Stealth survive shootout, secure home playoff date

Vancouver Stealth will host one-game playoff at Langley Events Centre on May 6

The road to Saskatchewan will go through Langley.

Corey Small made sure of that.

The Stealth sniper scored late and then again in overtime as the Vancouver Stealth out-lasted the New England Black Wolves 17-16 in the National Lacrosse League regular season finale for both teams on Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Both teams needed a victory in order to host their respective semifinal games.

Vancouver led 11-10 after three quarters before opening the fourth on a 4-0 run to push their lead to five. New England responded with six goal 5:11 to take the lead before Small scored with 18 seconds to play to force overtime.

And after both teams had multiple chances in overtime, Small struck for the winner, his fourth goal of the game and seventh point.

The point was a big one personally, as well, as Small tied Colin Doyle and Rhys Duch for the Stealth single-season scoring record with 111 points.

Small finished second in the league with 46 goals and third in points.

With the victory, which improved Vancouver to 9-9, the Stealth finished second in the NLL West Division and will host the third-place Colorado Mammoth (9-9) on Saturday, May 6 at the Langley Events Centre at 7 p.m.

Vancouver won three of four games against Colorado this season.

The winner of the one-game West Division semifinal will play the Saskatchewan Rush (12-6) in the West Division final the following weekend. That will be a best-of-three series.

Stealth offence has biggest output of season

In addition to Small’s big game, Duch (three goals, four assists) and Jordan Durston (three goals, one assist) each registered a hat trick and Logan Schuss (two goals, two assists) and Joel McCready (two goals) both had two-goal games.

Corey Conway (one goal, three assists), Peter McFetridge (one goal, two assists) and Brandon Clelland (one goal) rounded out the scoring. Chris O’Dougherty chipped in with three assists.

Tye Belanger — playing against his old club — came up with a 66-save performance as the Black Wolves outshot Vancouver 82-59.

Belanger led the league with a .796 save percentage.

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