Phillips scores late, Black Fish edge Sea Spray

by Gary Ahuja

Evan Messenger scored three times and set up Jon Phillips' last-second goal as the Black Fish knocked off the Sea Spray 17-16 in week eight action of the Arena Lacrosse League West Division action on Saturday at Langley Events Centre. Gary Ahuja Langley Events Centre photos

Jon Phillips capped off a dramatic back-and-forth contest, drilling home the winner with 1.7 seconds to play as the Black fish Lacrosse Club capped off a thrilling back-and-forth contest with a 17-16 victory over the Sea Spray Lacrosse Club.

The teams were playing on Saturday at Langley Events Centre in week eight Arena Lacrosse League West Division action with the win improving the Black Fish to 2-6 while the Sea Spray fell to 5-3

The Sea Spray were awarded a power play with 46 seconds to play, but after Dave Mather came up with a save and smothered the loose ball, the Black Fish’s Evan Messenger drew a delayed penalty when he was taken down crossing the centre line. Messenger managed to maintain possession  and the Black Fish worked the ball to Phillips, who rifled home the go-ahead goal.

“I saw a sliver of the corner there and just wanted to get it off before the buzzer and luckily it went,” Phillips said. “I was fighting all game trying to bury it.”

The game was an offensive battle from the get-go with the Black Fish leading 6-5 after one quarter before the Sea Spray turned the tide in the second, scoring the only five goals of the period for a 10-6 advantage at the half. The Black Fish would not be deterred however, knotting the score at 12 after three quarters. Altogether, the game featured a seven-goal run by the Sea Spray followed immediately by a six-goal Black Fish run. The game was also tied on nine different occasions.

“Total rollercoaster. Both teams had their runs and both teams got to the (other’s) goalie,” said Black Fish coach Rod Jensen, who was impressed by his team’s resiliency, especially when the Sea Spray went on a 7-0 run to take a 10-6 lead.

“Usually (when that happens), we can’t close the gap … but we hung around. I am proud of these guys. It wasn’t our strongest line-up but they battled hard and our best players played really well at the end of the game,” he said.

“Good entertainment for the crowd, but when you are on the losing side of it, it is not so much fun. There were good positives in the game, but we just didn’t focus for 60 minutes and it cost us,” said Sea Spray coach Russ Heard.

“One team would get up then the other team would go on a run. We went to sleep a little too long. Full credit to (the Black Fish), they showed a lot of resilience once we got a lead on them and came back and took it to us. Nice shot at the end for the winner.”

Chase McIntyre led the Black Fish with five goals and 11 points which was matched by the Sea Spray’s James Rahe.

Greg Lunde (two goals, five assists) and Evan Messenger (three goals, four assists) each had seven points for the Black Fish while Phillips finished with two goals and six points. Toru Morimatsu and Laszlo Henning each scored twice and Ethan M’Lot had a goal and three helpers.

For the Sea Spray, Nick Preston also had five goals to go along with three assists while Adam Dickson (two goals, two assists), Preston Lupul (two goals) and Dalton Lupul (one goal) also found the back of the net. Tyler Kirkby also had a goal and five helpers, with Connor Goodwin also setting up five Sea Spray goals.

All four goaltenders saw action in the game with Gordy Bowden stopping 21 of 30 shots before being replaced by Mather, who made 26 saves on 33 shots. The Sea Spray started Lee Jackman (six saves on 12 shots) before Matteo Tack came on late in the first quarter, making 34 saves on 45 shots.

The Shooting Eagles (4-4) will take on the Black Fish (2-6) on Tuesday (February 8) at 7:00pm while the Grizzlies (5-3) face the Sea Spray (5-3) on Wednesday (February 9) at 7:00pm. Both games are at Langley Events Centre.