By Gary Ahuja Staff Writer
Two goals in the final 39:07 sent the Vancouver Stealth to yet another home loss.
The Stealth had a great first half defensively, holding the visiting Rochester Knighthawks to just four goals while their offense did enough for a 6-4 lead at the break.
But Vancouver’s offense went dry in the second half as the team lost 12-8 in National Lacrosse League action at the Langley Events Centre.
Both teams now sit at 3-6 and Vancouver is an abysmal 0-4 at the LEC.
“Didn’t shoot well, didn’t get to the middle,” said Vancouver coach Jamie Batley, following a lengthy closed-door meeting with his players following the team’s sixth loss in the last seven games.
Batley declined to share what was said in the meeting.
“We didn’t have energy on offense and (we) shot poorly.”
The Stealth had a great start to the game, holding Rochester without a shot for the first seven minutes and Vancouver was up 4-1 after one quarter with Justin Salt and Corey Small each scoring twice.
Three of the four goals came in transition for Vancouver.
Brad Gillies and Kyle Jackson scored early in the second to make it 4-3 before Small completed his hat trick and James Rahe then extended the lead to 6-3.
That goal came at the 5:53 mark and marked the start of a dry spell for the Stealth as they managed just two scores the rest of the way.
Cory Vitarelli made it 6-4, scoring on a delayed penalty call with a leaping lunge from behind the net, sneaking the ball past Tye Belanger.
The shots were 28-21 at the half for Vancouver but the second half was all Rochester.
The Knighthawks cut the lead to 7-6 after three quarters with Jackson and Joe Resetarits scoring with Small’s fourth goal sandwiched in between.
Josh Currier — who had Rochester’s first goal of the game — tied the score early in the fourth and Resetarits gave the visitors their first lead at 7:13 with a power-play tally.
Rahe would tie the score at eight with less than three minutes to play, but eight seconds later, of the ensuing face-off, Gillies gave Rochester the lead for good.
Currier would tack on an insurance marker before Adam Bomberry and Dylan Evans scored into the empty net.
Vancouver’s last three home losses has seen the team tied in the fourth quarter but unable to pull out the victory.
“We just let off the gas a little bit and were on our heels,” said Salt, who had two goals and an assist, all in transition. He also had a few chances in the second half but was turned aside by Matt Vinc.
“We are just letting these games get away at the very end.”
While the defense had a great first half, the offense was out of rhythm.
Part of that can be attributed to missing Rhys Duch, who sat out the game with an undisclosed injury.
“Duchee brings a big element to our offense obviously, an outside shot and lots of energy,” Batley said.
“We didn’t have the energy on offense and shot poorly.”
Things don’t get much easier for Vancouver as they kick off the second half with a visit from the first-place — and two-time defending NLL champion — Saskatchewan Rush on Saturday night.
The Rush sit at 6-2.
“We are 3-6 and halfway through the season and we can’t go 3-6 in the second half,” Batley said.
Currier led Rochester with three goals and one assist while Gillies, Restarts and Jackson each had two goals. Dan Dawson and Dan Lomas each chipped in with three assists and Vitarelli (one goal, two assists) also had three points.
Small led the Stealth with four goals and an assist while Rahe (two goals, two assists) and Salt (two goals, one assist) had multi-goal games.
Matt Beers and Joel McCready each picked up a pair of helpers.
Logan Schuss — who entered the game leading the Stealth with 22 goals — was held to just a single assist. He failed to score despite having 11 shots on goal.