Rhys Duch was held goal-less in his team’s 16-9 loss. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Rhys Duch was held goal-less in his team’s 16-9 loss. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Rush too much for Stealth

First quarter struggles a continuing concerning trend for Stealth after 16-9 loss at Langley Events Centre

A game is 60 minutes long, but so far this season, the Vancouver Stealth have put themselves behind the eight-ball in the opening quarter and not been able to recover.

The most recent example of this was Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre as the Stealth fell 16-9 to the Saskatchewan Rush in National Lacrosse League action.

Saskatchewan improved to 8-1 while Vancouver fell to 1-8.

Following the jersey retirement ceremony of former Stealth captain Curtis Hodgson, the Rush raced out to a 6-0 lead and never looked back.

It continued a troubling trend this season.

In Vancouver’s nine games, they have been outscored 42-15 in the first quarters, a goal differential of -27. By comparison, none of the other eight NLL teams are worse than -7 in the opening 15 minutes.

Corey Small said the players are looking for answers.

“If you are putting yourself in a hole against any team in this league, it is tough to dig out of it,” he said.

“That is what has caused us to play that helter-skelter, un-smart lacrosse. We are trying to force things when we are down, taking shots we wouldn’t normally take.”

“We are not giving ourselves a fair chance when we are down five goals early.”

Stealth head coach Jamie Batley says the team has tried different things, switching up their preparation and pre-game tendencies in hopes of snapping the habit.

“Maybe we are gripping our sticks and afraid to make mistakes and we are not playing with an edge in the first quarter,” he said.

“We can’t play to lose the first and that is what we are doing. We are nervous, we don’t want to make mistakes, you can’t play like that.

“You need to play on the edge and if you make a mistake, you make a mistake. I don’t mind if guys make mistakes if they are trying to do something constructive.”

It is similar to last season when Vancouver lost their first four games and Batley talked about how it was weighing on the players’ minds.

Once they finally won at the LEC, the Stealth won three of their next four home games to finish the regular season with a 4-5 home record.

Saskatchewan led 6-0 after one quarter and 11-3 at the half.

Vancouver played the Rush even in the third quarter with both teams getting three goals and then won the fourth by a 3-2 score.

The Rush were led by their multi-faceted attack as four players had two or more goals and nine had two or more points. Robert Church (three goals, five assists), Curtis Knight (four goals, one assist), Ben McIntosh (three goals, one assist), Mark Matthews (two goals, two assists), Jeff Shattler (one goal, three assists) and Matthew Dinsdale (one goal, three assists) led the way offensively. Chris Corbell and Matt Hossack had a goal apiece and Ryan Keenan had four assists.

Logan Schuss led the Stealth with two goals and two assist, while recent acquisition Pat Saunders made his Stealth debut with a goal and three helpers. Brandon Clelland, James Rahe, Tony Malcom, Cliff Smith and Tyson Roe each had one goal. Roe’s goal was his first career NLL marker.

Small had three assists but failed to find the back of the net for a second straight contest and he has now gone goal-less in four of the nine games this season.

It is a troubling trend for both Small and Duch, who was held to a single assist.

In 2016 and 2017, Duch scored 86 goals and Small was right behind with 83.

And last season, Duch scored in all 17 games he played while Small only had one game out of 18 where he didn’t register at least one goal.

But with the pair struggling in 2018 — Small has 13 goals and Duch six and both have not scored in four of the nine games — the Stealth are averaging just 10 goals a game.

“Some bad habits, not moving our feet and making the defence work off ball, and when we are getting out shots, we are not hitting them. They are hitting the goalie a lot in the centre mass, in the stick, instead of along the pipes,” Small said.

“It is definitely not a lack of effort because you can see guys coming off the floor and they are dog tired. It is working smart rather than working hard.”

Small was at a loss for why the offence has struggled.

“This team has always been notorious for putting the ball in the net so it has been a weird shift this season where we are struggling to get 10 goals a game.

“In this league, 13, 14 is that magic number — if as an offence you aren’t scoring above 10, you don’t have a shot to win in this league.”

“We need myself and Duch to get going over here. We have to look in the mirror and watch some more film and see what we are doing wrong.”

The Stealth are back in action on Feb. 16 as they visit the Calgary Roughnecks (3-5).



sports@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Vancouver Stealth

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The fans were still in a festive mood despite a loss by the home side. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

The fans were still in a festive mood despite a loss by the home side. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Vancouver’s Corey Small and the Stealth offence continued to struggle during a 16-9 loss to the Saskatchewan Rush on Feb. 10 at the Langley Events Centre. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Vancouver’s Corey Small and the Stealth offence continued to struggle during a 16-9 loss to the Saskatchewan Rush on Feb. 10 at the Langley Events Centre. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Just Posted

Federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole speaks during a virtual South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce town hall on Saturday, March 6, 2021.
O’Toole says South Surrey, White Rock face ‘acute’ challenges during pandemic

Federal Conservative leader speaks at local chamber town hall

A sign encouraging COVID-19 safety steps, with the Bayside rugby clubhouse – located adjacent to Semiahmoo Secondary and the South Surrey track – in background; Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo: Tracy Holmes)
Surrey sees 2,400 new COVID-19 cases in February

This is the lowest monthly increase since last fall

Liberty roses – created by acclaimed rose breeder Brad Jalbert – will be planted in White Rock later this month. (Contributed photo)
‘Liberty Rose’ to be planted along Johnston Road and at White Rock City Hall

Poppy-like rose created by acclaimed rose breeder Brad Jalbert

South Surrey’s Kirk Arsenault has started a new company, Str8laced, that sells cleat wraps that aim to keep athletes’ shoes from coming untied during games and practices. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey sports equipment entrepreneur tying up loose ends before Alberta move

Str8laced wraps keep laces from coming loose in the middle of play, says Kirk Arsenault

Volunteers from Semiahmoo Secondary joined with members of the Lower Mainland Green Team and the White Rock and South Surrey Naturalists Wednesday to remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park. (Contributed photo)
Students, volunteers remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park

Day-long project a collaboration between city, Lower Mainland Green Team

An animated Gordie Hogg introduces his 'Community Connections' videos. (YouTube screenshot)
Community Connections: Gordie Hogg speaks with Denise Stevenson

Former mayor, MP began posting conversations on YouTube in June

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

The family of injured Willoughby resident Ronald Gerald Jesso is hoping someone saw something that will help solve the mystery of how he came to be so badly hurt on the morning of Feb. 22. Jesso is still in hospital. (Jesso family/Special to Langley Advance Times)
An appeal to help solve the mystery of an injured Langley man

Family of Ronald Gerald Jesso asks witnesses to come forward

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read