Sports

Stealth mired in four-game losing streak

Rhys Duch (left) leads the Vancouver Stealth on the season with 18 goals and 35 points. His goals rank second in the league, but as a team, the Stealth are near the bottom in goals scored, which is a big reason they sit last in the National Lacrosse League
Rhys Duch (left) leads the Vancouver Stealth on the season with 18 goals and 35 points. His goals rank second in the league, but as a team, the Stealth are near the bottom in goals scored, which is a big reason they sit last in the National Lacrosse League's West Division.
— image credit: Gary Ahuja/Langley Times file photo

Focus, playing smarter and better discipline.

Those are the areas which concern Vancouver Stealth head coach Chris Hall with his team mired in a four-game losing streak.

The Stealth went on the road and lost 17-12 to the Toronto Rock on Friday and 15-9 to the Philadelphia Wings on Saturday to see their record fall to 2-5 in the National Lacrosse League. It leaves the Stealth in the basement of the four-team West Division as the season nears the midway point of its 18-game regular season.

The top three teams in each division qualify for the post-season but the Stealth are just one game back of second-place Calgary (2-3).

"We are not playing very well right now and we are missing some bodies that are important to us," Hall said.

"Hopefully we can get them back quickly here."

The Stealth hope to have Brett Bucktooth back in the line-up soon. Bucktooth is recovering from off-season sports hernia surgery. He had 16 goals and 44 points last season to finish fifth on the team.

They are also still without a pair of key defenders in captain Kyle Sorenson and Jeff Moleski.

The Stealth host the Colorado Mammoth on Saturday (Feb. 8) at the Langley Events Centre with a 7 p.m. face-off.

After that, the team plays another pair of road games — they are 0-3 away from the LEC — in Denver against the Mammoth on Feb. 14 and in Calgary against the Roughnecks on Feb. 16, before a three-week break in the schedule.

Against Toronto, Vancouver had a great start to the game, jumping ahead 6-2 late in the first quarter. But the Rock stormed back to tie the game at seven at halftime and then scored 10 of the final 15 goals to win 17-12.

"Again, we are having trouble keeping our focus," Hall said.

"It was not dissimilar to the weekend before where we played a great first half against Edmonton and then the wheels came off."

He was referring to the Stealth being up 7-2 at the half at home against the NLL's top team, the unbeaten Edmonton Rush (5-0) in the team's last home game.

The Rush took complete control over the final 30 minutes, outscoring the Stealth 7-1 to win 9-8.

"We take some unnecessary penalties that kind of shift momentum a little bit and momentum is huge in this game," Hall said.

"And if you give another team a sniff, the teams in this league are so good, they will take advantage."

Against the Wings the next night, the Stealth fell behind 10-5 at the half and could not cut into the deficit, losing 15-9.

With their offence struggling, Hall said the team can't afford to get into high-scoring games. Averaging 10.7 goals per game, only two teams in the nine-team league have scored less than Vancouver.

"Right now, we don't have as high powered an offence as some of the other teams in the league so we can't bet taking unnecessary penalties and making mistakes that give other teams gift goals," he said.

"Our goals are too hard to come by right now to be giving them away at the other end."

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