Shooting Eagles knock off first-place Sea Spray

by Gary Ahuja

Jake Foster had four goals and eight points as the Shooting Eagles knocked off the first-place Sea Spray on Saturday at Langley Events Centre in Arena Lacrosse League West Division action. Garrett James Langley Events Centre photos

The Shooting Eagles Lacrosse Club led from start to finish, putting together a complete effort as they knocked off the first-place Sea Spray Lacrosse Club 13-10 on Saturday afternoon at Langley Events Centre.

“Massive. We wanted to come out and prove we could play defence, that is the thing we have kept preaching the last couple of weeks,” said coach Adam Smith. “‘These guys are the top-scoring team in the league and to keep them under eight goals until a few minutes left, that was fantastic. It was a huge statement game for us.”

The Shooting Eagles jumped out to a 7-0 lead, not allowing their first goal against until midway through the second quarter, improving to 3-4 through seven weeks of play in Arena Lacrosse League West Division action. The Sea Spray saw their record fall to 5-2, tied with the Grizzlies Lacrosse Club for top spot.

Up 8-3 at the half, the Sea Spray continued chipping away, drawing to within four goals after three quarters before taking advantage of some Shooting Eagles penalty troubles in the late-going to make it a one-goal game with 2:42 to go. But Jake Foster and Doug Porter scored in the final minute for the 13-10 final score.

“In other games, we have had these frantic spurts of 2 or 3 goals, then we have valleys after that. Today we were steady, steadily rising. We just kept going at it and (goaltender) Brody Harris was awesome,” Smith said.

Foster was the game’s first star with four goals and eight points while Harris was the second star following his 37-save performance.

“It showed the character of our offence … we were able to finish this game off and put the dagger in them and that’s what we did,” Foster said.

The victory marked the first time this season the Shooting Eagles – who have three one-goal losses among their four defeats – have managed to win back-to-back games.

“We are starting to figure out how each other play. Tonight we just saw it clicking a little bit better and it is nice to see some results,” Foster said.

In addition to Foster’s eight-point game, Dean Fairall also had four goals to go along with seven points while Mark Yingling had one goal and four assists and Doug Porter scored twice. James Rahe – while an ALL rookie but a lacrosse veteran -- also made his ALL debut with two goals and six assists.

“He is a smart lacrosse player with an extremely high lacrosse IQ. We have a lot of young guys on this roster and to have him a veteran on the bench who can instill some of his wisdom on us is really helpful,” Foster said.  “He is the voice of reason keeping us calm on the bench.”

The Sea Spray were coming off a huge victory the week before in a first-place showdown.

“It happens in every sport. You get to first place and sometimes you get happy with yourself. We came out flat. They were so far superior – last t week against the Grizzlies I thought we were the far superior team against the Grizzlies – today was the exact opposite. They were better in everything they did. We got lucky to pull back within a single goal late in the game,” said Sea Spray coach Russ Heard.

“Even though we didn’t have our ‘A’ game, we almost did it, but it would have been robbery because they were the better team. We didn’t play smart.”

The post-game message to his team was simple.

“You have to learn from your losses and realize why we lost and realize the things that we do well to make us win. You want to lose now and use it as a learning experience, not at playoff time,” he said.

Tyler Kirkby led the team with five assists while Adam Dickson had four helpers. Parker Kump, Preston Lupul and Sam Clare each scored twice with David Byrne, Aidan Ellis, Rob Hofseth and Gordie Phillips scoring one goal apiece.

Matteo Tack made 32 saves on 44 shots.