Vancouver, BC (Saturday, April 18, 2015) – The Vancouver Stealth still control their own destiny for the final playoff spot in the West after a 13-9 loss to the Rochester Knighthawks at the Langley Events Centre on Saturday night.
Joel McCready scored a career-high five goals (5g, 1a) against his former team while Rhys Duch netted a game-high seven points (1g, 6a) in the defeat.
After a tight defensive opening few minutes, the Stealth opened the scoring as McCready squeaked one past Matt Vinc at 6:41 into the first quarter. McCready’s second of the game put Vancouver up 2-1 on a diving effort at the 11:25 mark. Rochester would answer thanks to Craig Point who scored on a quick stick to make it 2-2 after fifteen minutes. The Knighthawks continued the tally in the second quarter and went into halftime with a 7-4 lead. McCready’s third of the game and Logan Schuss scored for Vancouver.
“That’s the style they (Rochester) play,” said Duch. “They’re big tough guys and they hit you when they’re supposed to. The heart was there, the mental toughness was there and I thought we played well as a team but the mental intelligence cost us.”
The Stealth tried to get back into the game in the second half as Tyler Digby scored on the powerplay but that was their lone goal of the frame as the home team trailed 10-5 after three quarters. Vancouver outscored Rochester 4-3 in the fourth quarter with two goals from McCready, his 29th and 30th of the season and one each from Duch and Digby but were unable to complete the comeback, dropping to 5-11 on the season. Goaltender Eric Penney got his fifth straight start and stopped 36 of 48 shots for the Stealth.
“We did lose that game but I think a lot of good things are happening on and off the floor,” said McCready. “That’s a good Rochester team and hopefully we see them again down the road. We have to take the positives from the game.”
Rochester was led by Cory Vitarelli (4g, 3) and Cody Jamieson (1g, 6a), each with seven points. The Knighthawks have a chance at first in the East Division but need some help from Toronto, who lead the division with a 13-4 record.
The Stealth head to Buffalo next Saturday for a matchup against the Bandits and return home the following week for their final game of the regular season against the Calgary Roughnecks on Saturday, May 2. That game will determine who gets the final playoff spot in the West Division as the Roughnecks currently are one-half game ahead of Vancouver.
“It’s absolutely huge,” said McCready. “We have to make the playoffs. Everybody in the Lower Mainland should be at the May 2nd game.”
“We are excited to have a chance to get into the postseason,” said Duch. “It’s exciting for the fans and it’s going to be a heck of a game.”
STEALTH NOTES: FINAL SCORE: Stealth 9 – Knighthawks 13, SHOTS ON GOAL: Stealth 51 – Knighthawks 49, SAVES: Eric Penney 36-48 (L) – Matt Vinc 42-51 (W) LOOSE BALLS: Stealth 67 – Knighthawks 57, FACE-OFFS: Stealth 18-26 – Knighthawks 8-26, POWERPLAY: Stealth 2-3 – Knighthawks 3-5.
For details visit www.StealthLAX.com