For the first time this season, the Langley Events Centre really was ‘their house.’
After a pair of disastrous home games, the Vancouver Stealth finally gave their fans reason to cheer with a convincing 15-7 victory over the Colorado Mammoth on Saturday night.
The win improved Vancouver to 2-3 while Colorado fell to 4-2.
In their previous two home contests, the Stealth managed a combined 12 goals.
But Saturday night saw the team strike for a season-high goals.
Rookie Ryan Wagner — making his National Lacrosse League debut and on the first shift of his pro career — found himself on a breakaway 1:21 into the game and opened the scoring.
“It was surreal. I can’t even believe it went in,” he said following the game, a big smile on his face.
“I guess I had a good three metres behind me, but I didn’t know that at the time so I just kept running. Got the stick out wide and buried it.”
The game was 4-3 for Vancouver after one quart and 6-3 at the half.
The Mammoth would cut the lead to two early in the third quarter but the Stealth struck for six consecutive goals to put the game out of reach.
The Stealth offence was firing on all cylinders.
Logan Schuss had three goals and nine points while Corey Small (two goals, five assists), Garrett Billings (one goal, five assists), Jordan Durston (two goals, two assists), Joel McCready (one goal, four assists) and Rhys Duch (three goals) paced the offence.
“It is finally nice to see the production go up for us. We are a bunch of goal scorers out there. It is nice to see it spread it … everyone is doing their part,” said Schuss, the game’s first star.
The result was a big turnaround from the team’s lost home game, a 14-5 to the same Mammoth squad.
“Guys showed up and we came up with some big plays whereas last time we were a little flat,” said Stealth coach Dan Perreault.
“We competed for 60 minutes. Defensively, we had a lot of guys getting in the way of shots, getting their bodies, sticks in the way. Giving Eric (Penney) some help.”
Penney finished with 41 saves and he credited his defence.
“We did a great job of getting in the shooting lanes,” he said.
“That is the difference … if we are getting in those shooting lanes and allow me to see the ball, then I think we are going to be successful.”
The Stealth are on the road this weekend in Rochester.