Vancouver Stealth's Joel McCready had three goals and six points but his team fell 16-12 to the Saskatchewan Rush.

Stealth can’t keep up with Rush

Vancouver suffers crucial loss in race for National Lacrosse League post-season berth

It is back to the drawing board for the Vancouver Stealth as the team saw their post-season aspirations take a hit following a 16-12 loss in Saskatoon Saturday night.

The Stealth scored first, but the host Saskatchewan Rush scored eight of the next 11 goals to lead 8-4 at the half. Vancouver played the Rush to a standstill the rest of the way but could not make much of a dent in the second half, falling 16-12 at the SaskTel Centre.

Saskatchewan improved to 10-4 with the victory, while Vancouver fell to 6-9 and a half-game behind the Calgary Roughnecks (7-9) for the final playoff spot in the National Lacrosse League’s West Division.

“We played a real decent last 20 minutes. I thought our compete level was a lot higher, we challenged ourselves and got a little gritty, but we needed to that for 60 minutes,” said head coach Jamie Batley.

“(Saskatchewan) did exactly what we thought they would do. We need to be grittier and hit harder — we can’t let teams runs through our middle.”

The Stealth were led offensively by the duo of Rhys Duch (three goals, four assists) and Joel McCready (three goal, three assists) while Cory Conway orchestrated the offence with a goal and six assists.

Corey Small (two goals, one assist) and Logan Schuss (three assists) also had multi-point games while Cliff Smith, Justin Salt and Jordan Durston had one goal apiece.

Tye Belanger was pulled in the second quarter after the sixth Saskatchewan goal, finishing with 14 saves on 20 shots. Tyler Richards came on to stop 27 of 37 shots.

The Rush were led by big games for Adam Jones (four goals, two assists) and Mark Matthews (three goals, seven points).

The game was relatively penalty-free — save for a fourth quarter scrap — as Saskatchewan was 1-for-2 with the man advantage while Vancouver was blanked in their lone opportunity.Stealth can’t keep up with Rush