by Steve Ewen
Special to the Langley Advance
The Vancouver Stealth honoured the Vancouver Ravens Saturday night. The Colorado Mammoth did their part to salute a particular pair of Ravens.
Mammoth coaches Chris Gill and Dan Stroup were among the former Ravens players and staff on hand for a reunion of B.C.’s first National Lacrosse League club, a squad that wrapped up three cashstrapped seasons in 2004.
Gill and Stroup, former Ravens snipers who share Colorado coaching duties with Pat Coyle, could afford time to reminisce, since the Mammoth held a comfy 12-3 lead at halftime Colorado coasted in the rest of the way, winding up with a 14-5 win before an announced crowd of 3,626.
The Mammoth (4-0) are the National Lacrosse League’s only remaining undefeated team. The Stealth (1-2) were blown out for a second straight time at home.
The Stealth came to LEC from Everett for the 2014 season with great hopes, since the club had made the league final three times in four years based out of Washington State. They’ve yet to gain any consistent traction here, though. The Stealth missed the playoffs the past two years in the nine-team loop.
Oddly enough, the Stealth recorded their biggest win since moving north of the border last week, when they outlasted the Saskatchewan Rush 13-11 in the reigning league champions’ home opener.
This one was never in doubt. Part of it was the fact that Vancouver was missing star forward Garrett Billings (undisclosed injury), but they struggled in all facets.
It took them five minutes to get their first shot on goal. And, with that 12-3 score line at halftime, they had as many goals as goalie changes, as Vancouver netminders Eric Penney and Chris Levis traded places in the Stealth crease three times in the first two periods.
It looked and felt a lot like Vancouver’s 17-7 loss to the New England Black Wolves at the LEC in the season opener.
Colorado veteran John Grant, Jr., 41, had five goals and two assists for the victors, highlighted by four markers in a row to end the second quarter. Fellow southpaw Adam Jones, who came in leading the NLL in goals with 13, had a pair of tallies to go with five assists. Mammoth right-hander Callum Crawford scored four times and set up another pair.
Dillon Ward made 50 saves in the Colorado net, but far too many of the shots he faced were from well outside.
Saturday’s game marks the fewest goals he’s given up in a full game in his three years in the NLL.
Vancouver was led by one goal and three assists from Logan Schuss. Fellow lefty Corey Small had one goal and one assist.
Righty Joel McCready counted two goals.
Rhys Duch, Vancouver’s leading scorer last season with 41 goals and 62 assists in 18 games, was held to two assists. He was held without a goal once last season, in a 14-7 loss to the Toronto Rock on April 10.
Penney gave up eight goals on 31 shots, while Levis allowed six goals on 16 shots.
The Stealth visit the Calgary Roughnecks (1-2) on Saturday and then are home to Colorado again on Feb. 6.
– Steve Ewen is a reporter with the Vancouver Province
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