Three straight wins as Shooting Eagles claim top spot

by Gary Ahuja

Dylan McIntosh and Patrick Corbett (#6) were the first and third stars, respectively, as the Shooting Eagles defeated the Grizzlies 20-15 to close out the Arena Lacrosse League West Division regular season on March 17. Ryan Molag photo

The Shooting Eagles are heading into the post-season flying high.

The team wrapped up their Arena Lacrosse League West Division regular season with a third-straight victory thanks to a 20-15 win over the Grizzlies Sunday afternoon at Langley Events Centre.

The team – which had already clinched top spot – finished with a 10-5 record while the Grizzlies finish in fourth place at 5-10. The two teams will meet on March 24 in a one-game semi-final.

“I think the most important thing to come out of this game was to go in (to the playoffs) on a positive note,” said Shooting Eagles coach Adam Smith, whose team had lost three straight prior to this late-season winning streak.

This marks the second straight season the team has finished in top spot during the regular season and now they will try and claim another championship to go along with that.

“It’s a tough league and everyone is competitive and working their butts off. I am a believer when we run our systems, we are one of the better teams in the league and it is nice when the stats represent that,” he said.

In Sunday’s game, the Grizzlies entered on a three-game winning streak and the teams has split their four previous head-to-head matchups. The Eagles had the only four goals of the first quarter before surrendering seven straight to fall behind. They would recover to knot the score at 10 heading into the second half and then locked things down, allowing just five goals over the final 30 minutes.

“We just couldn’t stop the bleeding,” Smith explained of that 15-minute stretch where they allowed 10 goals.  “We have to be able to respond when good teams start doing different things and we just weren’t able to in the second. But we did in the third and fourth, and that’s the positive result we wanted to finish on.”

Six Eagles players had multi-goal games with Dylan McIntosh (4-3) and Spencer Bromley (4-1) leading the way with four apiece. Patrick Corbett (2-3), Doug Porter (2-2), Declan Fitzpatrick (3-1) and Mark Yingling (2-1) also scored 2+ goals with Dylan Lacroix (1-3), Govind Saggu (1-0) and Rhys Blake (1-0) also finding the back of the net. Alex Buque made 38 saves on 50 shots while Colin Jeffrey stopped four of the seven he faced.

The Grizzlies’ Pearson Willis led all scorers with five goals and 10 points with Drew Kask (5-1) also potting a five-goal game. Kyle Brunsch (2-4), Sekawnee Baker (1-3), Connor Whyte (1-1) and Dylan McCormick (1-0) had the other goals. Ryder Bremner made 23 saves on 38 shots while Brayden Wandler allowed five goals on seven shots.

McIntosh, Willis and Corbett were the game's three stars.