Vancouver, BC (Saturday, May 2, 2015) – The Vancouver Stealth and Calgary Roughnecks battled for the final playoff spot in what was one of the most entertaining games of the regular season. The Stealth came back from a three goal deficit to tie the game in the fourth quarter but fell 14-13 in the final game of the regular season inside a rambunctious Langley Events Centre on Saturday night.
Rhys Duch scored a game-high six goals and finished the season with a career-high 105 points, fifth in the NLL.
“Everybody came to battle tonight,” said Duch. “Our strategy was working, Calgary pushed back but it was a heck of a game. It was a good game for the fans to be at; I’m glad we had so many out there.”
“Our guys battled hard,” said Head Coach Dan Perreault. “It was a great lacrosse game. Unfortunately we didn’t get the outcome we wanted. It’s disappointing.”
It was a perfect start for the home team who came out flying, scoring the first four goals of the game. Duch kicked things off for Vancouver, sneaking one five-hole for a 1-0 lead. Corey Small would find the back of the net 42 seconds later beating Frankie Scigliano up close to make it 2-0. Tyler Digby continued the Stealth run with the next two goals before Calgary would counter with a pair of their own but trailed 4-2 after the first quarter.
The teams played an even second quarter, each scoring three goals. Duch scored twice and Logan Schuss added the other second quarter marker for Vancouver, who went into halftime up 7-5.
The Stealth got off to a promising start in the third quarter as Ilija Gajic scored on a breakaway 61 seconds in to go up 8-5. The Roughnecks wouldn’t go down with a fight as they went on a 5-0 run and would take their first lead of the game thanks to Jeff Shattler, who gave Calgary their first lead, 9-8. Digby stopped the damage scoring his third of the game. The Roughnecks countered with two goals before the end of the quarter to go up 12-9 going into the final frame.
“That third quarter has been our achilles heel all year,” said Stealth transition player Tyler Garrison. “I don’t know why; we’ll have to clean that up for next year. If you have to pinpoint one thing today, it was that quarter.”
In the fourth quarter, Vancouver’s leading scorer decided to put the team on his back as Duch scored the next three goals of the game to tie the game at 12-12. Karson Leung took advantage of a Stealth turnover and beat Tyler Richards on a breakaway to put Calgary back in front by a goal. Vancouver would once again tie it as Small wired a shot past Scigliano to make it 13-13. Calgary would get the game winner when Shattler squeaked one five-hole on Richards with 5:11 left in the fourth quarter. The Stealth would come inches away from tying the game once again but Duch’s shot with 18 seconds remaining in the game fell just shy of the goal line before it was covered up. The Roughnecks would run the clock out and earned a post-season berth next week in Colorado.
“We turned the ball over and made some mistakes in the third quarter, it certainly wasn’t for a lack of effort,” said Perreault.
“Not the result we were looking for but there was no quit,” said Duch. “When you’re part of a group that doesn’t quit, it speaks for itself. We played right down to the last whistle.”
“We turned a corner in the organization tonight and it’s unfortunate we don’t get to move on but it’s important moving forward for next season,” added Duch.
STEALTH NOTES: FINAL SCORE: Stealth 13 – Roughnecks 14, SHOTS ON GOAL: Stealth 46 – Roughnecks 65, SAVES: Tyler Richards 51-65 (L) – Frankie Scigliano 33-46 (W), LOOSE BALLS: Stealth 65 – Roughnecks 66, FACE-OFFS: Stealth 15-31 – Roughnecks 16-31, POWERPLAY: Stealth 0-0 – Roughnecks 1-2.
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