Corey Small scores one of his four goals against the Rochester Knighthawks on Feb. 25 at the Langley Events Centre. Small leads the Vancouver Stealth with 25 goals this season but the team is struggling at 3-6.

Stealth look to turn things around in second half

Vancouver general manager Doug Locker feels team is on the verge of better results

Vancouver Stealth general manager Doug Locker can’t recall a National Lacrosse League season ever being this tight at the midway point of the 18-game campaign.

Heading into this weekend’s action, five teams out of nine each have three victories

Unfortunately for Locker, his Stealth squad is one of those five teams in the logjam. And the way the season has played out, he really feels his team could have easily been 5-4 instead of the 3-6 record they currently hold.

“We have to close out some wins at home. That is the single biggest frustration, being 3-2 on the road and 0-4 at home,” he said.

“We have to get some wins at home. That is really the glaring issue for us. It is immensely frustrating.”

Vancouver began the season 2-0 but has since dropped six of seven.

And in four of those losses, the team has been tied in the fourth quarter.

But Locker is taking the glass half-full approach.

“Bottom line is, I feel great about the progress we are making. I think we have showed that we can compete with anybody, we have shown that over the (last) four weeks,” he said.

The defence and transition have shown signs they are rounding into form.

NLL teams are allowing an average of a dozen goals per game and while Vancouver is ranked seventh at 13 goals against per game, they have been or late, surrendered 10 goals in each of the past three games. The Stealth did give up a dozen last week, but two of those came with the goaltender on the bench for an extra attacker.

“We have really turned the corner at that end (of the floor). We are getting the goaltending we need, the transition is starting to come together,” Locker said.

Tye Belanger has started the last four games and posted a .790 save percentage. For the season, he has stopped .775 of the shots he has faced, which puts him the top half in the league for that category.

The transition game has been led by Justin Salt who has five goals and 14 points in nine games. He is halfway to his career high of 10 goals and just five points away from the 19 he put up two seasons ago with the Stealth.

And up until last week, Vancouver’s offence was doing just fine.

They were held to a season-low eight goals on Feb. 25 in a 12-8 loss to Rochester.

The Stealth are fourth in the league with 11.8 goals per game but against Rochester, the offence was out of sync all night,.

Logan Schuss was held goal-less despite 11 shots on goal. He was averaging three goals per game.

Corey Small did continue his torrid pace, registering four of Vancouver’s eight goals, and he now leads the team with 25 goals. He is tied for the league-lead in goals and is tops in points with 61.

The right-side had Garrett Billings, Cory Conway and rookie James Rahe have combined to play just nine games this season and the lack of familiarity with one another showed.

It also didn’t help that they were playing without right-hander Rhys Duch, who averages nearly six points per game.

“Rhys is the cog on that side, so we were out of sync,” Locker said.

Barring a setback, Duch is anticipated to be back in the line-up when the Stealth host the Saskatchewan Rush on March 4 at Langley Events Centre.


Just Posted

VIDEO: Langley hockey tournament remembers young fan

Hundreds take part in annual Jordan Owens memorial

Langley food producers join website celebrating Canada eats

A Canadian woman created the site not to make money, but to promote eating local

Giants draw first blood in WHL playoff series vs. Victoria

Home ice advantage non-existent for Royals against arch-rival Vancouver

VIDEO: Fire shuts down 232 Street in Langley

Traffic being re-routed following Langley structure fire

No red flags in expense audit, says former Fraser Health boss who fired Murray

Wynne Powell said report showed need for tighter rules, but didn’t suggest abuse of expense claims

VIDEO: Horseshoers battle for national spot in farrier championship

The Canadian horseshoeing main event was held in Chilliwack this weekend

Musicians Sarah Harmer, Grimes join B.C. anti-pipeline protests

Musicians are in Vancouver for the Juno Awards on Sunday night

Gas prices likely driving Canadians to US pumps

Customs say cost of fuel, nice weather, spring break are contributing factors of uptick of traffic

Canadian cities hold March for our Lives events in wake of Florida shooting

Hundreds of people support the massive March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C.

Health officials called after acid spill near B.C.-Alberta border leaks into creek

Tanker truck crashed south of Dawson Creek, spilling 17,000 litres of hydrochloric acid

Embattled band Hedley plays last show in B.C. before hiatus

About 3,000 tickets had sold for final performance at Kelowna’s Prospera Place

Trudeau to exonerate B.C. First Nations chiefs hanged in 1860s

Prime Minister to absolve Tsilhqot’in chiefs in relation to deaths of 14 construction workers

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Most Read