Sunday afternoon in Toronto is the first meeting of the season between the Vancouver Stealth (3-6) and the Toronto Rock (2-7) at Air Canada Centre. The Stealth will be looking for their first win in three games, while the Rock will try and shake off a 15-10 loss to Calgary they suffered on Friday night.
Now at the halfway point of the season, Vancouver is looking for more consistency in their game. At the nine game mark, the team has shown flashes of brilliance from beating the defending champion Rush on their home turf in mid-January, to that spectacular second half comeback against the Calgary Roughnecks at the LEC on February 20. However, playing a complete game on a regular basis has been something that has been lacking.
“Too many times this season we have either gotten off to a slow start or have had a stale second half. Playing a full 60 minutes on a more frequent basis is a big key for us going forward and I have complete confidence in our group that we can do that,” said Stealth Head Coach Dan Perreault.
For the Rock, they surprised the NLL starting the season losing their first six games, but have since looked like a more confident group winning two out of their last three games.
“Toronto is a tough team to play against in their building and have been playing better of late. We have to be ready to compete from the opening face-off,” said Cliff Smith.
Just eight games into his professional career, 2015 second round pick Jordan Durston has been a key member of the Stealth offense of late. The 21 year-old has recorded two hat-tricks in his last three games and in his last five outings has totaled 17 points.
“He has been one of the more pleasant surprises at the halfway mark of the season. He continues to improve each game and has been a good fit for us on the left side with Logan Schuss and Corey Small. We have been really pleased with his development,” continued Perreault.
The Stealth defense will need to keep an eye on Rock forward Rob Hellyer, as he sits third in NLL points scoring with 23 goals, 37 assists for 60 points. Also dangerous is veteran Josh Sanderson, who has racked up 22 points in four games since coming out of retirement last month.
Sunday will be a homecoming of sorts for seven members on the Stealth active roster. Corey Small (St. Catherines), Ryan Wagner (Niagara-On-The-Lake), Mitch McMichael (Port Perry), Joel McCready (St. Catherines), Eric Penney (Rexdale), Jordan Durston (Wallaceburg), and Ian Hawksbee (Niagara-On-The-Lake) return to play in their home province of Ontario. For Garrett Billings, he makes his second appearance to the ACC in an opponent’s jersey after spending five seasons in a Rock uniform from 2010-2014.
The game begins at 3:00pm EST/ 12:00pm PST and will be nationally televised on TSN2. It will also be live on TSN1410 Radio Vancouver and will be streamed online at www.tsn1040.ca.