Sea Spray rally late, stun Grizzlies

by Gary Ahuja

Sea Spray's Tyler Kirkby finished with 12 assists as his team rallied for a 16-15 win over the Grizzlies in Arena Lacrosse League West Division action at Langley Events Centre on Jan. 28. Gary Ahuja photo

Trailing for the bulk of the game, the Sea Spray scored three of the final four goals for the come-from-behind victory.

The Sea Spray did not take their first lead of the game until pulling ahead with 6:45 to play as they hung on to beat a short-handed Grizzlies squad 16-15 in Arena Lacrosse League West Division action at Langley Events Centre on Sunday afternoon.

Back-to-back victories improved the Sea Spray to 6-4 while the Grizzlies dropped a seventh straight, seeing their record fall to 2-8. Their last four losses have come by a combined five goals.

After the teams were tied 3-3 through 15 minutes, the Grizzlies built a 9-5 lead heading into the half. The teams each scored twice in the third and the Grizzlies went up 12-7 early in the fourth before the Sea Spray scored nine times in the final 12:27.

“We stayed off the refs, we weren’t complaining on the bench, and we had a little more focus. And they (Grizzlies) were tired. I think they got gassed and we kept rolling. All the credit to them, battling like that with a short lineup with their injuries,” said Sea Spray coach Ian Paterson.

Tyler Kirkby – the game’s first star following a 12-assist game – set up seven of his team’s nine goals in that span.

For the season, Kirkby leads the league with 79 points and his 65 assists on their own would still rank him second in the scoring race.

“I credit my teammates; they are constantly getting open. We are always talking on the bench and I can see where they are going and then we are just putting it in the back of the net,” he said.

“That is just seeing the game and getting the ball to the right people. You can’t teach seeing the game and he just sees it so well,” Paterson added.

“We are lucky that we have a bunch of offensive guys that are veterans. They are calling their plays because they see what is happening. They have a better vision of what the other team is doing against them to do what they need to do.”

One of those veterans was James Rahe, who was making his season debut. Kirkby said the team’s slow start on Sunday could be partially by the fact they needed to get refamiliarized with Rahe and his playing style.

“We were feeling him out. Once the half came, we talked as a team and we just came out firing. Rahe was all over the floor and we just got him the ball and he put it in the net like he always does. My teammates were getting open and I was just finding them,” Kirkby said.

Rahe finished the game with five goals and Vinny Ricci (3-4), Kordell Primus (3-2) and Adam Dickson (3-1) each had hat tricks. Aidan Ellis and Eli Batt scored a goal each and Tyler Ewen and Jordan Gabriele had four and two assists, respectively. Nate Faccin finished with 34 saves on 49 shots.

Kirkby and Ricci were the first and third stars, respectively, while the Grizzlies’ Kyle Brunsch was the second star after a five-goal and eight-point performance.

Sekawnee Baker (4-2), Brian Smith (1-3), Pearson Willis (2-1), Toru Morimatsu (1-2), Jack Dulong (1-1) and Ethan Quinn (1-0) had the other goals while Garrett Lewis finished with three assists.

Kyle Mooney stopped 50 of 65 shots and also had two assists with Brayden Wandler making one save on two shots.