March 5, 2016- Langley, BC- The Vancouver Stealth lost to the Buffalo Bandits 13-8 on Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre. The loss snapped Vancouver’s two game home winning streak. Eric Penney started in net for the Stealth, while Anthony Cosmo played for the Bandits.
The Bandits got on the score sheet first on their third shot on Penney with a bounce shot from Daryl Veltman. Near the three-minute mark, NLL leading scorer Dhane Smith got on the board to make it 2-0. Just over 1:30 later, the Bandits got two more from Mitch Wilde and Veltman again to make it 4-0 with just under 11 minutes to play. Penney would leave the game in favour of Tyler Richards. Shortly after the goal, the league’s #1 power play got the Stealth on the board with a goal from Garrett Billings. The veteran received a pass from Logan Schuss at the top of the perimeter and wasted no time firing in his 10th of the season. Corey Small had the secondary helper. With under four minutes to go, the Bandits got that goal back with a shorthanded marker from Ryan Benesch to make it 5-1. At the 12:57 mark, Smith scored his second of the quarter on a Bandits power play to put his team up five goals. After 15 minutes, Buffalo led 6-1 and out shot Vancouver 22-11.
“The Bandits have a solid defense core and we weren’t hitting our shots and resets when we had opportunities,” said Stealth Head Coach Dan Perreault.
In the second quarter, the Bandits got a quick goal from Kevin Brownell in transition and made it a 7-1 score for the visitors. With 10:02 to play, the Stealth scored their second power play goal courtesy of Corey Small. After a reset of the shot clock, Small got a pass on the right side of the floor and placed a perfect bounce shot past the left leg of Cosmo. Rhys Duch and Garrett Billings had the assists on Small’s 18th of the season. However, Veltman and Smith scored back to back goals to cap off their hat-tricks and made it 8-2. After the Smith tally, rookie Jordan Durston went the other way and made a great move in tight of the net and beat Cosmo over the left shoulder. It was Durston’s ninth goal of the season with Schuss and Duch drawing the helpers. With 6:16 left on the clock, the Bandits got their second shorthanded goal of the half with Smith’s fourth of the game to get his team into double digits. With 2:48 to play, Schuss found Durston near the right post and put on a great tap dance display near the crease and beat Cosmo top right corner. The play was challenged, but stood as a good goal. Schuss and Joel McCready had the assists. After two quarters, Buffalo led 10-4 and had seven points from Smith. Schuss led the way offensively with three assists, while Durston led the goal department with two. Shots favoured the Bandits 31-24 after 30 minutes.
Richards and Cosmo were solid in the third quarter not allowing anything by them for more than nine minutes of action. Finally, at 9:36, Smith broke the scoreless drought and registered his fifth goal of the night to make it an 11-4 game. With 4:05 to play, the Stealth recorded their first goal of the second half off the stick of Small. The Victoria native took a cross floor pass from Billings near the crease and made no mistake beating Cosmo next to the right pad. McCready had the other assist. Only two goals total were scored in the third quarter and the Stealth were down six goals going into the final 15 minutes.
After Jordan Durston had a power play goal waved off after a successful Buffalo challenge early in the fourth quarter, McCready scored his first of the game at 7:55. After taking a Billings pass near the crease, McCready drove to the net and let go of a diving shot that found the back of the goal. After David Brock scored a Buffalo goal at the 10:19 mark, Schuss notched his first of the game with a hard shot that found room over the left shoulder of Cosmo. Duch and Small earned the assists. However, the five goal deficit did not last long as Mitch de Snoo scored into an empty net to make it 13-7. Jordan Durston would score his hat-trick goal with 53 seconds to play, but the Stealth would fall by a final score of 13-8.
“We had a tough start again and they did a good job at keeping us to the outside and Cosmo was sharp when called upon. If we don’t come to play, we aren’t going to win many games, but we have to forget about this one and move on,” said defenseman Matt Beers.
A 10 goal first half from the Bandits turned out to be the difference in the game. Dhane Smith led all players with 5 goals and 3 assists. Billings led the Stealth with 1 goal and 4 assists, while Schuss and Duch finished with four points each. Richards stopped 33 of 41 on the night, while Cosmo turned away 42 of 50.
The Stealth are back in action on Sunday, March 13 in Toronto against the Rock at 12:00pm PST. The next home game is on Saturday, March 19 against the Saskatchewan Rush at 7:00pm PST. It is Lacrosse on the Move night with the first 1000 fans receiving a pack of Stealth Player Cards. Tickets are available online at www.stealthlax.com or by phone at 604.882.8800.
FINAL SCORE: Bandits 13 – Stealth 7, SHOTS ON GOAL: Stealth 50 – Bandits 49, LOOSE BALLS: Stealth 69 – Bandits 65 FACE-OFFS: Bandits 14-25 – Stealth 11-25, POWERPLAY: Stealth 2-6 – Bandits 1-2.