Black Fish win third straight; double up Grizzlies

by Gary Ahuja

Black Fish Lacrosse Club goaltender Justin Geddie was the game's first star as his team defeated the Grizzlies Lacrosse Club 12-6 in Arena Lacrosse League West Division action on February 16 at Langley Events Centre. The win was the team's third straight victory while the Grizzlies have dropped three in a row. Gary Ahuja Langley Events Centre photos

Justin Geddie picked up right where he left off.

In January, the goaltender was the first star following a 41-save effort in his Black Fish Lacrosse League’s victory over the previously unbeaten Grizzlies Lacrosse Club. A few days later, he was making his National Lacrosse League debut for the San Diego Seals, stopping 42 shots – and earning the game’s second star – as the Seals went into Saskatoon and knocked off the Rush 12-11. On Wednesday night at Langley Events Centre, he returned to the Black Fish line-up and delivered another first-star effort as the Black Fish doubled up the Grizzlies 12-6, in large part thanks to his 31 saves.

“The defence stepped up really well. They were giving me shots that I really like to see. All the credit to my defence, they played amazing today,” Geddie said.

The goaltender said his time in San Diego was a great learning experience as he was up against some of the world’s top snipers in practice, players such as Dane Dobbie, Zack Greer, Wes Berg and Tre LeClaire, to name a few.

The Black Fish – who began the season 0-3 – have now won three straight games and four of the past five to sit at 4-6 through ten weeks in the Arena Lacrosse League West Division. The Grizzlies (once 3-1) are going in the opposite direction with three straight defeats to see their record fall to 5-5.

It was 4-0 Black Fish after a quarter (by comparison the Grizzlies had just six shots in goal in that span) and they were up 7-1 with 2:17 to play in the first half. The Grizzlies closed the second quarter with a pair of goals 16 seconds apart and then opened the third with two more to make it 7-5. The teams traded goals to close the period but the fourth quarter saw the Black Fish score the only four goals.

“I liked our composure at the end of the third quarter. We were under a little bit of pressure, so we brought the guys in and had them refocus on putting in a really good effort in the fourth quarter,” said Black Fish coach Dave Pym.

“We talked about keeping the score under 10 and Geddie had a phenomenal game. Our defence played really well, kept them to the outside for the most part and he was able to see the ball really well. Defence is always a team effort, but when you have a back-stopper like Geddie, it is incredible to have that kind of comfort where you can take some risks on the back-end and take off.”

While Geddie was the first star, Laszlo Henning earned second-star honours following his three-goal, four-point game. Chase McIntyre was the top point-getter with a goal and five helpers while Ethan M’Lot had one goal and four assists. Nick Jensen and Greg Lunde each scored twice and set up a goal and Tre Mason (one goal, one assist), Ryan Jensen (one goal) and Connar Abrams (one goal) rounded out the Black Fish attack.

Special teams were also a crucial factor in the game as the Black Fish scored six times on the power play on 11 opportunities while the Grizzlies managed just a single man-advantage goal in their five opportunities.

“I don’t like to make excuses (but) every time we got back in the game, we seemed to get a penalty,” said Grizzlies coach Rob Williams. “We have to work on our short-man (game) sure, but there was no balance in the game, just no flow.”

The game did mark the return of Grizzlies captain Mitch McDole, who was the third star after scoring three goals. Sekawnee Baker had two Grizzlies goals and an assist while Harrison Smith had the other.

In goal, Brandon Humphrey made 49 saves on 61 shots as his team was outshot 61-39.

Williams did like his team’s play at five-on-five as most of the Black Fish offence came either via the power play or in transition.

With two weeks remaining in the ALL West regular season, the Sea Spray Lacrosse Club lead at 7-3, followed by the Grizzlies (5-5) while the Shooting Eagles Lacrosse Club and Black Fish are right behind at 4-6.

Week 11 will feature the Sea Spray and Black Fish on February 22 and the Grizzlies and Shooting Eagles on February 23. Both games are at Langley Events Centre with 7:00pm start times.