Shooting Eagles dominate Grizzlies

by Gary Ahuja

Playing his first game for the Shooting Eagles, Sam Clare made an immediate impact, scoring a hat trick in his team's 13-6 win over the Grizzlies in Arena Lacrosse League West Division action on Feb. 5 at Langley Events Centre. Gary Ahuja Langley Events Centre photos

A loss three weeks ago – when they squandered a late lead and fell in overtime – has not escaped the memories of the Shooting Eagles Lacrosse Club.

Their opponent that game was the first-place Grizzlies Lacrosse Club, and on Saturday, the two teams kicked off week eight action of the Arena Lacrosse League West Division at Langley Events Centre with the Shooting Eagles delivering a decisive 13-6 victory for their third straight victory.

“They beat us in overtime. It pissed us off and we keep using that,” said Shooting Eagles coach Adam Smith. “It is good motivation to be up by a couple and blow it. We talked about how that felt.”

Since that loss, the Shooting Eagles are the hottest team in the four-team ALL West, posting three straight wins to improve to 4-4. The loss dropped the Grizzlies to 5-3.

“It is no secret: we keep saying defence is the thing we keep trying to drill into them. It was staying true to that. It is about focusing on our defence and sticking with our game plan and executing,” Smith said.

“And out transition has been much more aggressive, which we have been pushing.”

The teams were tied at two goals apiece through the first 15 minutes before the Shooting Eagles seized control, outscoring the Grizzlies 4-1 in the second quarter and then 5-1 in the third quarter. Both teams scored twice apiece in the fourth quarter.

“They outworked us. Loose balls, getting up and down the floor, transition goals … they just outworked us all over the floor,” said Grizzlies coach Rob Williams. “We didn’t quit, so that was good, but I didn’t like the effort. I don’t feel like we put the effort in that we need to win games. We are a team which needs to work hard.”

The Shooting Eagles were led by their newest player, Sam Clare, who was acquired in a trade for James Rahe this week. Clare scored a game-high three goals and finished with four points. Jake Foster led the team with two goals and six points while Dean Fairall had a goal and three assists.

“They have the two hottest scorers right now in Foster and Fairall so I knew I was already coming into an established offence, which is nice,” Clare said. “They have a lot of talented guys out there and today you really saw everything come together.”

Fairall and Foster sit one-two in ALL West goal scoring with 22 and 21 goals, respectively. Foster all leads in points with 53 while Fairall is second at 43.

The rest of the Shooting Eagles offence came from Mark Yingling (one goal, two assists) and Declan Fitzpatrick (two goals, one assist) each had three-point games while Cole Paciejewski and Cole Christiaens both scored a goal and set up another. Doug Porter (one goal, one assist) and Coady Adamson (one goal) rounded out the scoring with goaltender Andrew Gallant made 41 saves on 47 shots to earn first star honours.

William Van Den Hooven, a new acquisition for the Grizzlies, led the team with two goals and four points while James Baker, Erik Maas and Jacob Patterson had a goal and an assist apiece. Andrew Gresham also had a goal. Kyle Mooney made 18 saves on 26 shots before giving way to Brandon Humphrey came in and made a dozen saves on 17 shots.

The Shooting Eagles (4-4) will take on the Black Fish (2-6) on Tuesday (February 8) at 7:00pm while the Grizzlies (5-3) face the Sea Spray (5-3) on Wednesday (February 9) at 7:00pm. Both games are at Langley Events Centre.