Shooting Eagles clinch top spot with come-from-behind victory

by Gary Ahuja

Garret Winter was stopped on this first-quarter chance but rebounded to finish with four goals and seven points in the Shooting Eagles' 17-15 win over the Sea Spray in Arena Lacrosse League West action at Langley Events Centre on March 12. Gary Ahuja photo

The old cliché goes it is not how you start, but how you finish.

The Shooting Eagles exemplified that on Tuesday night.

After a disastrous first quarter which saw them trailing by five goals, the Shooting Eagles responded by outscoring the Sea Spray 16-9 over the final 45 minutes for a huge 17-10 victory at Langley Events Centre.

The teams had entered the contest with matching 8-5 records and just two games to play in the Arena Lacrosse League West Division action with the win securing top spot for the Shooting Eagles, who improved to 9-5. No matter the result for both teams in the regular season finale on March 17, the Shooting Eagles hold the tiebreaker over the Sea Spray (8-6) thanks to a 4-1 head-to-head record between the two clubs.

The Shooting Eagles outscored their opponent 7-2 in the third quarter to knot the game at 12 before the teams’ traded goals until it was tied at 15 midway through the fourth. It remained that way until Jake Young and Coady Adamson scored power-play goals 37 seconds apart in the final 2:19 to pull ahead for good.

“The first part of the game we were just flatfooted, and they got us for four right off the bat,” explained Eagles coach Adam Smith. “We came into half and talked about how score is one thing but momentum (heading into the playoffs is huge) so our focus has to be on being better and better each period, so this was massive.”

The team has now won back-to-back games following a three-game losing streak.

“You get into those slumps and you start questioning what you are doing and guys are looking at each other and gripping their sticks a bit tighter,” Smith said. “You get halfway through a game like tonight where things are starting to work and all of a sudden and things start to loosen up.”

Adamson (4-1) and Garret Winter (4-3) both had four-goal games with Spencer Bromley (1-5) and Mark Yingling (2-4) each notching six points. Young (1-3), Dylan Lacroix (1-1), Jacob Dowell (1-1), Isaac Richmond (1-1), Patrick Corbett (1-0) and Rhys Blake (1-0) had the other goals and Tyson Johnson won 23 of 29 face-offs.

All four goalies saw action in the game with Brody Harris stopping 10 of 16 shots while Tristan Lomas made 26 saves on 35 shots for the Eagles, while Keegan Melynchuk had 28 saves on 40 shots and Lee Jackman finished with 8 saves on 13 shots.

Offensively, the Sea Spray’s Tyler Kirkby (2-8) led the way with a 10-point game while Tyler Ewen (4-2) and Kordell Primus (4-1) each had four-goal games. Adam Dickson (3-2), Joshua Yachney (1-2) and Liam Hoogstraten (1-0) had the team’s other goals.

Winter, Kirkby and Yingling were the game’s three stars.

Both teams are back in action on Sunday (March 17) with the Shooting Eagles facing the Grizzlies and the Sea Spray going against the Black Fish.