Rush rematch will feature tribute to retired Stealth captain

Langley-based Vancouver Stealth fell short in ‘Toon Town’ Saturday night.

For the first time ever, Vancouver Stealth are retiring one of their player’s jerseys at next week’s home game against the Saskatoon Rush.

Despite the Rush beating the Stealth on Saskatchewan last night by the score of 11-9, the two teams will face off again this coming Saturday at Langley Events Centre.

And while the Langley-based lacrosse team is always looking for a victory, this time out it will be especially important to the Stealth, said head coach and assistant general manager Jamie Batley.

The Feb. 10 game is all about celebrating long-time team captain Curtis Hodgson, who announced last fall that he was retiring after 13 years with the National Lacrosse League.

“Looking to next week, we are excited to celebrate Curtis Hodgson. He was a great captain, he was a calming force on defence and from my perspective as a coach, he deserves to be honoured,” Batley said.

Ahead of next week’s game, the Stealth will host a pre-game ceremony to honour Hodgson, who played 211 of 216 regular season and all 15 playoff games. He accepted a vice-principal’s position at Burnaby South Secondary and had to step back from play. But he continues with the team, directing the Stealth lacrosse academy and junior Stealth program and will remain with the Stealth in a front office position.

“Curtis has embodied everything that is good about our sport over his entire career,” general manager Doug Locker said back in October, when Hodgson made the announcement.

READ: New captain takes reins of Stealth in Langley

“He has been an exceptional player on the floor and an unbelievable leader to a generation of players off the floor. He has always been a great ambassador of the game. As an organization we are very grateful to him for his years of loyalty, sacrifice, leadership and commitment. He is a very special person and we are happy that he will continue with the team in other capacities now that his playing career has concluded.”

As for last night’s game in Saskatchewan, the Vancouver Stealth’s focus was to start the game off quicker.

Facing a team that played the evening before, the stage was set for an early onslaught from Vancouver. Or was it?

Unfortunately for Stealth fans the Rush had other plans.

Saskatchewan opened the scoring nearly five minutes into the first frame and continued to a 4-0 lead early in the second before Vancouver got on the board.

Rhys Duch, Logan Schuss, and Joel McCready combined for the Stealth’s only three goals in the first 30 minutes of the game, while Saskatchewan tallied seven.

“I think the team who plays back-to-backs tend to be more aware of getting on and off the floor and Saskatchewan did that tonight,” said Steath defenceman Peter McFetridge.

“They scored a couple of buzzer beaters which is tough, we have a team goal of not being scored on in the final minute but at the end of the day, they got a couple of goals.”

The Stealth rushed into the third with markers from McCready, Brandon Goodwin, Tony Malcom, and Schuss added three to bring the game to 10-9 deficit after the third quarter.

Saskatchewan scored the only goal of the fourth to help the Rush to the 11-9 victory.

“We are going to repeat our preparation heading into the next game, but we obviously need to be better, we are going to be at home, we will get some veteran players back in the line up and we will be ready to go,” Batley said.

Tickets to the next Saturday’s home game are still available at StealthLAX.com.

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