The tables were turned from two weeks ago. In that game, the visiting Colorado Mammoth scored an impressive 14-5 victory over the Vancouver Stealth. Two weeks later, with the same opponents and same venue, it was the Stealth coming out on top 15-7 in National Lacrosse League action at Langley Events Centre.
Vancouver improved to 2-3 while Colorado fell to 4-2.
Logan Schuss had a natural hat trick in the third quarter and finished with three goals and nine points to lead Vancouver, which won for the first time this season on their home court.
Ryhs Duch (3+0), Corey Small (2+5), Garrett Billings (1+5), Jordan Durston (2+2) and Joel McCready (1+4) all had big games for the offence.
Colorado was led by John Grant Jr. and Callum Crawford who each had a goal and three assists.
“It is finally nice to see the production go up for us. We are a bunch of goal scorers out there. It is nice to see it spread it … everyone is doing their part,” said Schuss, the game’s first star.
He now has 18 points in his last two games after scoring nine points in the first three combined.
“I am just playing the way I know I can.”
“I am a big body and I need to start using that to my advantage, getting shots on net, going hard to the net, drawing some attention and just putting the ball in the net when I can.”
Schuss also came up with seven loose balls, which was key to the team’s success.
“It is always important to get those second chances, get the D tired and wear them down a little bit. Just attack every chance we can,” he said.
Vancouver got off to a perfect start.
Ryan Wagner — making his NLL debut — had a dream start to his career as on his first shift, he found himself breaking in all alone on Colorado goaltender Alex Buque and buried the ball just 1:21 in.
“It was surreal. I can’t even believe it went in,” he said, a big smile on his face. “I guess I had a good three metres behind me, but I didn’t know that at the time so I just kept running. Got the stick out wide and buried it.”
It was one of three transition goals the team scored as Travis Cornwall and Tyler Garrison also found the back of the net.
The Stealth led 4-3 after one quarter and then scored the only two goals of the second to lead 6-3 at the half. The Mammoth opened the scoring in the third quarter but Vancouver responded with six consecutive goals on 12 shots. Colorado would get one back for the period ended but it was 12-5 Vancouver.
The 15 goals for Vancouver come after the team scored a combined 12 goals in their first two games, including a season-low seven two weeks ago to Colorado.
Stealth coach Dan Perreault said it was a combination of several factors that allowed the team to succeed this week.
“No. 1, we competed for 60 minutes,” he said. “Guys showed up and we came up with some big plays whereas last time we were a little flat.”
“Defensively, we had a lot of guys getting in the way of shots, getting their bodies, sticks in the way,” he said, adding that the team also did a good job of digging up loose balls.
Another factor in the game was the Stealth’s tenacity in getting after loose balls. Every players had at least one as the team combined for 69, led by Matt Beers’ nine.
The Stealth had a 55-47 advantage in shots with Eric Penney stopping 41 in the victory.
“I give credit to my defence,” Penney said. “We did a great job of getting in the shooting lanes.
“That is the difference … if we are getting in those shooting lanes and allow me to see the ball, then I think we are going to be successful.”
For Colorado, it was a second straight loss after starting the season at 4-0.
“They came out flying and we came out flat. It was an exact opposite of two weeks ago,” said coach Dan Stroup. “It is frustrating. But they were fired up, they owed one to their crowd. I can’t take anything away from them but on the other hand, we didn’t show up.”
Three Stars of the Game:
1) Logan Schuss
2) Eric Penney
3) Rhys Duch
By Gary Ahuja for NLL.com. Photo by Garrett James.