Vancouver, BC (Saturday, January 10, 2015) – The Vancouver Stealth Home Opener didn’t go quite as planned on the scoreboard side, as the team came up short, losing their first game of the season, 20-11 to the Toronto Rock at an electric Langley Events Centre building on Saturday night.
The Stealth were led by Rhys Duch who scored five points (3g, 2a) and Tyler Digby, who also chipped in with five points (2g, 3a).
The Stealth (1-1) came out of the gates flying in front of the raucous home crowd, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first six and a half minutes of the first quarter. Ilija Gajic opened the scoring 2:29 in when he beat Rock goaltender Brandon Miller. The tables turned in the second quarter, when the Rock would outscore Vancouver 8-2 to go into halftime up 10-6.
“We came out with a lot of energy,” said Gajic. “We started fatiguing a bit in the second period. You could see guys getting tired and making foolish mistakes and as soon as we started doing that, a team like Toronto is going to beat you.”
Josh Sanderson scored a game-high 14 points (4g, 10a) for Toronto and Rob Hellyer also had a career-high 10 points for the Rock (6g, 4a).
The start of the second half was more of the same with the Rock scoring the first five goals of the quarter before the Stealth stopped the streak, scoring the last two goals of the frame but trailed 15-8 going into the fourth quarter.
“We had a slow start last weekend too,” said Rock Head Coach John Lovell. “They ran and caught us flat-footed early but once we cleaned things up, it allowed our offense to do what we do best. We’re a team that moves the ball unselfishly and transition the ball as well as anybody. We played defense when the game was on the line.”
Despite the loss, Duch reached a very important milestone in Stealth franchise history. In the first quarter, he assisted on a goal by Digby, which made him the Franchise’s All-Time Leading Scorer, scoring his 531st point, surpassing Gary Rosyski.
“It’s great to be the team’s all-time points leader but I wish the end result was different,” said Duch.
Fans were treated to another action-packed, entertaining game which saw 31 total goals and 99 shots.
Brandon Miller made 33 saves to pick up the win while Tyler Richards had a tough night for Vancouver, suffering his first loss of the season despite making 31 saves.
“We have to follow our game plan,” said Gajic. “The games are not going to come easy. It’s a good wake-up call and we have to be better.”
The Stealth are back at home next Saturday, January 17 when they welcome the Buffalo Bandits to the LEC. Face-off is at 7:00PM. Tickets are available at www.StealthLAX.com
STEALTH NOTES: FINAL SCORE: Stealth 11 – Rock 20, SHOTS ON GOAL: Stealth 44 – Rock 55, LOOSE BALLS: Stealth 60 – Rock 66, FACE-OFFS: Stealth 16-35 – Rock 19-35, POWERPLAY: Stealth 3-6 – Rock 2-4.
The 3 Stars of the Game: