Sea Spray build early lead, hang on to edge Grizzlies

by Gary Ahuja

Sea Spray's Eli Batt (#44) and Cole Ishakawa celebrate during their team's 13-12 win over the Grizzlies during Arena Lacrosse League West Division action at Langley Events Centre on Nov. 12. Ryan Molag photo

An offensive onslaught in the first half, gave way to a defensive grind over the final 30 minutes.

The Sea Spray and Grizzlies combined for 21 goals in the first two quarters before each was held to a pair of tallies, with the Sea Spray holding on for the 13-12 victory.

The game was the opener for both teams on Sunday afternoon at Langley Events Centre as the Arena Lacrosse League West Division kicked off its third season.

The Sea Spray came out of the gates firing, scoring five of the first six goals and leading 7-4 through a period and extending their cushion to 11-6 with 7:04 to play in the half. But the Grizzlies would chip away at the advantage, cutting the deficit to a single goal, 11-10, at the half.

“Our defence started to step out on the ball, and we really took away their uncontested shots. The first half, they just got to take shots and we weren’t stepping out on them; so, the second half, we did a much better job of being more aggressive, talking, and getting out on the shooters,” said Sea Spray coach Ian Paterson.

“(And) the offence got a little too stagnant in the second half … we weren’t moving our feet, weren’t getting to the net.”

Despite their struggles to find the back of the net over the final 30 minutes, the Sea Spray received goals from 10 different players with Kordell Primus (3-1), Lukas Nielsen (1-3), Tyler Ewen (2-2) and Eli Batt (1-3) each registering four-point games. Adam Dickson and Nathan McKeigan both had a goal and two helpers, while Austin Robinson (1-1), Jordan Gabriele (1-1), Aidan Ellis and Evan Pattison all scoring once.

Primus and Nielsen were the first and third stars, respectively.

Lee Jackman played the full 60 minutes in goal, finishing with 27 saves on 39 shots.

For the Grizzlies, both goaltenders saw action with Kyle Mooney stopping 11 of 21 shots in the first 22:31 before Brayden Wandler stepped in and made 21 saves over 24 shots, an .875 save percentage which earned him second star honours.

Grizzlies coach Daren Fridge said Mooney can’t be faulted for the early deficit as the team was giving the Sea Spray shooters too much time and space in the first 20-something minutes of the game.

“We had a great three quarters out of the four. The one we were digging ourselves out of, they are all fixable things: we let guys get underneath; we took some undisciplined penalties and they scored on the PP,” he said.

“We need to pay better attention to some of their shooters. We got drawn into some physical stuff and retaliated, and it cost us.”

The Sea Spray scored three times with the man advantage on seven opportunities. The Grizzlies went 1-for-4 on their power-play chances.

The coach did like the physicality his defence displayed, singling out both Josh Kelly and Aaron Skye for finishing their checks.

Offensively, the team was led by matching three-goal, four-point games from Ben Musso and Drew Kask while Sekawnee Baker led the way with a goal and five points. Andrew Joseph (2-1), Joe Callard (1-2), Will Carriere (1-0) and Kelly (1-0) had the other goals.