A longshot to begin with, the Vancouver Stealth’s fading playoff hopes took another blow on Saturday night, leaving the team with virtually no margin for error.
The Stealth dropped a 13-10 decision to the visiting Colorado Mammoth at the Langley Events Centre, dropping their record to 1-12.
Vancouver needs to run the table to even remotely have a shot at a second consecutive NLL post-season berth as they trail the Calgary Roughnecks (5-7) by 4.5 games with five games remaining.
The Stealth do play Calgary twice over the final six weeks and would need to win both (and by a combined dozen goals or more to win the tiebreaker should they both finish with identical 6-12 records).
Vancouver’s first step towards even keeping that a reality is this Saturday night as they head to Denver to complete the home-and-home series with the Mammoth.
The Stealth fell behind 4-1 in the most recent game between the West Division foes but rallied to tie the score at eight early in the fourth quarter. The Mammoth would score four of the next five goals for the 13-10 victory.
Colorado burned Vancouver with the man advantage, scoring four times on five power-play opportunities.
“We are struggling right now, I do not think that is a secret. But it shows the true character of the team when we keep getting knocked down and we keep getting up,” said Joel McCready, who led the Stealth with three goals.
“Every time you go out on the floor it is bigger than yourself, you are playing for your family, you are playing for your friends and you are playing for your teammates.
“Nobody in that room is running away, we may be getting hit but we are showing up and ready to swing back at our opponents.”
Tony Malcom (two goals, three assists) was one of three Stealth players with five-point games, alongside Rhys Duch and Logan Schuss, who both had a goal and four helpers .
James Rahe, Pat Saunders and Corey Small each had a goal with Small adding a pair of assists.
Eric Penney finished with 42 saves in the loss.