Game Preview: Stealth @Rock
A week off may be just what the doctor ordered for the Rock who did not play in Week 5. Their last game was a 12-8 loss to the Rochester Knighthawks on January 18th that dropped them to 1-2 on the season.
Stephan Leblanc continues his torrid scoring pace leading the team in goals with 10. Garrett Billings meanwhile leads the team in assists (16) and points (18) but has struggled to find the back of the net through 3 games this season. Goaltender Nick Rose has looked solid in all 3 starts this season. The Rock will count on him to continue to make timely saves especially down the stretch.
The Rock Defence has been hampered by injury early on providing opportunity for some younger players to get into the line-up. Dustin Dunn played in Buffalo on January 10th while Mike Lum-Walker and Eric Law played their first NLL games on January 18th in Rochester. Bill Greer who has been out since the season opener against Calgary will make his return against Vancouver.
Injury Report :
D Chris White (Lower Body)
D Patrick Merrill (Lower Body)
The Rock are 6-3 all time vs. the Vancouver franchise (previously located in Albany, San Jose and Washington).
Josh Sanderson’s next goal will be the 400th of his NLL Career.
The Stealth moved north in the off-season, relocating from Everett, Washington after making it to the league final last season where they fell to Rochester.
So far in 2014 they have a record of 2-3. Vancouver lost their season opener 13-12 in Colorado, before winning their first two games at the Langley Event Centre. Their first win was an 8-5 decision over Minnesota and then a thrilling 14-13 win over Colorado. They’ve dropped their last two games, 15-12 to Calgary and 9-8 to Edmonton last week.
At The Helm:
Chris Hall made the move with the team from Washington and returns for his 6th season as Head Coach. He has lead the team to three Champion’s Cup berths in the past 5 years, winning the prize in 2010.
Rhys Duch leads the Stealth in both goals (14) and points (25). Veteran Lewis Ratcliff leads the team in assists (12) and has 20 points on the season. Other offensive threats include Cliff Smith 7G-9A-16PTS and Tyler Digby who’s tied for second in goals with Ratcliff (8).
Tyler Garrison leads the team with 31 loose balls and 10 forced turnovers and is also their go to man in the face-off circle. Illija Gajic has 22 Loose Balls for the Stealth.
Between The Pipes:
Tyler Richards has started and finished all five games for the Stealth this season posting a record of 2-3. His GAA is 10.92 and his save percentage is .788 which is good enough for 4th among league leaders.
Who To Watch:
Rhys Duch and Lewis Ratcliff are known to work the ball between one another and are the most potent duo on offense. Duch posted a career high 96 points last season.