If there's one thing to take from the first two games of the San Jose Stealth's 2009 season is that this team isn't one that's going to go away quietly.
The Calgary Roughecks and Minnesota Swarm, San Jose's most recent opponents, can attest to that, coming away with wins that were anything but handed to them on a silver platter. The Stealth had allowed a run of unanswered goals and some uncharacteristic turnovers to find itself down by at least five halftime points in each game, but solid goalie play and a resurgent second half offense nearly brought victory.
"That gives us a little bit of a good feeling going into the season," said Stealth captain Colin Doyle, who has three goals on the year. "There's no doubt that the hustle is there, but we need to get the job done."
And that fighting gutso could be the most telling sign of better things to come for the Stealth as it looks to once again contend for the West Division title and Champion's Cup and erase the memory of last season's semifinal round playoff exit.
"This is a championship caliber team," first year head coach Jeff Dowling said. "We showed a lot of spirit, worked hard to make it close and most of the guys played OK."
The Stealth's poise in both comebacks was admirable, though players said they'd prefer to not put themselves in that position. Such a spot can only be fixed by reducing those pesky and uncharacteristic turnovers.
"We've all played lacrosse since we were young and some of those mistakes that we lost are inexcusable," Doyle said. "We want to go into a game and not worry about coming from behind."
Growing pains, as players called it, are common with any young team looking for its groove.
"There's going to be some rough games as we get better, but we're certainly going to be there at the end," said forward Jeff Zywicki, who has also scored three goals for the Stealth. "We're going to be up there hunting for the title."
San Jose will host the Rochester Knighthawks next Sunday at HP Pavilion.