Game preview: Stealth @ Rush

The Vancouver Stealth will look to knock off the defending champions on Friday night, when a new era of lacrosse begins at SaskTel Centre. For the Stealth, they did not have the type of result they hoped for five days ago when they took a 17-7 loss to New England in the team’s home opener. The loss has left a sour taste in everybody’s mouth, and collectively, have been itching to get back out on the floor since the final buzzer sounded last Saturday.

“It is important not to dwell on just one loss especially so early in the season. Championships are not won in January and we just have to forget about it and focus our attention on the next game,” said veteran forward Joel McCready.

The Rush were one of four teams in the NLL that opened their season during week one. The Rush were in Calgary to take on the Roughnecks and won by a score of 10-8. There has been virtually no turnover from last years’ championship roster. In total, 17 players that played in game two of the Champions Cup in 2015, are returning for another year. In fact, they gain their 2014 team MVP Curtis Knight, who returns after missing all of last year with a knee injury.

“We have a tough challenge ahead of us. Saskatchewan is a really good team and do a lot of things well. They have some good defenders that are going to look to put some pressure on us, so we will have to do a good job of moving the ball and our feet at the same time,” said Stealth Head Coach Dan Perreault.

The offense will be looking to make amends after scoring just a single goal in the second half against New England last Saturday. Despite things not going their way, the forwards are still confident they can break out in a big way against the Rush if they stick with their game plan.

“As an offensive player, we were pretty stagnant out there in the second half of last game. We are successful when we are moving around and creating space for each other. The last two quarters we played is unacceptable, especially with the type of offensive guys we have. Scoring more than 10 goals a night should not be something that is difficult for us and hopefully we have everything ironed out and play well tomorrow night,” said Corey Small, who is a former member of the Rush.

Friday night will mark the return of Matt Beers to the Stealth line-up. The Coquitlam native missed the opening game of the season after serving the final game of a two-game suspension he was assessed near the end of the 2014 campaign. His last NLL game was on April 26, 2014.

“I am very excited to make my return to the Stealth line-up. It has been close to two seasons since I have played and it’s important for me to get back out there and shake some of the rust off right away. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit nervous, but I am looking forward to it and is going to be a lot of fun,” said Beers.

 

STEALTH NOTES: The Stealth and Rush met three times last season with the defending champions winning all three match-ups. Since 2006, the Rush franchise has a 15-12-win advantage over the Stealth. They have met twice in the post-season in 2010 & 2013, and it was the Stealth winning both games by identical 12-11 scores. Matt Beers, Rhys Duch, and Curtis Hodgson are three members still active from the 2010 playoff game. Brett Mydske is the only player still on the Rush roster from six years ago.

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