(ISN) – The Vancouver Stealth (1-0) will get a chance to display their new look, high-powered offense in front of the home crowd for the first time this season as they get set for their 2015 Home Opener against the Toronto Rock (1-0) at the Langley Events Centre on Saturday, January 10 at 7:30PM.
After scoring 18 goals against the Calgary Roughnecks in their season opener last Saturday, the Stealth showed the entire league that this is not the same team as 2014. Despite getting down early, Vancouver never panicked, instead scored 11 straight goals at one point, taking down the defending West Division Champions at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
“We got off to a rough start,” said Head Coach Dan Perreault, who picked up his first career NLL victory as a Head Coach. “It was 9-4 at one time. We looked slow and sloppy, but saying that, I’m happy with the way we stuck together. We got our legs, started running; once we started going, the ball started dropping.”
“It was the product of having a bunch of guys that never played together before,” said goaltender Tyler Richards. “I came to the bench at the end of the first quarter and told the guys Calgary is doing everything we talked about. We were just making a few minor mistakes but stuck with it and it worked out for us in the end. What an exciting game it must’ve been for the fans.”
The Stealth showed just how explosive their new offense can be as Rhys Duch scored a game-high nine points (4g, 5a). Ilija Gajic chipped in with five points (3g, 2a) while Tyler Digby scored a hat-trick. New members, Tyler Hass and rookie Caleb Wiles also had strong games for the Stealth while Johnny Powless made his much-anticipated Stealth debut, assisting three times in the win. Richards made 48 saves including some at key moments of the game, helping to swing the momentum in favour of the Stealth in the second half, where they outscored Calgary 11-5.
Vancouver will look to keep its high-octane offense going against a Toronto Rock team that only gave up 12 goals to the Rochester Knighthawks in week one, coming back to beat them 13-12. After trailing for most of the game, the Rock scored late in the fourth quarter to edge out the defending champions.
“We’re very happy with the win,” said Rock Head Coach John Lovell. “It was a great way for us to start, to beat them (Rochester) in their own building but we have a lot of work to do.”
“We’re going to have to bring our transition legs like we did in Calgary,” said Richards. “It’s a matchup where both teams are very familiar with each other and we have to be ready to go because we know they will. They’re playing for Terry Sanderson as much as we’re playing for Chris Hall.”
With much of the talk surrounding the team’s Home Opener, not much attention has been put on the fact that forward Rhys Duch is set to become the Stealth’s All-Time Leading Scorer (2000-2009).
“I’m not really thinking about it,” said Duch. “I’m more concerned about the team playing well together and of course getting the win.” “I can’t wait to play in front of our home crowd,” said Gajic. “It’s always nice to be back home and hopefully we can get a win for them.”
Tickets for the Stealth’s 2015 Home Opener are available at www.ticketmaster.ca. The first 4500 fans receive a free Stealth Energy Towel, courtesy of GlobalBC TV.
Doors will open at 5:30PM and the Pre-Game Party begins at the Fox Hole. Before every home game, fans can to listen to music, watch out of town games on the big screens, and enjoy great food and drinks including a special Prime Rib Dinner for just 17-dollars, available only at the Stealth Pre-Game Party in the LEC Banquet Hall.
STEALTH NOTES: In 11 career regular season meetings, the Stealth are 3-8 all-time versus the Rock. The 18 goals last week was the most in a season opener by the team since 2002 when they scored 20 as the Albany Attack. This will be team’s sixteenth Home Opener. They’re 7-8 all-time.