The misery continues for the Vancouver Stealth.
The Stealth fell 20-10 to the Saskatchewan Rush on Friday night at the Langley Events Centre, dropping their record to an abysmal 2-14 on the NLL season.
Should they fail to win either of their remaining two games, Vancouver will finish with the worst record in the league since the Edmonton Rush were 1-15 in 2006.
The Stealth’s worst season of all-time was 4-14 back in 2014, their first year in Langley.
“This team works hard but a lot of time, hard work doesn’t get you the win,” said Andrew Suitor, who registered his 100th career point in the loss.
Suitor was a free agent this past off-season and with suitors to pick from, he chose to sign with the Stealth and then re-sign for another two years during this season.
This was not what he was expecting, especially considering Vancouver was 9-9 and a playoff team in 2017.
Despite the losing, Suitor says the team isn’t divided or pointing fingers.
“You take it on the chin, you take it like a man,” he said. “And I think we have taken quite a few on the chin this year.”
Friday’s game had no bearing on the standings as the Stealth were already mathematically eliminated and at 12-3 coming in — and now 13-3 — the Rush were already guaranteed both the top spot in the West Division and overall.
Tony Malcom got the home side on the board 25 seconds in and the score remained 1-0 for the first seven minutes (although the Stealth did have two goals called back on crease violations).
But the Rush machine got rolling scoring four goals to close the quarter and then another five-spot to open the second before Brandon Goodwin finally got the Stealth back on the board with 23 seconds to go in the half, ending a 28:58 scoreless spell.
The Stealth did cut the lead to 12-7 in the third quarter but the outcome was never in doubt.
“The difference in the game tonight is this team is really well versed in what they do and if you make a mistake they are going to put it in the back of the net,” summarized Stealth coach Jamie Batley, who had an early exit after getting tossed less than four minutes into the fourth quarter.
Batley had taken issue with the consistency of the officiating after his team was whistled for too many men after a player stepped on the floor a few seconds early. He pointed out that Saskatchewan had done that twice without being penalized.
“I don’t care what the score is or if they are in the playoffs and we are not,” he said.
Saskatchewan went 5-for-7 on the man-advantage while Vancouver scored on their lone attempt.
The Rush had seven players with three points or more, led by three goals and seven assists from Mark Matthews, five goals and two assists from Ben McIntosh and four goals apiece from Robert Church and Matthew Dinsdale. Church also had five helpers while Dinsdale had four.
And Ryan Keenan (two goals, five assists) and Curtis Knight (three assists) rounded out the balanced scoring attack.
Rhys Duch led the Stealth with his first three-goal game of the season, while Suitor and Pat Saunders each had multi-goal games. Suitor also had an assist, which was his 100th career NLL point.
Brandon Goodwin and Logan Schuss had a goal and an assist apiece and Brandon Clelland had three helpers.
Jerseys auctioned off
One bright spot on the night was the fact $14,000 was raised as the Stealth auctioned off their specially-designed jerseys. The money will go to the victims and their families of last week’s tragic bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team.