Offences may get most of the highlights and accolades, but without goaltending, a team’s chances at victory greatly decrease.
And with their goals against drastically reduced, the Black Fish have put together their first two-game winning streak of the season following a 17-11 win over the Sea Spray on Tuesday night, Feb. 7, at Langley Events Centre. With the win, the Black Fish improved to 5-6 while the Sea Spray sit at 6-5.
“Our goalies played really well in both of those games. If you get that big save, it carries you a little bit farther. If they score that goal, it breaks your back a little bit and you can’t bounce back. “No disrespect to our previous goalies, but they were in tough. They had a tough go. We were playing not too bad. but we just couldn’t get the big save,” said Black Fish coach Rod Jensen.
Tuesday’s game saw the debut of new Black Fish goaltender Brandon Humphrey – the 2022 Arena Lacrosse League West Most Outstanding Goaltender – who was acquired in a trade with the Grizzlies.
“Brandon made a couple of key saves,” Jensen said. “If they [had gone] in, it could have been a different story.”
Black Fish received the saves they needed, and after briefly trailing 1-0, led the rest of the way. The score was 11-9 late in the third quarter before the Black Fish four straight to put the game out of reach.
Ryan Jones (2+6) was the first star following an eight-point performance.
And while he didn’t factor on the scoresheet, Reese Barnes had a huge impact on the game, winning 25 of 31 face-offs.
“That is like basically having the ball for an extra half a period,” Rod Jensen said.
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This was the third meeting of the season between the teams with the Sea Spray winning the previous two encounters, 14-13 and 17-16.
“We have a good core of defenders (but) we haven’t played terribly well together,” Rod Jensen said, crediting assistant coach Ian Poole for the work he has put in with the players.
Another key in the victory was the Black Fish transition, which contributed a handful of goals, including a pair of short-handed markers.
“I think we did a good job just worrying about ourselves and not going crazy this game and things just kind of came to us,” said Nick Jensen, the game’s third star following a hat trick and four points. “The boys are just buying in. People are excited.
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The loss was a second straight for the Sea Spray.
Week 11 wraps up with the Shooting Eagles (6-4) and Grizzlies (4-6) playing on Wednesday (February 8) at Langley Events Centre with a 7:00pm start. Following that game, all four teams will be off until February 19 when they return to LEC for a doubleheader with games at 1:00pm and 4:00pm.
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