Black Fish best Grizzlies 12-9

by Gary Ahuja

Ryan Jones scored a goal and finished with seven points as the Black Fish handed the Grizzlies a 12-9 loss in Arena Lacrosse League action at Langley Events Centre on January 15. Ryan Molag LEC photo

Consider it a lesson learned.

For the second straight game, the Black Fish built a large lead. But while they squandered a 7-1 loss the week prior, losing 13-11, they would not repeat the same mistake.

On Sunday afternoon, the Black Fish scored five of the first six goals but then watched as the Grizzlies responded with three straight to make it 5-4. It prompted a goaltender change as coach Rod Jensen swapped Moose Whinery for Matt Hills.

“Last week I didn’t do anything (when) we had a five goal lead; I didn’t change the goalie, I didn’t take a timeout, so I wanted to make sure I did something different. I was going to put him back in, but Hills seemed comfortable in there,” Jensen said.

The decision paid off as the Black Fish defeated the Grizzlies 12-9 on Sunday at Langley Events Centre in Arena Lacrosse League West Division action. The Grizzlies fell to 4-3 while the Black Fish improved to 3-4, with two of those victories coming against the league-leading Grizzlies.

The Black Fish took a 6-4 lead into halftime, but the Grizzlies responded with a pair of goals less than a minute to tie the score midway through the third quarter. And the Grizzlies were looking for their first lead when they were on a power play, but instead it was the Black Fish capitalizing while playing a man down, scoring short-handed tallies 45 seconds apart.

For the game, the team scored four times while playing shorthanded, with Jensen saying the have made a concerted effort to be more aggressive on the PK with the top two players ready to take off for breakaway attempts.

The coach was also happy with his team’s effort on the defensive, especially holding their opponent to single digits.

“We definitely played some good defence and kept them to the outside. I thought we controlled the middle of the floor, no question,” Jensen said.

And on offence, the Black Fish attack was keyed by Ryan Jones, the game’s first star with a goal and six assists.

“The righties were doing a very good job of setting the pick and getting open on the backside. It made my job easy: pretty easy assist when they are wide open with their sticks open,” Jones said. “And it is easy to win when we have goalies playing like they did today.”

Box Score

Hills finished with 17 saves on 22 shots while Whinery had 14 saves on 18 shots. Offensively, Matt Symes scored a hat trick while Drew Kask and Laszlo Henning each had a pair of goals and an assist. Nick Jensen also finished with a pair of goals with Justin Gurney (1+2) and Ryan Jensen (1+0) had the other goals.

For the Grizzlies, Sekawnee Baker (2+4), Steve McKinlay (0+5) and Pearson Willis (3+2) led the way. Connor Whyte (2+1), Alex Dozzi (1+1) and Brian Smith (1+0) had the other goals. Kyle Mooney made 31 saves on 43 shots.