The Vancouver Stealth are hoping a new year can bring new results — a victory, in particular.
The Stealth are off to an 0-3 start ahead of this Saturday’s National Lacrosse League clash with the Toronto Rock. The two teams will hit the floor at the Langley Events Centre at 7 p.m.
The Rock enter the game at 1-2 while Vancouver is the lone winless squad among the nine NLL teams.
The Stealth are coming off a 13-9 loss last Friday (Dec. 29) to the New England Black Wolves at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT.
Vancouver had a great start to the game, scoring the first two goals. And after New England reeled off a six-goal run, the Stealth responded with a seven-goal run of their own to lead 9-6 after three quarters. That included a perfect third quarter where they outscored the Wolves 5-0 over the 15-minute period.
But New England finally broke through with their first goal in 23:26 and that opened the floodgates as the Wolves scored seven times in the final 9:17 for the four-goal victory.
“Plain and simple, we need to find ways to close out these games,” said Stealth captain Matt Beers. “We battled hard but at the end of the day, we need to stop those runs.”
The Stealth were led by two goals apiece from Brandon Goodwin and Joel McCready. Goodwin also had three assists while McCready set up one. Corey Small (one goal, two assists), Ryan Fournier (one goal, one assist), Cliff Smith (one goal), Peter McFetridge (one goal) and Evan Messenger (one goal) rounded out the scoring.
Rhys Duch (three assists), Justin Salt (two assists), Andrew Suitor (two assists), Travis Cornwall (one assist) and Cody Teichroeb (one assist) also found the scoresheet, with Teichroeb registering his first career NLL point.
But to break into the win column, Vancouver needs to rediscover its scoring touch.
The Stealth should get Logan Schuss back after a one-game absence — he missed the New England game due to work commitments — and Schuss leads the team with seven goals and 10 points in two games.
The team could use a boost from the pair of Small and Duch. Last season, the dynamic duo led the team with a combined 84 goals.
But through three games, they have combined for just two goals on 90 shots, a shooting percentage of .022. By comparison, Small had 46 goals on 244 shots last season (.189 shooting percentage) and Duch connected on 38 of his 217 shots (.175).
And as a team, Vancouver has a league-low .127 shooting percentage while the Stealth goaltending duo of Tye Belanger and Brodie MacDonald have a combined save percentage of .711, which is also a league low.