Stealth split games during gruelling weekend

Their head coach said fatigue wasn’t what sealed the Vancouver Stealth’s fate Saturday at the Calgary Saddledome.

Chris Hall believes it came down to bounces and breaks.

Playing its second game in as many nights, Langley’s National Lacrosse League team lost 15-12 to the host Calgary Roughnecks.

The rematch of the 2013 West Division final featured two teams still trying to find their footing early in the season.

The Roughnecks had stumbled out to a 1-2 start while the Stealth had a slightly better beginning, at 2-1.

It was a hard fought battle between two teams playing their second game in two nights.

Hall wasn’t using weariness as an excuse.

“The guys battled hard,” he said, following the game. “We didn’t get many breaks tonight and we needed a couple.”

The Stealth got off to a great start with two early goals, but the Roughnecks climbed back and tied the game 2-2 before the end of the first quarter.

Momentum swung back and forth for most of the game, as the new Canadian rivalry did not disappoint in the first match-up of the season between the two teams.

The Roughnecks’ power play really came alive and proved to be the difference, scoring six goals on nine opportunities.

Meanwhile, the Stealth’s power play only produced two goals.

“We kept fighting back, but every time we did, we ended up in the penalty box which was unfortunate,” Hall said.

Calgary’s Dane Dobbie, who plays for the Western Lacrosse Association’s Langley Thunder during the late spring and summer, terrorized the Stealth defence and finished with five goals.

“Dobbie kind of ran wild on us in the fourth quarter and he also drew a lot of penalties,” Hall said, adding,  “We had some bright spots too. I thought Nick Weiss played very well in his first NLL game and Bill Hostrawser scored his first goal.”

Even though his team lost, Hall saw some bright spots.

“Overall, I was very pleased with the heart the guys showed,” he said. “We continued to hang in there even though we faced a lot of adversity tonight.”

Rhys Duch led the Stealth offence with three goals and two assists. Lewis Ratcliff scored twice and added an assist. The other Stealth goal-scorers were Jeff Moleski, Cliff Smith (who added three assists), Tyler Digby, Mike Grimes, Hostrawser, Nick Weiss, and Tyler Garrison.

The Stealth now head home for their next game, as they host the 3-0 Edmonton Rush at the Langley Events Centre (LEC) this Saturday, Jan. 25.

Game time is 7 p.m.

Tickets are available online at stealthlax.com, or at the door.

Stealth 14, Colorado Mammoth 13

The great news for the Stealth on Friday: they battled from behind to post a thrilling 14-13 sudden-death overtime win over the visiting Colorado Mammoth at the LEC.

The not-so-great news, one that’s out of the players’ hands but something the Stealth ownership hope doesn’t become a trend: the LEC’s arena bowl was a little more than half full (a recorded attendance of 2,981 fans, to be precise) to watch the proceedings.

This is in stark contrast to the Stealth’s home opener six days prior, when Vancouver’s 8-5 win over the Minnesota Swarm brought in a full house to an arena bowl that can seat more than 5,000.

Has it taken all of one game for pro lacrosse to lose its fizzle in Langley and across the Lower Mainland?

Only time will tell.

On the floor, the Stealth beat the Mammoth on the strength of Ratcliff’s second of the night, scored in sudden death overtime.

Ratcliff finished with seven points on two goals and five assists, and his winner completed a notable comeback for a Stealth team that improved to 2-0 at the LEC.

His deciding marker came shortly after a potentially game-winner off the stick of the Mammoth’s Adam Jones was disallowed after further review.

The Stealth trailed 4-1 at midway through the opening quarter and 6-3 just past the five minute mark of the second frame.

Duch was the Stealth’s top point produce, with two goals and six assists.

Duch’s second of the night with 5:48 to play in regulation tied the game at 13-13 and was the final goal for both teams until Ratfliff’s winner 2:18 into the first overtime quarter.

Rookies Digby and Bremner had big nights with Bremner scoring six points on three goals and three assists and Digby adding a hat trick.

Sean Pollock and Drew Westervelt each had seven points for the Mammoth (1-5 after the weekend) with three goals and four assists each, while star forward John Grant Jr. tallied a hat trick to go along with three helpers.

 

FINAL BUZZER: The Stealth cheerleaders are known as the “Bombshells,” not the “Bombers” as reported in the Jan. 14 Langley Advance [Stealth shine, upend Swarm in home debut].

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