Stealth playoff dreams over
There will be no return trip to the Champion's Cup, let alone the post-season.
That was made official prior to the Vancouver Stealth's latest game, a 15-11 defeat at the hands of the visiting Philadelphia Wings on Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre.
The Stealth were officially eliminated from the National Lacrosse League's playoff race after the Colorado Mammoth defeated the Minnesota Swarm 18-12.
The win improved Colorado to 7-10 while the Stealth fell to 4-12.
Despite not having a chance to stay alive in the playoff race, Stealth veteran Cliff Smith said the team had plenty to play for.
"We knew the outcome of the game but at the end of the day, that game is irrelevant," he said.
"We have to play with pride every game no matter what."
As has been the case for much of the year, goal-scoring did Vancouver in.
The Stealth scored six in the opening quarter and led 8-6 at the half. But the third quarter was a different story as the Wings outscored the hosts 6-1 to take the lead for good.
Brett Bucktooth (three goals, two assists), Jamie Lincoln (three goals, one assist) and Rhys Duch (five assists) paced the Stealth attack.
Jordan Hall (three goals, two assists) and Tracey Kelusky (one goal, four assists) both had five-point nights for Philadelphia.
The Stealth were in three of the past four Champion's Cup finals — including last year — winning the NLL title in 2010.
The team finishes the season with two games this weekend: Friday in Edmonton against the league-leading Rush (15-2) and then Saturday at the Langley Events Centre against the Calgary Roughnecks (11-6).
"We're better than we showed this year," Smith said.
"When the season ends we will have to re-evaluate.
"We need to focus playing a full 60 minutes, not 58, but 60. That's the biggest hurdle we need to overcome next year."
The team is offering an incentive to anyone who purchases or renews 2015 season tickets prior to April 26. Anyone who does will entered into a chance to win a trip for two to a Stealth road game in a Canadian city — Calgary, Edmonton or Toronto — next season. And for those who purchase or renew prior to May 26, they will also receive priority access for tickets to the 2014 Grey Cup game at B.C. Place.
Season tickets start at $99 for nine games.