The Vancouver Stealth have little wiggle room in their quest to make the National Lacrosse League playoffs.
The team sits at 6-9, a half-game behind the 7-9 Calgary Roughnecks in the race for the West Division’s third and final playoff spot as the regular seasons winds down at the end of the month.
And the Stealth are hosting Calgary in a crucial game on Saturday night (7 p.m. PST) at the Langley Events Centre.
And while a loss wouldn’t sink the Stealth’s chances, it would eliminate any room for error the team has.
“This is going to be a battle. This game has serious playoff implications for both teams,” said Vancouver captain Curtis Hodgson.
“To get the result we are looking for, we need a full team effort and we need to grind to take this opportunity.”
The Roughnecks have won three straight games while the Stealth have lost three of their past four.
A victory would pull Vancouver even with Calgary with seven wins apiece. It would also give the Stealth the season series, 3-1, which could be huge should the teams finish the regular season tied.
The Roughnecks have one game after this week, April 29, at home to Saskatchewan while Vancouver hosts Colorado on April 22 and then concludes the regular season on April 29 on the road in New England.
Head-to-head is the first tiebreaker. Should the Stealth lose, the season series would obviously be 2-2 and the next tiebreaker would be divisional record. In that scenario — assuming Calgary lost their regular season finale while the Stealth finished 2-0 — both teams would be 8-10.
And in that instance, the second tiebreaker would be divisional record and again, Vancouver would get the edge with six wins and five losses compared to Calgary’s 4-7 mark.
In their previous three head-to-head games, neither Vancouver nor Calgary have been able to win on their home floor, something the Stealth are hoping to change on Saturday night.
“It is a big game not only in the standings but also because we are expecting a great crowd and we can’t wait to hear them cheering us on,” said Justin Salt.
The game is also Lacrosse on the Move night where the Stealth players will be wearing special B.C.-themed jerseys.
Online bids and bids at the game are being accepted on the game-worn jerseys and the money raised will go to the Lacrosse on the Move Fun for B.C. Lacrosse.
Any youth who wear their minor lacrosse jerseys will also get free admission to the game with a paying adult.