Black Fish edge Grizzlies, pull even to .500

by Gary Ahuja

The Black Fish have won back-to-back games following a come-from-behind 14-13 victory over the Grizzlies in Arena Lacrosse League West Division action at Langley Events Centre on Jan. 14. Gary Ahuja photo

A dominant second-half stretch proved key for the Black Fish.

Trailing 8-7 early in the third quarter, the Black Fish went on a 7-2 run over the next 16:34 to build a four-goal lead with a half a period to play. And that spurt proved crucial as the Grizzlies scored three times to pull within one, but could get no closer, falling 14-13.

The two teams were playing on Sunday afternoon at Langley Events Centre to kick off week 8 action for the Arena Lacrosse League West Division. The victory – their second consecutive win – improved the Black Fish to 4-4 while the Grizzlies are still searching for answers following a fifth-straight defeat as they sit at 2-6.

“It seemed like we woke up a little bit,” said Black Fish coach Bryan Poole. “In the first two quarters, we were getting our opportunities, but nothing was really falling for us. But we kept plugging away and in the third, we were moving the ball and getting our feet going.

Prior to taking the lead at 9-8, the Black Fish had either been playing from behind or were tied with the Grizzlies.

“It is nice when they are able to execute; the guys are coming off the floor and they are smiling because they are doing some good work out there and are being rewarded,” Poole said.

Josh Mills and Connor Watson each had two goals and five points and were the first and third stars, respectively, for the winners. Jordan Roberts led the team in scoring as he finished with a four-goal game while Aiden Murphy (2-1), Laszlo Henning (1-3), Brian Gillis (1-2), Temeke7 Gottfriedsen (1-1) and Nick Jensen (1-0) rounded out the team’s scoring. 

The Grizzlies did get to within a goal with 2:03 to play but could not net the equalizer as Black Fish goalie Dave Mather and the defence was up to the task. Mather finished with 36 saves as the shots on goal were 49 apiece.

“Dave played great in goal and the defence battled around him, taking care of the ball and getting it up the floor,” Poole said. 

Drew Kask was the second star with three goals and six points and he was one of three Grizzlies with hat tricks as Pearson Willis and Kyle Brunsch each scored three times and finished with five points while Conner Whyte (2-3) also matched their five-point efforts. Nash Moog and Jack Dulong scored once each to complete their team’s scoring. Brayden Wandler stopped 35 of 49 shots.