The Vancouver Stealth (5-10) snapped a six-game losing streak and moved back into the third and final playoff spot in the West Division with an 11-9 road win over the New England Black Wolves (4-9) at Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday afternoon. The Black Wolves fought hard, but the Stealth played even hungrier behind rookie goaltender Eric Penney and kept the pack on its heels throughout the game.
“This is a big win for us,” stated Stealth head coach Dan Perreault. “I think the guys put in a great effort, and they got rewarded with the two points. The guys bought in and they worked extremely hard and they stayed focused.”
“They had 11, we had 9,” said Black Wolves head coach Blane Harrison. “Our shooting percentage wasn’t very good; we’re not very good shooters right now. We’re not finishing and that was the difference in the game.”
All of the Stealth forwards each scored at least once during the game. Joel McCready led all scorers with a hat trick while Corey Small and Rhys Duch had two goals each. Logan Schuss, Tyler Digby, Cliff Smith, and Justin Salt adding one goal apiece as well. Though the Black Wolves outshot the Stealth throughout the game, sniper shots from the Vancouver offense proved to be too much for veteran goaltender Evan Kirk.
“That’s the goal with any offense, to spread it out,” noted Perreault. “We played a team game tonight. Offensively they shared the ball and they got rewarded with some very nice goals. I think it’s very important to share the ball and some nights it’s not going to go in, but you just have to keep working at it. Setting picks and doing some of the dirty work.”
“We look at it more as high percentage shots and what’s a good shot. We had some good shots and some went in. Some nights you take those and they don’t go in. We had some good opportunities,” added Perreault.
The Black Wolves offense was hot during the first quarter scoring the first two goals of the game. However, the Stealth took over immediately, scoring the next four goals of the half. Pat Saunders, Brett Bucktooth, and rookie Mark Cockerton each had two goals for the Black Wolves, and defender Brian Megill scored in transition for the first goal of his NLL career. The Stealth’s Eric Penney had an impressive 59 saves on 68 shots for an .867 save percentage in his first career win.
“They started scoring the shots on the opportunities they had and we didn’t,” stated Harrison. “All of a sudden, you get into a bit of a hole as a result and you start gripping your stick a little bit too much. It’s unfortunate and it was just not a good game for the offense.”
“We’re getting the shots, we’re just not burying them and we need to in order to win,” added Cockerton.
Three Stars of the Game as selected by the media:
1) Eric Penney
2) Joel McCready
3) Mark Cockerton
Story by Alyssa McLaughlin (@BlackWolvesBeat) for NLL.com. Photo by Khoi Ton.