Sea Spray back in ALL West Final

by Gary Ahuja

Tyler Kirkby and Tyler Ewen celebrate a goal during the Sea Spray's 14-9 win over the Black Fish in Arena Lacrosse League West action at Langley Events Centre on March 26. Ryan Molag LEC photos

Dominant second and fourth quarters helped the Sea Spray eliminate the Black Fish 14-9. The teams were playing in the Arena Lacrosse League West semi-final round with the Sea Spray outscoring their opponent 10-3 over those combined quarters.

It sets up the Sea Spray to play for their second consecutive chance at an ALL West championship trophy, and while the team returns many of the players from their 2022 title team, it was a pair of rookies helping led the way on Sunday afternoon at Langley Events Centre as Marcus Klarich (3+4) and Tyler Ewen (4+4) were the game’s first two stars, respectively. Tyler Kirkby also had a solid game with a goal and six assists.

“We have a pretty loaded offence so anyone can score at any time. Anybody can have a four-goal, five-goal night,” Ewen said. “It is nice when you get your shots in, but anybody can score, and it is a pretty unselfish team we are playing with.”

Ahead 3-2 following the first quarter, the Sea Spray outscored the Black Fish 5-1 over the next 15 minutes for an 8-3 lead at the half. The Black Fish would cut the deficit to 9-7 after three quarters thanks in large part to a trio of power-play goals as the Sea Spray ran into penalty trouble as they were whistled for the period’s only five penalties.

The Sea Spray were called for a sixth straight minor but managed to kill that off, with Evan Pattison then stepping out of the penalty box and burying his breakaway opportunity for the 10-7 lead and the Black Fish could get no closer the rest of the way.

The Black Fish went 4-for-7 with the man advantage while the Sea Spray did most of their damage five-on-five with one power-play goal in four opportunities.

“The third quarter wasn’t poor play on our part, it was just an unfortunate string of penalties. Thankfully, we settled down, we righted the ship and played five-on-five and that is where we seemed to dominate today,” said Sea Spray coach Russ Heard.

In addition to Ewen’s eight points and the matching seven-point efforts from Klarich and Kirkby, Lukas Nielsen and James Rahe each had a goal and two helpers while Gordie Phillips and Keegan Bell scored a goal and had an assist apiece. Ricci and Pattison had the other goals while goaltender Lee Jackman stopped 48 of 56 shots, an .857 save percentage.

Jackman led all goaltenders during the regular season with 412 saves.

“He made some really acrobatic saves and saves at the right time to stop any type of run. He was fantastic in goals,” Heard said.

Laszlo Henning led the Black Fish offence with three goals while Chase McIntyre (2+1), Brian Gillis (1+4) and Ryan Jones (1+2) also had multi-point games and Tre Mason and Jordan Roberts scored a goal each. Gillis was the game’s third star.

Brandon Humphrey finished with 39 saves on 52 shots.

Sea Spray's Lee Jackman comes up with one of his 48 saves during his team's victory over the Black Fish at Langley Events Centre in Arena Lacrosse League West semi-final action. Ryan Molag LEC photo