Sea Spray stun Grizzlies with three goals in 55 seconds

by Gary Ahuja

James Rahe fires a shot that went high during his team's game against the Grizzlies Lacrosse Club on March 14. While this shot missed, Rahe did finish with three goals and five points as the Sea Spray Lacrosse Club finished the Arena Lacrosse League regular season in first place at 9-3. Gary Ahuja Langley Events Centre photos

Three goals in 55 seconds snapped a fourth quarter tie and sent the Sea Spray Lacrosse Club to a 15-11 win over the Grizzlies Lacrosse Club.

The two teams were playing their final Arena Lacrosse League West Division regular season finales on Monday night at Langley Events Centre with the Sea Spray – who already had first place locked up – finishing with a 9-3 record.

The loss leaves the Grizzlies – who began the season 3-0 – with a record of 5-7 and the team now awaits the result of the Shooting Eagles Lacrosse Club and Black Fish Lacrosse Club contest on March 15 to see their final position. The Shooting Eagles are at 5-6 while the Black Fish are 4-7 so a Black Fish victory would leave all three teams tied at 5-7 with tiebreakers to determine which one finishes fourth and faces the first-place Sea Spray in the playoffs.

Monday’s contest began slowly with the Grizzlies leading 1-0 after a quarter before the offences found some life in the second, with the score knotted at four at the half. It was 9-8 Sea Spray after three quarters and tied at 10 with 7:31 to play when goaltender Kyle Mooney came up with a massive penalty shot save on the Sea Spray’s Tyler Kirkby.

“I went with my signature move and Mooney read me pretty good, which is kind of embarrassing, but he made the save and I give him kudos for that,” Kirkby said.

Kirkby entered the game leading the ALL West with 46 assists, but Monday saw him shoot more than look to set up his teammates, as he finished with four goals and two assists (and the game’s first star award. Kirkby has now been named a star six times with one player earning that honour three times and another four times).

“Some nights I get open and other nights, the whole team gets open, so it was just a combination of everyone doing their job,” he said.

As for the slow start which saw the West’s leading offence with just five goals at the half (they average just over 15 per game), Kirkby said the coaching staff gave the team a good talk at the half and they were able to get back to their usual habits over the game’s final 30 minutes.

We were slow at the start; we weren’t cutting, kind of being stagnant. Once we started moving the ball quick, swinging the ball and guys cutting, we were able to capitalize on our chances,” he said.

Shortly after Mooney kept the score tied, Sea Spray goaltender Lee Jackman came up with a huge save of his own and his team was able to take the ball down the floor with John Hofseth putting them ahead for good. The goal came with 5:58 to play and the Sea Spray added unassisted goals from Connor Goodwin and Keegan Bell 15 seconds apart for three goals in a 0:55 span and an insurmountable 13-10 lead.

“it was a fantastic effort on our end. The Grizzlies played a solid game, but our guys – playing with 15 and missing some key guys – just everyone sucking it up,” said Sea Spray coach Russ Heard. “Wasn’t sure how everybody would hold up in the second half, but they kept on working and I thought we outworked

them in the fourth quarter, which I think is quite amazing considering we have 15 and they had 18 guys. Really happy with how they finished.”

Kirkby (four goals, two assists) and Goodwin (three goals, three assists) both had six-point games while James Rahe (three goals) and Keegan Bell (three goals, one assist) also had hat tricks. The Sea Spray also received a goal and an assist apiece form John Hofseth and Gordie Phillips while Jackman stopped 48 shots. Bell was the third star.

The Grizzlies were led by five goals from Kieran McKay – the game’s second star – while captain Mitch McDole returned to the lineup and contributed a goal and four assists. Nash Moog, Austin Robinson, Erik Maas, Jacob Paterson and Will Van Den Hooven had a goal and a helper apiece. Mooney made 39 saves.

“Having Mitch back today was big for us, he is a real glue to our team, and I think that allows us to get into rhythm and we found that today,” said Grizzlies coach Tewanee Joseph.