Langley, BC ()- The Vancouver Stealth had their best game of the season beating the Colorado Mammoth 15-7 on Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre. Two weeks ago, the Mammoth came into the LEC and beat the Stealth 14-5. Eric Penney got his fifth straight start in goal for Vancouver, while Alex Buque played in net for Colorado.
The Stealth got on the board first with Ryan Wagner scoring his first NLL goal on his very first professional shift on a breakaway. The 21 year-old spotted a loose ball coming off the bench and raced down the floor beating Buque over the left arm to make it 1-0.
“I guess I had a good three metres in front of the guy chasing me, but I just kept running hard and was able to get my stick out wide and bury it,” said Wagner about his first goal.
Just over two minutes later, another Stealth rookie in Jordan Durston made it a 2-0 game beating Buque from the right side with a hard shot from the right side of the floor. Garrett Billings and Joel McCready had the assists. With 8:45 to play, John Grant Jr scored his first of the evening just as a Stealth penalty expired to cut the deficit to one. At 11:47, Callum Crawford was able to tie the game with a power play goal as he found room over the right shoulder of Penney. However, the next shift, Travis Cornwall scored his fourth of the season with a diving effort in transition to give his team the 3-2 lead. Matt Beers had the only helper on the tally. The one goal advantage did not last long though, as Cameron Holding scored a shorthanded marker in transition for the Mammoth. On that same Stealth power play, Rhys Duch capitalized on a great cross-seam pass from Logan Schuss to score his eighth goal of the season. Garrett Billings earned the secondary helper on the goal. Vancouver took their 4-3 lead into the second quarter and led the shot count 15-10.
After more than 10 minutes of scoreless action in the second quarter, Duch scored his second of the game, as he made no mistake off a perfect pass from Corey Small. On the next shift, Small put away his first of the game with a quick underhand shot with just a second left on the shot clock and made it a 6-3 game. Schuss and Billings picked up their third assist each in the game on Small’s team leading ninth of the season. The Stealth defense along with Penney were sensational in the second quarter keeping the Mammoth’s offense off the score sheet and went into the second half with a three-goal lead.
The Mammoth came out of the gates in the third quarter and got the first goal of the second half courtesy of Ilija Gajic to make it a 6-4 game. On the ensuing faceoff, Billings took a cross floor pass from Jeff Moleski cutting towards the Mammoth net and scored his fourth of the year. Mitch McMichael earned the secondary assist. Just over a minute later, Logan Schuss notched his first goal of the game with a quick shot between the five-hole of Buque to double the Stealth lead. Small and McCready helped out on the goal with the assists. Schuss was not done there, as he scored his second of the night just 34 seconds later with a bullet shot from the outside, which chased Buque from the game. Small and Durston had the helpers on Schuss’ ninth of the year. At the 9:57 mark, the Ladner native Schuss capped off the natural hat-trick on a Stealth power play, as he fired a perfect bounce shot underneath Dillon Ward to make it a 10-4 lead.
“I have been working at going to the net hard and burying on my opportunities. It is nice to see the offense starting to find it’s rhythm and we are being rewarded for the hard work we have been putting in,” said Schuss.
At 11:41, Durston buried his second of the game with an underhand shot from the middle of the floor to make it 11-4 Stealth. McCready & Schuss had the assists. After the face-off, the goals kept coming for Vancouver, as Tyler Garrison finished off a perfect three-way passing play with Travis Cornwall and Chris O’Dougherty. For Garrison, it was his second of the campaign. The six goal Stealth run would come to an end at the 13:01 mark with a Creigton Reid breakaway goal to bring the visitors to within seven after three quarters of play. The Stealth outscored the Mammoth 6-2 in the third quarter, with three of them coming from Schuss.
With the Stealth beginning the fourth quarter on the power play, Rhys Duch wasted no time getting his hat-trick goal and 10th of the season. Small and Schuss were in on the assists. Less than a minute later, Eli McLaughlin scored a power play goal of his own to make it a 13-6 score. With 6:41 to play, McCready scored the Stealth’s 14th goal of the night with a bounce shot through the legs of Ward. Durston and Schuss had the helpers on McCready’s eighth of the season. Adam Jones and Small would trade goals to finish the game, as the Stealth took it by a 15-7 final.
It was the most complete effort from the Stealth this season as they did not trail for a single second in the game. Logan Schuss led the offense recording his second straight nine-point game (3 goals, 6 assists), while Small (2 goals, 5 assists), Billings (1 goal, 5 assists), and Duch (3 goals) had outstanding nights as well.
“We competed for 60 minutes first and foremost and we had a lot of guys putting their bodies on the line the whole night. Offensively, the guys shared the ball really well, our players on defense played hard all game, and Eric was great in net,” said Head Coach Dan Perreault.
The Stealth are back in action on Saturday, February 13 in Rochester against the Knighthawks at 4:30pm PST. The next home game is on Saturday, February 20 against the Calgary Roughnecks at 7:00pm PST. Tickets are available online at www.stealthlax.com or by phone at 604.882.8800.
STEALTH NOTES: FINAL SCORE: Stealth 15 – Mammoth 7, SHOTS ON GOAL: Stealth 55 – Mammoth 47, LOOSE BALLS: Stealth 69 – Mammoth 63 FACE-OFFS: Stealth 16-26 – Mammoth 10-26, POWERPLAY: Stealth 3-3 – Mammoth 2-4.