Toronto, ON– The Vancouver Stealth were defeated by the Toronto Rock 9-6 on Sunday afternoon at Air Canada Centre. It was the first of two meetings on the season between the Canadian squads. Tyler Richards received the start in net for the Stealth, while Nick Rose played for the Rock.
After killing off a Stealth five on three, the Rock opened the scoring with a power play goal from Brett Hickey at the 10:06 mark. On another Rock man advantage, leading scorer Rob Hellyer made it a 2-0 game with less than five minutes to play. Vancouver had plenty of scoring opportunities, but could not beat Rose in the first quarter, as he stopped all 15 shots he faced. Richards turned away 11 of 13.
In the second quarter, the Stealth offense got on the board with Rhys Duch burying his 21st goal of the year. As the shot clock was winding down, Duch drove to the net from the left corner and beat Rose with a diving shot over the left shoulder. Garrett Billings had the lone assist. Under a minute later, Corey Small tied with game with a goal in transition. The play started with Matt Beers picking off a pass in front of Richards, who then got the ball up floor to Garrison and found Small off the bench cutting towards the net and scored his 20th of the season. However, the tie did not last very long, as Hickey scored his second of the game to give the Rock a 3-2 lead at the 2:15 mark to put the Rock ahead. With less than eight minutes to play, Logan Schuss notched his 18th goal of the season after finding room over the left arm of Rose and tied the game at 3-3. After over five minutes of scoreless action, Hellyer dove across the crease and beat Richards to give the Rock a 4-3 lead at the half. Vancouver had the shot count in their favour at 28-21.
To begin the second half, Brock Sorensen scored at 1:04 to put his team ahead by two goals. 52 seconds later, Colin Doyle scored his one and only goal of the game with a bounce shot that beat Richards stick side. After Richards and Rose exchanged saves back and forth for nearly 10 minutes, Small scored his second of the game on a Stealth power play. The Victoria native received a pass from Duch near the right post and let go of a quick bouncer that fooled Rose. After three quarters, the Rock led 6-4.
22 seconds in to the fourth quarter, Rob Hellyer capped off the hat-trick with a goal on a two-man advantage to make it 7-4. At 3:47, Garrett Billings recorded a highlight reel behind the back tally that beat an unsuspecting Rose to the top left corner. Duch had the lone assist. Billings was not done there, as he scored another on the man advantage with a shot that trickled through the legs of the Toronto goaltender and found the back of the net. Schuss and Joel McCready were in on the helpers. That would be all the Stealth would get in the final quarter, as Hickey and Merrill (empty net) scored back to back markers to win it by a final score of 9-6
The goaltenders were the story in the game with Rose picking up the win stopping 46 of 52, while Richards put forth a valiant effort in a losing cause turning aside 37 of 45. Billings led the Stealth offensively with 2 goals and 2 assists.
The Stealth are back in action on Saturday, March 19 against the Saskatchewan Rush at the Langley Events Centre at 7:00pm PST. It is ‘Lacrosse On the Move’ night, with the first 1000 fans through the door receiving a free pack of Stealth player cards. The Stealth will also be wearing special British Columbia themed jerseys and will be auctioning them off from now until the end of the game. To place a bid, visit www.StealthLax.com/2016laxonthemovebids. Tickets to the game are available online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 604.882.8800.
STEALTH NOTES: FINAL SCORE: Rock 9 – Stealth 6, SHOTS ON GOAL: Stealth 52 – Rock 46 LOOSE BALLS: Rock 76 – Stealth 62, FACE-OFFS: Stealth 9-19 – Rock 10-19, POWERPLAY: Stealth 3-5, Rock 4-7.