Grizzlies bump slump, take over first place

by Gary Ahuja

Sekawnee Baker had a hat trick and five points to lead the Grizzlies past the Sea Spray 14-13 in Arena Lacrosse League action at Langley Events Centre on January 8. Ryan Molag LEC photo

A huge second quarter provided the cushion and the defence came up tall in the end as the Grizzlies edged the Sea Spray 14-13 in a first-place showdown.

The teams played on Sunday afternoon at Langley Events Centre to wrap up week 6 of the Arena Lacrosse West Division. The Grizzlies sit at 4-2 with the Sea Spray seeing their three-game winning streak come to an end as their record fell to 3-3.

The Sea Spray twice led by a goal in the first quarter but after the Grizzlies tied the game at three after 15 minutes, the team erupted for six goals and never trailed again.

Leading the way offensively was the game’s first star, Sekawnee Baker, who had a hat trick and five points. It marked the fourth time in six games Baker has recorded four or more points.

“He is reliable, and you know what you are going to get with him every night and he is consistent. He came up big again today,” said Grizzlies coach Zack Porter.

“Offensively, we were dialed in. Guys were running the system; guys were following through on what they should be doing. And defensively, we knew we had to be aggressive with these guys.”

The Grizzlies opened up a three-goal lead at 14-11 with 3:32 remaining before the Sea Spray cut it to a one-goal game in the final minute. And the Sea Spray had the ball with 12.6 seconds to play, but a smothering defensive effort prevented the team from even managing to get a shot on goal.

“We have a lot of guys on our back end that we rely on to shut down key players and that was obviously shown in the last couple of minutes today, so I really give it to our D guys,” Baker said. “Our defence really came up clutch. When we need something done, our defence really comes through and pulls together.”

Marcus Klarich finished with a goal and four points but his Sea Spray squad came up short, losing 14-13 to the Grizzlies in Arena Lacrosse League action at Langley Events Centre on January 8. Ryan Molag LEC photos

The win also ends a two-game losing streak for the Grizzlies, who had won the first three games of the season.

“Losing two in a row, we had something to prove and wanted to get back in the win column, especially against a team we are battling for first with,” Porter said.

While Baker earned first-star honours following his hat trick and five points, Brian Smith led all players with four goals and six points. Erik Maas (2+2), Pearson Willis (1+2), Carlton Schuss (1+2), Nash Moog (1+1), Braydon Laity (1+0) and Mitchell Nolet (1+0) rounded out the scoring.

Kyle Mooney stopped 47 of 60 shots and was the game’s third star as the Grizzlies were outshot 60- 52.

Vinny Ricci (4+1) led the Sea Spray and was the second star while Adam Dickson (2+1), Tyler Ewen (2+1) and Brendan Szabo (2+0) each had two-goal games. James Rahe (1+4), Marcus Klarich (1+3) and Eli Batt (1+0) had the other goals. Reed Watson finished with 37 saves.

Box Score