Week one was a defensive gem while week two was an offensive shootout; regardless how the games played out the result is the same: a 2-0 start to the season for the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies held off the Shooting Eagles 14-13 on Saturday at Langley Events Centre in week 2 action of the Arena Lacrosse League West Division.
In their opener, the Grizzlies held their opponent to five goals while the Shooting Eagles offence has been humming nicely in both games, but combined with a 17-16
loss, the team sits at 0-2. The Grizzlies never trailed in the contest and led by as many as four goals at various points, so co-head coach Tewanee Joseph his team needed to show resiliency in earning the victory. “I think the main thing with lacrosse is the speed with which you play and the pace with which you play. And I think both teams did a good job tonight of moving the ball and getting the ball swinging and those
kinds of things,” he said. “For us, it was a bit of a transition but what I like about it is it gets us to think about the game. I was really proud of our guys for not getting too high and not getting too low and staying right down the middle.”
“I am excited about the 2-0 start, but I am sure as each week goes by, we are going to get better and better and stronger and stronger. A 2-0 start is the beginning, but the end goal is week 13 and 14.”
While the result was a total of 27 goals, Saturday’s contest began with neither team able to find the back of the net until a Jacob Patterson power-play tally got the Grizzlies on the board with 3:58 to play, jumpstarting their offence as they scored three more times to lead 4-1 after a period. The Shooting Eagles would get back in the game in the second quarter, cutting the deficit to 6-5 at the half before each team scored eight in the second half with the Grizzlies winning the third quarter 5-3 and the score flipped in favour of the Shooting Eagles for the fourth.
The winning goal came of the stick of Erik Maas, as his third of the game, with 5:21 remaining in the game. Afterwards, he gave credit to the game’s first star, Jacob Patterson (four goals, six points) for making the play happen.
“Good job by Patty, just to carry the ball high and I just fell into that soft spot and slipped the pick and was wide open for the roll,” Maas said.
The goal made the score 14-12 with the Shooting Eagles’ Jake Foster getting his team back within a goal with just over two minutes remaining. The team would have possession with 17 seconds to play but could not get a clean shot on the Grizzlies goal.
“Clean is a word we have used a lot, execute is another word we have talked about,” said Shooting Eagles coach Adam Smith. “We just need to clean it up and execute.”
“We did better on the ‘D’ end but there is room for improvement.”
While disappointed to lose for a second straight week, Smith did like some of the defensive adjustments his team made from game one to two. Patterson led the Grizzlies with four goals and six points while Maas (three goals, two assists) and Mitch
McDole (one goal, four assists) each had five points. Aidan Baker, who was the game’s third star, had a goal and three assists while Mitchell Nolet and Aaron Skye both had a goal and three points. James Maker and Andrew Joseph rounded out the scoring with a goal and an assist.
Kyle Mooney made 13 saves in the Grizzlies goal while his counterpart Brody Harris made 36 saves. Greg Lunde (three goals, four assists) and Foster (four goals, three assists) both had seven-point games for the Shooting Eagles, with Foster earning second star honours. Dean Fairall (three goals, two assists) and Mark Yingling (one goal, four assists) had five points apiece. Aidan Murphy had the other Shooting Eagles goal.
About the Arena Lacrosse League: Formed in 2017, the ALL is regarded as the National Lacrosse League’s minor league, and with seven Ontario-based teams in the ALL prior to the launch of the ALL West, 15 per cent of the current NLL players have played at least one game in the ALL. The ALL plays under the same game rules as the NLL, providing high-level competition and exposure that provides NLL management and executives the opportunity to monitor individual progress through game webcasting and statistics. Game evaluations from ALL West coaches will assist in development of players who are currently on NLL practice rosters or are ready for in-season call-ups.