Corey Small scores one of his four goals against the Rochester Knighthawks on Feb. 25 at the Langley Events Centre. Small leads the Vancouver Stealth with 25 goals this season but the team is struggling at 3-6.

Stealth look to turn things around in second half

Vancouver general manager Doug Locker feels team is on the verge of better results

Vancouver Stealth general manager Doug Locker can’t recall a National Lacrosse League season ever being this tight at the midway point of the 18-game campaign.

Heading into this weekend’s action, five teams out of nine each have three victories

Unfortunately for Locker, his Stealth squad is one of those five teams in the logjam. And the way the season has played out, he really feels his team could have easily been 5-4 instead of the 3-6 record they currently hold.

“We have to close out some wins at home. That is the single biggest frustration, being 3-2 on the road and 0-4 at home,” he said.

“We have to get some wins at home. That is really the glaring issue for us. It is immensely frustrating.”

Vancouver began the season 2-0 but has since dropped six of seven.

And in four of those losses, the team has been tied in the fourth quarter.

But Locker is taking the glass half-full approach.

“Bottom line is, I feel great about the progress we are making. I think we have showed that we can compete with anybody, we have shown that over the (last) four weeks,” he said.

The defence and transition have shown signs they are rounding into form.

NLL teams are allowing an average of a dozen goals per game and while Vancouver is ranked seventh at 13 goals against per game, they have been or late, surrendered 10 goals in each of the past three games. The Stealth did give up a dozen last week, but two of those came with the goaltender on the bench for an extra attacker.

“We have really turned the corner at that end (of the floor). We are getting the goaltending we need, the transition is starting to come together,” Locker said.

Tye Belanger has started the last four games and posted a .790 save percentage. For the season, he has stopped .775 of the shots he has faced, which puts him the top half in the league for that category.

The transition game has been led by Justin Salt who has five goals and 14 points in nine games. He is halfway to his career high of 10 goals and just five points away from the 19 he put up two seasons ago with the Stealth.

And up until last week, Vancouver’s offence was doing just fine.

They were held to a season-low eight goals on Feb. 25 in a 12-8 loss to Rochester.

The Stealth are fourth in the league with 11.8 goals per game but against Rochester, the offence was out of sync all night,.

Logan Schuss was held goal-less despite 11 shots on goal. He was averaging three goals per game.

Corey Small did continue his torrid pace, registering four of Vancouver’s eight goals, and he now leads the team with 25 goals. He is tied for the league-lead in goals and is tops in points with 61.

The right-side had Garrett Billings, Cory Conway and rookie James Rahe have combined to play just nine games this season and the lack of familiarity with one another showed.

It also didn’t help that they were playing without right-hander Rhys Duch, who averages nearly six points per game.

“Rhys is the cog on that side, so we were out of sync,” Locker said.

Barring a setback, Duch is anticipated to be back in the line-up when the Stealth host the Saskatchewan Rush on March 4 at Langley Events Centre.

 

Just Posted

Crown appeals stay against Jamie Bacon in Surrey Six killings

B.C.’s prosecution service says judge’s decision reveals ‘errors of law’

Arrest warrant issued for Langley City man

David Main is wanted on numerous charges including obstructing an officer

Langley RCMP seek man wanted for drug charges

David Main was last seen living in Langley City.

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Pellet gun prompts Langley RCMP to respond

A report of a firearm drew a large number of officers to Langley City.

VIDEO: Hundreds line up at Langley farm for pancakes and a chance to help

The 14th annual Krause Berry Farm breakfast with Santa raised almost $4,700.

Six-year-old boy needs $19,000 a month to treat rare form of arthritis

Mother of sick Sooke boy asks government to help fund treatments

Environmental groups slam NDP decision to continue with Site C

Construction industry, meanwhile, is cautiously optimistic about how the project will look

Be ladder safe both at work and home

WorkSafeBC wants you to keep safe while hanging those Christmas lights this year

Cold weather shelter too full, buses homeless to other communities

The Gateway of Hope shelter has had send some people to other shelters as they ran out of room.

B.C. overdose deaths surpass 1,200

96 people died of illicit drug overdoses in October

Feds agree to give provinces 75 per cent of pot tax revenues

Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the agreement today

Red Scorpion associates cuffed in drug-trafficking bust

Kamloops RCMP lay charges in connection to Red Scorpion drug trafficking ring

BC Ferries adds extra sailings for Christmas

More than 175 sailings are being added, including 130 between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island

Most Read