Vancouver, BC (Sunday, April 12, 2015) – Rookie netminder Eric Penney stopped 59 shots and picked up his first career National Lacrosse League win as the Vancouver Stealth defeated the New England Black Wolves 11-9 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
After trailing 2-0 in the first quarter, the Stealth used a string of five straight goals and would not look back, winning their fifth game of the season, moving into third place and the final playoff spot in the West Division. Joel McCready scored a hat-trick while Rhys Duch (2g, 3a) and Tyler Digby (1g, 4a) scored a game-high 5 points. Corey Small chipped in with four points (2g, 2a) while Justin Salt and Logan Schuss each had a goal and two assists in the victory.
Vancouver’s Cliff Smith started the run scoring his eighth goal of the season at the 8:54 mark of the first quarter to cut the New England lead to 2-1. Corey Small tied the game on the powerplay on a quick stick goal, finishing off a nice pass from Duch to even the game at 2-2. Joel McCready would give Vancouver its first lead of the game doing what he does best. McCready dove through the crease and found a hole past goaltender Evan Kirk for his 23rd of the season. The Stealth finished their 5-0 run with goals from Small and Duch and went into halftime with a 5-4 lead.
The second half started exactly the way the visitors wanted it to. Vancouver scored the opening three goals of the third quarter including a short-handed goal from Duch who put home his team-leading 33rd goal on a great individual effort as the forward rifled a shot past Kirk, making it 6-4. Digby, McCready and Salt also scored in the quarter as the Stealth led 9-6 heading into the final frame.
The fourth quarter saw teams alternate goals with Logan Schuss scoring his first of the game and 18th of the season. McCready’s third marker of the game would seal the deal as it was another gritty goal in front of the crease with under four minutes to play to put Vancouver up 11-8. New England would get one back to cut the lead to 11-9 but the Stealth would hang on and come away with their first win away from the Langley Events Centre since the opening week of the NLL when they defeated Calgary on January 3.
Penney, voted the game’s first star was making his fourth straight start in place of Tyler Richards looked stellar from the start of the game, only giving up four goals in the second half and making some timely saves on the penalty kill. The 21-year old was peppered with 68 shots but never backed down and got some retribution after being replaced by Cody Hagedorn in Friday night’s loss in Toronto. Mitch McMichael was dominant in the faceoff circle winning 75-percent of his draws (18-24). The Stealth still control their own destiny as they’re one-half game up on Calgary for the final playoff spot in the West and have a game in-hand on the Roughnecks.
Vancouver returns home for another important matchup against the three-time defending champion Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday, April 18 at the Langley Events Centre. Face-off is at 7:00PM PST and the first 1,000 fans will receive a free Stealth Lunch Bag.
STEALTH NOTES: FINAL SCORE: Stealth 11 – Black Wolves 9, SHOTS ON GOAL: Stealth 47 – Black Wolves 68, SAVES: Eric Penney 57-68 (W) – Evan Kirk 36-47 (L) LOOSE BALLS: Stealth 58 – Black Wolves 86, FACE-OFFS: Stealth 18-24 – Black Wolves 6-24, POWERPLAY: Stealth 2-8 – Black Wolves 2-6.
For details visit www.StealthLAX.com