Vancouver, BC (Friday, April 10, 2015) – The Vancouver Stealth (4-9) head East for the first time this season as they embark on another pivotal road trip starting tonight against the Toronto Rock (11-4). Face-off is at 4:30PM PST at the Air Canada Centre.
The Stealth are holding on to the final playoff spot in the West Division with five games remaining in the regular season. A pair of wins this weekend would give the Stealth momentum heading into the home stretch.
“It’s a long road trip but the guys are pretty pumped up. Every game is critical; we’re fighting for a playoff spot.” said Stealth Head Coach Dan Perreault.
“We’re making the push now,” said Stealth forward Joel McCready. “Sometimes in this league it’s about getting hot at the right time.”
McCready, who lives in the Lower Mainland has had no trouble adjusting to his new colours. In 13 games, the 27-year old has netted a career-high 39 points including 21 goals in his first season with the Stealth.
Vancouver needs to put last weekend behind them as they fell to the Edmonton Rush in back-to-back games, including a 15-14 overtime loss last Friday.
“You can’t think about that,” added McCready. “You have to be mentally strong and learn from your mistakes but can’t dwell on things that have happened in the past.”
Despite a five game losing streak, Vancouver continues to put up impressive offensive numbers. They rank third in goals per game (12.46) and second in powerplay goals (36). Their powerplay is clicking at a rate of 46.75 percent, good for fifth in the league.
Eric Penney made his his first career NLL start last weekend for the Stealth stopping 89 shots in the two games versus Edmonton. With Tyler Richards still on the injured reserve list, the 21-year old will be back between the pipes for Vancouver this weekend.
“Eric was put into action against a very good team with very good shooters,” said Perreault. “We were very pleased with his performance. He’s learning, he’s doing his homework, studying the shooters and he’s going to continue to get better.”
Toronto has clinched a postseason berth and is looking to lock up top spot in the NLL and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
“We’re happy we’re in the playoffs and at the very least have a home playoff game,” said Rock Head Coach John Lovell. “We have a legitimate shot at first place. It’s important for us to play hard down the stretch and get hot for the playoffs.”
The last time the Rock and Stealth met was Vancouver’s home opener in January where Toronto came away with the victory, but Lovell knows this is a different Stealth team than three months ago.
“They’ve got a great offensive group,” he said. “They put up some pretty good numbers against a strong defensive (Edmonton) team. We have a lot of respect for the way they can move the ball and shoot the ball. We have to be prepared defensively and on top of our game. They’re fighting for the playoffs. There’s a lot on the line for both teams.”
After Toronto, Vancouver will head to Uncasville, Connecticut for a matchup with the New England Black Wolves on Sunday at 10:00AM PST at the Mohegan Sun Casino. The Stealth return home next weekend when they host the three-time defending champion Rochester Knighthawks at the Langley Events Centre on Saturday, April 18 at 7:00PM PST. The first one-thousand fans will receive a free Stealth Lunch Bag.
For details visit www.StealthLAX.com