’s back-to-back wins for the Grizzlies.

The team had lost nine straight games until finally breaking through in week 12 and then they made it consecutive victories with a 14-11 win over the first-place Sea Spray on Wednesday (Feb. 21) at Langley Events Centre in Arena Lacrosse League West Division action.

The loss drops the Sea Spray into a tie with the Shooting Eagles as both teams sit with 8-5 records. The Grizzlies improved to 4-9 and they sit two back of the third-place Black Fish (6-7). Each team has two games to go in the regular season.

Prior to their breakthrough win, the Grizzlies’ previous five losses came by a combined six goals.

“We were never out of each game. We had brain farts that cost us the games and we’ve started to correct those,” said coach Justin Doucette. “We are making less mistakes, and when we do make them, the guys are correcting them. Plus, we believing in each other and our system.”

Wednesday’s game was a low-scoring opening 15 minutes with the Grizzlies up 2-1. Both offences awoke in the second and they went to the locker room tied at six. The back-and-forth continued with the teams tied at 10 early in the fourth before the Grizzlies closed with four of the final five goals for the 14-11 victory.

“In this league, any team can win on any given day. It is who is ready to play and who shows up,” Doucette said.

Doucette said it was a complete team effort, starting with Nathan Bell (who was 18-5 on face-offs with his teammates doing a great job in securing loose balls, and going all the way to the goaltending as Ryder Bremner was great for a second straight game, stopping 36 of 47 shots. He has a .783 save percentage over his last two appearances.

Offensively, Sekawnee Baker (2-3) and Aidan Baker (3-1) were the first and third stars, respectively, while Toru Morimatsu (2-2), Ethan Quinn (2-1) and Andrew Joseph each scored twice. Briam Smith (1-2), Pearson Willis (1-2) and Thomas Moffat completed the team’s scoring.

For the Sea Spray, Tyler Kirkby added another seven assists and was the second star while Adam Dickson had a hat trick and four points. Kordell Primus, Tyler Ewen and Austin Robinson potted a pair of goals apiece While Gordie Phillips and Connor De Witt had a goal each. Keegan Melenychuk finished with 40 saves as the Sea Spray were outshot 54-47.

Up next: The teams are now off until the middle of March when the Shooting Eagles face the Sea Spray on March 12 while the Black Fish battle the Grizzlies on March 13. Both games begin at 7:00pm at Langley Events Centre.