By Gary Ahuja | Staff Writer
Photo Credit: Garrett James
The third time was the charm for the Colorado Mammoth.
After being thwarted in their first two attempts in overtime — but coming up with the rebound to reset the offense — Brent Adams snuck behind the Vancouver Stealth defense and buried the overtime winner as the Mammoth won 10-9 on Sunday night in National Lacrosse League action at the Langley Events Centre.
“Nobody was on me and I was getting ready to go for a cut, got a tough ground ball and just had a chance to bury it and luckily I did,” Adams said.
The goal came 1:09 into overtime and completed a hat trick and five point game for the Mammoth defender.
The Stealth never got an opportunity to get their offense on the floor in the extra period.
Vancouver head coach Jamie Batley said the winning goal was indicative of what is plaguing his team, which has lost five straight after winning the first two games of the season.
“It is a little mistake where we don’t pick a guy coming up out of the corner,” Batley said.
“They only had three guys not he floor when they scored.”
“We are not doing the little things. The guy who comes out of the corner, he is working hard the whole time and gets himself open and gets the winning goal. So he outsmarted us. We need to be doing that.”
The Stealth looked like they were going to break their losing skid when Rhys Duch scored his second of the game on the power play with 58 seconds to go. It was Vancouver’s fifth goal with the man advantage in seven opportunities.
And after Brendan Fowler won the ensuing face-off, the rookie went for the goal but was denied by Colorado goaltender Dillon Ward.
The Mammoth went down the floor and Zack Greer scored his second of the night to force overtime.
“Obviously we want (Fowler) to circle back out and kill the clock. It probably doesn’t matter because they are probably going to run the same play when they get the ball back,” Batley said.
“Maybe we get a reset, maybe we get the ball back and kill it but at the end of the day we can’t go back on maybes. He has to learn from that mistake.”
Batley added that the game was not lost on that one mistake.
“I am not going to blame the game on him. We have been making a lot of small mistakes that we really shouldn’t be making at this level, so guys have to look in the mirror and cut down on the small mistakes,” he said. “There are numerous of them.”
The game was back-and-forth.
After Colorado’s Creighton Reid opened the scoring, the Stealth responded with three goals from Corey Small, Peter McFetridge and Logan Schuss.
Jacob Ruest would cut the lead to 3-2, scoring just before the buzzer to end the first quarter.
The second quarter saw just Adams score short-handed to make it 3-3 at the half.
Vancouver took advantage on a five-minute power play in the third quarter as Schuss and Garrett Billings scored 29 seconds apart. Colorado’s Joey Cupido got one back with a short-handed marker before Schuss completed his hat trick with both those goals coming on that same five-minute major.
Duch and Greer would trade goals before the quarter ended and Cupido and Adams scored early in the fourth to make it 7-7.
Vancouver’s Joel McCready and Colorado’s Mike Mallory then exchanged goals before the frantic finish.
Schuss led the Stealth with three goals and four assists but admitted the team had some rust coming off a bye week.
“Definitely a little rust. Guys were gripping the sticks a little bit,” he said.
“Our defense kind of bailed us out a little bit there and we got into a bit of a groove in the second half.”
“That is a good qualify goalie across the way from us but we would definitely like to have more than three at the half.”
Despite the loss, he said there was plenty to like from the game.
There are a lot of good things to take away (from this game) and a few negative. But what I really liked was the grit, the determination from a lot of the guys,” Schuss said.
“Guys selling their bodies out to get to loose balls, that is something we really price ourselves on. I think we showed it tonight.”
Batley was also happy for the most part with his team’s defensive performance.
“I think 5 on 5 we played a great game,” he said.
The Mammoth scored one power-play goal, twice with an extra attacker and twice more while short-handed.
“It is the little things that we already know about that we are not doing. We need to make sure they are doing what is coached.”
For the Mammoth, who improved to 4-3 with the win, this was a huge victory.
For one thing, they have already lost to Stealth once this season so this would have put them down 0-2 in the season series.
“It was a must. We had to win tonight. Now we are 1-1 and we will see what happens later in the year,” said Colorado coach Dan Stroup.
“It could have gone either way. Just a little bit of puck luck in the end.”
Besides Adams five points, Greer and Cupido led the Mammoth with two goals and an assist apiece while Mike Mallory had a goal and three helpers and Eli McLaughlin had four assists.
In addition to Schuss’s six points, Duch had two goals and four assists while Billings and Small each had a goal and four helpers.
Stealth goaltender Tye Belanger earned first star honors after stopping 43 shots as Colorado outshot Vancouver 53-47.
Several of his stops were highlight reel saves which kept the Stealth in the game.
Next up for Vancouver is a road game in Calgary while Colorado battles Saskatchewan.