It was a game of momentum shifts and early season jitters, but the 17th ranked Simon Fraser lacrosse team ran away with a 16-9 victory over Div. II opponent Western Washington Vikings on Feb 8.
After coming out strong and posting a 6–0 lead at the end of the first quarter, the Clan ran into a few hitches, giving up seven goals over the next two quarters and scoring only six, narrowing the lead to 12-7 after three.
While the Vikings refused to give in, the Clan shut the door on them quickly, giving up just two goals to the visitors and tallying four in the final quarter to make the final score 16–9.
Ten different Clan players potted goals in the contest; sophomore Tyler Kirkby lead the way with five goals and an assist.
After playing his first year down at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY, Kirkby was very pleased with his first outing with the Clan. “I thought it was pretty exciting. Everyone has been chomping at the bit to start playing. I could see the jitters out there in everyone, including myself, but all in all we found each other and made the good things happen,” he said.
Four other Clan players recorded multiple points in the opening matchup. Sophomore Andrew Branting and junior Sam Clare both tallied two goals and an assist each, while junior Ward Spencer scored a goal and two assists, and sophomore Lyndon Knuttila recorded a goal and an assist.
Other goal scorers included juniors Casey Foster, Cameron Chisholm, and Matthew Bailey, with senior defenceman Riley Wanzer and junior Mark Hilker also scoring their first goals of the season.
The Clan dominated offensively, outshooting the Vikings 47–23 over the course of the game. Goaltending duties were split between both Clan goaltenders, with senior Darren Zwack getting the start and freshman Jeremy Lasher taking over in the second half. Vikings goaltender Jordan Johnson stood tall, recording a .659 save percentage with 31 saves on 47 Clan shots.
Most of the Vikings goals came off of power plays, with 7:30 minutes of penalties plaguing the Clan, including two stints of being down two men. The Vikings, meanwhile, were shorthanded for just 2:30.
Keeping their composure and controlling their checks will be something the Clan has to focus on in the future as they look to play some tougher opponents.
The Clan were supposed to play Portland State in a double header on opening weekend but due to stormy conditions on the I-5, Portland was unable to attend so the game will be rescheduled. The Clan’s next home game is on March 1 versus rival #8 Oregon.