Colorado Mammoth’s Robert Hope grabs hold of Vancouver Stealth forward Logan Schuss during National Lacrosse League playoff action at the Langley Events Centre on May 6. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Stealth season ends in heartbreak

Despite the loss, 2017 was still a success as Vancouver makes post-season for first time since moving to Langley

The sting of defeat was still fresh, but to a man, the Vancouver Stealth know they made strides in 2017.

The Stealth had just seen their late-game rally come up short, falling 13-12 to the Colorado Mammoth, on Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre in National Lacrosse League playoff action.

GALLERY

The loss eliminated Vancouver from the post-season. Colorado moves on to face the Saskatchewan Rush in the West Division final.

A big culprit in the Stealth’s loss? The fact they were playing catch-up.

Vancouver was behind the eight-ball from the early going, falling behind 3-0 in the first quarter. The Stealth would tie the game at six in the second quarter and again at seven and eight in the third quarter. But when all was said and done, they were only tied for 9:56 of the 60-minute of the contest.

Down by four in the fourth quarter with 6:51 to play, Corey Small scored three straight to pull his team within one with 71 seconds to play. But that would be as close as the team could get.

“It was a little bit too late, unfortunately,” said captain Curtis Hodgson. “I thought we responded better in the second half (but) unfortunately had too big of a hole to come back from and ran out of time.”

Hodgson said he told his teammates prior to the game how proud he was of them.

“We were challenged since day one to improve the work ethic and culture with this team and the guys responded to every challenge.”

The Stealth had a great start to 2017 winning their first two games. But a five-game losing streak followed and the team was 3-6 at the midway point of the season. Vancouver responded with six wins in their final nine games, including winning their final three to finish not only at .500, but in second place in the West Division and earning the right to host the one-game playoff.

They also won four of their final five regular season home games, following an 0-4 start.

Saturday’s crowd of 4,011 was the largest at the LEC in 2017.

“I think we got some excitement with lacrosse at the LEC,” Hodgson said.

Not much was expected of the team in 2017, according to outsider predictions.

“At the start of the year, everyone picked us to be at the bottom of the league and out of the playoffs,” said Small, who cemented his case for at least an MVP nomination following a six-goal performance against the Mammoth.

Small set career highs in goals (46), assists (65) and points (111). The latter also tied the Stealth franchise record.

“We proved a lot of people wrong,” he said.

The team was much more competitive under Jamie Batley, who took over partway through the 2016 campaign.

And with a full off-season under his belt, he was able to mould the team more to his liking, one that was more aggressive and faster on the back-end and in transition.

“I thought we made great strides,” he said. “When the dust settles in a week or so, everyone will have a good feeling about the season we had and build on it for next year.”

For Vancouver to take the next step, they likely will have to go via the trade or free agent route as they do not have a pick until the third round of the 2017 draft.

General manager Doug Locker was able to acquire goaltender Tye Belanger ahead of this past season for Mitch McMichael. Belanger began as the back-up but took over the starting job and led the league with a .796 save percentage while going 7-7 in the regular season. He was also fourth in goals against average at 11.28.

Just Posted

COLUMN: Technology gives me hope my father will walk again

Lokomat taught Michael Coss to walk again after brain injury – and you could help bring it to Surrey

Decision to opt out of Operation Red Nose made last spring, says Langley Gymnastics

ORN drivers in neighbouring communities will fill Langley/Surrey gaps as best they can

Curling competition cutting close ahead of BC Junior Curling Championships

Qualifiers for December’s championships come down to the decimal point

Theatre stuff from stolen trailer found strewn on Surrey roadside

‘It’s going to take a little while to go through it all and find out what’s ruined and what’s OK’

Golden time for Langley pair on the water

Langley women team up to win gold at rowing national championships in Burnaby

VIDEO: Two years in review with Cloverdale-Langley City MP

John Aldag sits down to talk about heritage, economics

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Delta-Richmond Operation Red Nose kicks off with call for volunteers

ORN uses volunteers to provide motorists who have been drinking a free ride home — in their own cars

Federal funding to combat guns, gangs and opioid crisis

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said illicit drugs are often main cause of guns, gangs violence

Riverview youth mental health centre proceeds

Replacement for Maples Treatment Centre first announced in March

Overnight lane closures at Highway 91 and 72nd Avenue

Left turn lanes off of the highway onto 72nd eastbound will be closed to install drainage culverts

Most Read