Struggling Stealth lose again

Vancouver Stealth
Vancouver Stealth's Nick Weiss (right) attempts to slow Calgary Roughnecks' Shawn Evans during the Roughnecks 13-8 NLL victory at the Langley Events Centre.
— image credit: Gary Ahuja/Langley Times

Down 8-0 midway through the second quarter is not a recipe for success.

But that is exactly the position the Vancouver Stealth found themselves in on Friday night as they hosted the Calgary Roughnecks in National Lacrosse League action at the Langley Events Centre. The struggling Stealth lost 13-8, their seventh loss in the past eight games as they fell to 3-9.

"You can't bury yourself 8-0 and expect to win a game in this league," said Stealth coach Chris Hall.

"It is disappointing.

"Calgary didn't do anything that we didn't talk about or plan for.

"Our offence has been struggling again and they got a huge lead on us and we didn't come to life until after that."

The Stealth trailed 8-2 at the half and had pulled to 11-8 with five minutes to go in the game. But a two-man advantage goal  sapped any momentum as Calgary scored the final two goals.

It was just the team's second game in the past five weeks as they have had a huge break in the schedule. The Stealth had played just once since Feb. 15 and that was on March 8.

Lewis Ratcliff said the team had a sluggish start and their timing was off with their lack of game action lately.

"Calgary was hungry, we came out flat and they took advantage of it," he said.

"I don't think we were as awful as 8-0 looks."

Ratcliff led the Stealth with three goals and six points. He returned to the line-up after being made a healthy scratch in the team's last contest.

"It has been 12 years without a healthy scratch so obviously it hurts the ego," he admitted. "But I will deal with it."

He said he used the time to regroup for the stretch drive.

"I just tried to get back to shooting with confidence; I haven't done that this year," Ratcliff said.

Hall said the team's defence played well for the final three quarters and they were not helped by the offence, which both failed to score, and also cost them on the defensive end.

"The offence — we talked about it — they have to be more accountable in the transition game," the coach said.

"(Dane) Dobbie got three uncontested goals off the short bench. We couldn't get a defender on the floor because the offence wasn't getting off (the floor)."

Dobbie led Calgary with four goals and four assists while Curtis Dickson had three goals and seven points.

And another two or three times, the coach lamented that an offensive player would be back on defence, but not doing a well enough job of defending, resulting in Calgary scores.

The Stealth find themselves trailing the 5-8 Colorado Mammoth for the final playoff position in the West Division with six games to play.

Ratcliff said the team can't talk about building on their success in the second half of the loss to Calgary.

"You say build on it every week; we are 3-9, we just have to win," he said.

"It is time to shut up and stop saying the stupid things and go and win a lacrosse game.

"If we don't start winning now, we are going to miss the playoffs and we are too good of a team to do that."

The Stealth host the Buffalo Bandits (8-3) on Saturday (March 29) at the LEC.

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