Vancouver Stealth’s Ryan Fournier checks Colorado Mammoth’s Ryan Benesch during NLL action at the Langley Events Centre on Dec. 8. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Stealth stymied in home opener

Not much to cheer in National Lacrosse League opener at Langley Events Centre

It may have been the first game of the season, but Vancouver Stealth coach Jamie Batley wasn’t making any excuses for his team.

“Our offence has to look themselves in the mirror and wonder why they shot from the outside all night when we told them you can’t do that against (Dillon) Ward,” Batley said, following his team’s season opening 15-8 loss Friday night at the Langley Events Centre.

“He’s a big goalie, he is a great angle goalie, he is one of the best in the world. We didn’t make him move.”

Ward is the reigning National Lacrosse League goaltender of the year.

And after allowing five goals on 15 shots in the first quarter, Ward settled into a groove and stopped 31 of 34 the rest of the way.

The Stealth were actually up 5-3 late in the first quarter but Colorado’s Chris Wardle and Tim Edwards scored eight seconds apart in the final 30 seconds to tie the game after 15 minutes.

Neither team scored for the first eight minutes and change in the second quarter before the Mammoth got consecutive short-handed goals form Jordan Gilles and Joey Cupido for a lead they would not relinquish.

“It just went south from there. We decided not to try and penetrate the offence,” Batley said.

The Stealth were blanked for the entire quarter and found themselves down 9-6 at the break. They did manage two goals in the third quarter but surrendered another six.

Goaltender Tye Belanger — who led the league with a .796 save percentage in 2017 — was yanked after the fifth goal of the period. He finished with 23 saves on 37 shots.

Brodie MacDonald allowed one goal on seven shots the rest of the way.

“I am not going to blame it all on our goaltending but 62 per cent (save percentage) is not going to win you anything, it is going to get you last place,” Batley said.

“(And) offensively, only thee of the seven (forwards) scored — we are not going to win when we do that.”

Joel McCready and Logan Schuss each had two goals up front while Evan Messenger had one.

The duo of Corey Small and Rhys Duch — who combined to lead the Stealth with 84 goals and 205 points last season — finished with zero goals on 19 shots and three assists total.

Justin Salt, Brandon Goodwin and Travis Cornwall had the other Vancouver goals.

Colorado was led by four goals and five points from Wardle and big nights from both Ryan Benesch (two goals, eight points) and Jeremy Noble (two goals, five points).

Ryan Lee (two goals, two assists), Eli McLaughlin (one goal, three assists) and Bryce Sweeting (one goal) also found the back of the net.

The Stealth were also hurt by the loss of their captain Matt Beers in the second quarter to what appeared to be an upper body or head injury.

Losing any player is crucial but Batley said it wasn’t the reason they lost.

The coach did say that he believes Beers is fine and holding him out for the rest of the game was more precautionary on the doctors’ part.

The Stealth will look for their first win of the season when they travel to Calgary for a game on Dec. 15.

 

Vancouver Stealth’s Ian Hawskbee is all over his Colorado Mammoth opponent during NLL action at the Langley Events Centre on Dec. 8. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Vancouver Stealth’s Tony Malcom tries to get a step on Colorado Mammoth’s Tim Edwards during NLL action at the Langley Events Centre on Dec. 8. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Colorado Mammoth’s Taylor Stuart bodies up Vancouver Stealth’s Joel McCready during NLL action at the Langley Events Centre on Dec. 8. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Colorado Mammoth’s Dillon Ward makes a point-blank save on Vancouver Stealth’s Evan Messenger during NLL action at the Langley Events Centre on Dec. 8. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Vancouver Stealth’s Chris O’Dougherty defends Colorado Mammoth’s Quinn MacKay during NLL action at the Langley Events Centre on Dec. 8. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Vancouver Stealth’s Logan Schuss is watched by Colorado Mammoth’s Scott Carnegie during NLL action at the Langley Events Centre on Dec. 8. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Colorado Mammoth’s Tim Edwards and Vancouver Stealth’s Ryan Fournier battle during NLL action at the Langley Events Centre on Dec. 8. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Just Posted

Fraser Valley Bald eagle festival explodes in popularity, draws thousands to Mission, Harrison Mills

Weather, news, social media contribute to high turnout, says president

Murder victim Jagvir Malhi was not involved in gangs, says IHIT

Investigators say Abbotsford man was ‘associated to those involved’ in conflict

Mission Christmas Bureau needs more gifts for teens

Asking local professionals to rise to the challenge

Second person dies following head-on collision in Surrey

Paige Nagata of Abbotsford was in crash on Nov. 4 that also killed Sarah Dhillon

11 years sought for Burnaby man who killed girlfriend with hammer, burned her body

Manslaughter sentencing hearing starts Monday in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack for Ryan Armstrong

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

South Korean named Interpol president in blow to Russia

South Korea’s Kim Jong Yang was elected as Interpol’s president edging out a longtime veteran of Russia’s security services.

E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce sickens 18 people in Ontario, Quebec

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it’s working with U.S. authorities to determine the source of the romaine lettuce those who got ill were exposed to.

Trump defies calls to punish crown prince for writer’s death

The U.S. earlier sanctioned 17 Saudi officials suspected of being responsible for or complicit in the Oct. 2 killing, but members of Congress have called for harsher actions, including cancelling arms sales.

British, EU leaders to meet as Brexit deadline looms

The U.K. and the European Union agreed last week on a 585-page document sealing the terms of Britain’s departure.

Richard Oland was killed ‘in a rage,’ prosecutor tells son’s murder trial

The verdict from Oland’s 2015 murder trial was set aside on appeal in 2016. Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011.

B.C.’s HMCS Edmonton rescues two more sea turtles

Warship credited with a turtle rescue earlier in November

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Most Read