Sea Spray strike early, often in Game 1 blowout victory

by Gary Ahuja

Sea Spray's Harrison Smith (#12) works to get past the defence of Shooting Eagles' Justin Digby (#28) and Jackson Ganton (#25) during Game 1 of the Arena Lacrosse League West Finals on April 1 at Langley Events Centre. Gary Ahuja LEC photo

A 10-spot in the first quarter set the tone early as the Sea Spray flexed their offensive muscle to open the Arena Lacrosse League West Finals.

After the teams traded goals in the opening 65 seconds, the Sea Spray scored nine unanswered to close the quarter in Game 1 of the championship series on Saturday at Langley Events Centre. Ahead 10-1 after the first quarter, the Sea Spray cruised to a 23-11 win over the Shooting Eagles at Langley Events Centre.

“We knew we had to go out and execute and do the right things (but) you never expect to be up 10-1 after the first quarter,” admitted Sea Spray coach Russ Heard.

Just how dominant was the opening 15 minutes? While the Sea Spray scored 10 goals, the Shooting Eagles – who boasted the league’s top offence with 14.6 goals per game – managed just nine shots on goal in that same time frame.

While lacrosse is a game of runs, Heard said the coaching staff stressed to the players to focus on winning each five-minute segment and the remaining three quarters. The teams would tie the second quarter with five goals apiece while the Sea Spray won the third and fourth periods, 5-3 and 3-2, respectively.

The Sea Spray had two players with four-goal games (James Rahe 4+4 and Adam Dickson 4+0) and two others with hat tricks (Keegan Bell 3+4 and Tyler Kirkby 3+1). Tyler Ewen (2+3), Brendan Szabo (1+3), Conner Stroup (1+2), Eli Batt (1+2), Aidan Ellis (1+1), Marcus Klarich (1+1), Jordan Gabriele (1+1) and Harrison Smith (1+0) rounded out the team’s scoring. Lee Jackman finished with 41 saves.

The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Shooting Eagles, who were the top team in the ALL West regular season at 10-4, ahead of the second-place Sea Spray (8-6).

Coady Adamson (3+1) and Adam Noakes (3+0) led the Shooting Eagles offence while Garrett Winter had a goal and two assists and Dylan Lacroix, Spencer Bromley, Brandon Fitzgerald and Rhys Blake scored a goal apiece. Both Shooting Eagles goalies saw action with Brody Harris making 24 saves on 37 shots while Thomas Ungaro stopped 12 of 22 shots.

Game 2 of the series is set for Sunday (April 2) at 4:00pm. Should the Shooting Eagles prevail, the teams would play a 15-minute game to determine the champion immediately following Game 2.

Lee Jackman made 41 saves in his team's 23-11 Game 1 win in the Arena Lacrosse League West Finals. Gary  Ahuja LEC photo