No. 17 Simon Fraser Opens with Win vs. Western Washington

BURNABY, BC (February 8, 2014) No. 17 Simon Fraser opened the 2014 regular season with a 16-9 victory over regional PNCLL Division II opponent Western Washington. The game marked the Clan's 19th straight opening day victory, a streak dating back to the inception of the program in 1996.

Twelve different SFU players registered points in the win, led by attackman Tyler Kirkby (Burnaby, BC/Burnaby South Secondary) who scored a game high 6 points, with 5 goals and 1 assist in his Clan debut. Four other SFU players posted multi-point games, with 3-point performances from Andrew Branting (Duncan, BC/Cowichan Secondary) - 2g, 1a, Sam Clare (Ladner, BC/Vancouver College) - 2g, 1 and Ward Spencer (Saskatoon, SK/Evan Hardy Collegiate) - 1g, 2a, while Lyndon Knuttila (Maple Ridge, BC/Thomas Haney Secondary) chipped in with a goal and an assist.

Kirkby helped get Fraser off to a fast start, scoring the Clan's opening two goals, followed by fellow attackman Ward Spencer, who gave SFU and early lead of 3-0. Kirkby extended the Clan lead to four off a pass from senior midfielder Brendan Farrell (Milton, ON/St. Michael's College), compounded by a solo effort from sophomore midfielder Andrew Branting, to give the Clan a commanding lead of 5-0.

With time ticking down on a dominant first quarter, a forced turnover in Fraser's defensive end would see the Clan push the ball back down field with Kirkby finding junior attackman Cameron Chisholm (Port Moody, BC/Gleneagle Secondary) with 15 seconds left on the clock to put an exclamation mark on a strong opening frame.

The Vikings looked to get some wind back in their sails in the second quarter, as Western Washington responded with two goals of their own from Jon Wettack (Mercer Island, WA/Mercer Island HS) and Michael Hatcher (Issaquah, WA/Issaquah HS), to close the score to 6-2. Branting then stalled WWU's momentum with his second of the game, followed by junior midfielder Casey Foster (Edmonton, AB/St. Francis Xavier), who converted a pass from Ward Spencer, to reset the Clan lead back to six at 8-2.

Western would continue to keep pace in the period by capitalizing on the man-up. WWU junior attackman Jacob Goodman (Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) striked first with a Clan player in the penalty area, countered by an even strength marker from Fraser long pole defender Mark Hilker (Bowmanville, ON/Clarington Central Secondary), and then another goal with the man advantage by Viking midfielder Justin Ross (Maple Valley, WA/Tahoma HS), to slightly narrow the Clan lead to five goals at 9-4 heading into the break.

Simon Fraser would once again strike first to start the second half with back-to-back tallies from long stick midfielder Riley Wanzer (Mukilteo, WA/Kamiak HS), assisted by Iain Vickars (Burnaby, BC/Burnaby South Secondary), and then Tyler Kirkby, assisted by Knuttila, to give the Clan their largest lead of the game at 11-4. Refusing to back down Western Washington played some of their best lacrosse the rest of the way, going on a 3-goal run on goals from Jordan Foster (Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge Island HS), Hatcher and the Foster again, to make the score 11-7. SFU sophomore midfielder Matt Bailey (Richmond, BC/H.J. Cambie) would then quiet the Viking rally and get Fraser back on the board to end the third quarter with the Clan still firmly ahead by a score of 12-7.

Branting found Knuttila cross field on the man-up to give SFU another 6-goal lead at 13-7 to open the fourth quarter. Western Washington would continue to show their resilience down the stretch, answering back with consecutive goals from Hatcher and Goodman to claw their way back to 13-9. Fraser refused to open the door any wider, as junior midfielder Sam Clare capped off the scoring with two impressive markers on either side of Kirkby's 5th goal of the game to close out the contest with a 3-goal SFU run that solidified the 16-9 win.

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