Coming into the final week of the NLL regular season, the Vancouver Stealth had already clinched their first playoff berth since the franchise relocated north from Washington. They sat in third, one game back of Colorado, but held the tie-breaker after finishing 3-1 against the Mammoth this season. Vancouver had the luxury of Colorado playing on Friday night, meaning the Stealth knew they had a chance to host a playoff game after Colorado’s loss in Saskatchewan.
Vancouver took down the New England Black Wolves 17-16 in overtime to clinch second place in the Western Conference. The seventeen goals was a season high for Vancouver
Corey Small scored with just eighteen seconds remaining to tie the game at sixteen apiece after Vancouver had lead 15-10 before allowing six straight New England goals. Small then ended it by spinning off a check and firing low stick side to beat Evan Kirk for the win. Kirk allowed three goals on the first four Stealth shots of the game and was pulled, he was brought back into the game with just under ten minutes left in the game. After the goaltending change, the Black Wolves went on that six-goal run, with New Westminster’s Kevin Crowley putting the home side ahead with 3:17 remaining. Corey Small scored four times for Vancouver and added another three assists, while Rhys Dutch scored seven points of his own.
“It may have been the greatest game I have ever been a part of in my whole life,” said Stealth head coach Jamie Batley.
Former Black Wolves Tye Belanger was strong in goal for Vancouver, making 66 saves. Along with Small and Duch’s seven-point efforts, Vancouver had goals from Jordan Durston (3), Joel McReady (2), Logan Schuss (2), Cory Conway, Peter McFetridge, and Brandon Clelland.
Vancouver enters the playoffs winners of three straight and four of five including a win over Colorado. Finishing the season at 9-9, the Stealth saw more success on the road than at home, picking up five of their wins away from the Langley Events Centre. The Stealth host the Colorado Mammoth the Western Conference’s 2 vs 3 game on Saturday, May 6th. The winner of that game will face the Western Champion Saskatchewan Rush in a best of three series the following weekend.