Stealth Fall to Mammoth in Season Opener

(Denver, COL – Saturday, January 4, 2014) – The Vancouver Stealth fell 13-12 to the Colorado Mammoth in their season opener, dropping to 0-1 to start the season. The Mammoth even up their record improving to 1-1 on the year.

“There’s a lot of one goal games in this league and the team that weathers the momentum storms and doesn’t make those fundamental mistakes usually end up on top,” said Head Coach Chris Hall.

“In the final minutes we made a number of those fundamental errors that ended up costing us.”

The Mammoth got off to a quick start in the opening frame scoring on their first two shots of the game to take an early 2-0 lead. Drew Westervelt scored both the early goals for the Mammoth and finished the game with 3 goals and 2 assists. Westervelt was also named the third star of the game.

It was not the start the Stealth were looking for as Captain Kyle Sorensen also received a match penalty for high sticking at the midway point of the opening quarter. The penalty was killed off by the Stealth but it put them down a player leaving them with just 15 players for the remainder of the game.

After the slow start the Stealth managed to bounce back in a big way after killing off the major penalty. They outscored the Mammoth 5-1 in the second period and took a 6-4 lead into half time. Tyler Digby came alive for the Stealth in the second quarter scoring his first career NLL goal and first of three goals in the game. Digby finished the game with 6 points (3 goals and 3 assists) in his first career NLL game. Alex Gajic also chipped in with his first NLL goal since 2011 and finished the game with a game high 8 points (1 goal and 7 assists)

The third quarter started off perfectly for the Stealth as Rhys Duch scored two early goals to give his team an 8-5 lead. Duch scored 4 goals and 2 assists on the night and was also named the second star of the game. The second half of the third quarter was a different game as it belonged to the Mammoth who ended the last 5 minutes of the quarter with a 5 goal spree. The Stealth were only able to score 1 in that time and trailed 10-9 heading into the final quarter.

The Stealth were able to tie the game early in the fourth quarter as Cody Bremner scored his first career NLL goal to knot the game at 11. From there the Mammoth’s Adam Jones scored two goals in 30 seconds to grab a two goal lead with only five minutes left in regulation. Tyler Digby got the Stealth to within one and in the final minute both Lewis Ratcliff and Rhys Duch had a chance to tie it, but Mammoth goalie Dillon Ward came up with a big save to give his team the victory.

“It came down to who was going to score the last goal and make the last mistake,” said Coach Hall.

“I think in the last 5 minutes we turned the ball over at center when we were being pressured. We didn’t clear the ball well and those are the mistakes that cost you games in this league.”

There were still a number of positives to take away from this game and Coach Hall was especially impressed with rookies Tyler Digby and Cody Bremner, and newcomer Alex Gajic,

“Offensively I was really pleased with the performance of those three players because they are new and we brought them in to create more offense for us and they delivered.”

The Stealth lose for just the second time in their last seven meetings with the Mammoth and are now 21-13 overall. The Stealth will look for their first win of the season next weekend when they host the Minnesota Swarm at 7PM PST on January 11, at the Langley Events Centre.

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