There was less than 1 minute remaining in the third quarter Saturday night. The Vancouver Stealth led, 9-7. Thirty seconds later, the Colorado Stealth led, 10-9. That certainly wasn’t the end of the National Lacrosse League game as the Stealth rallied to tie the score 2 more times in the fourth quarter, but the Mammoth had an answer each time and held on for their first National Lacrosse League win of the season. “We were hungry!” transition player Cam Holding told ColoradoMammoth.com. “It’s our barn — we talked about trying to take our barn back and I think that was on everybody’s minds tonight.” The win redeems a disappointing opening-night loss last week for the Mammoth while sending that same disappointment to the Stealth, losers in what was their first game of the season. “I thought we did enough, considering the circumstances, to be able to win,” Stealth coach Chris Hall told The Province. “But we have to clean a few things up.”
Saturday night certainly was a game of momentum. Colorado opened a 3-1 lead before the Stealth rallied in the second quarter, outscoring the Mammoth 5-1 for a 6-4 halftime lead. But the third belonged to the Mammoth, especially after that late surge that saw Sean Pollock, Adam Jones and Bob Snider score goals in a span of 30 seconds. And as if the rosters weren’t already small enough this season with just 16 runners, the Stealth were down to 15 after captain Kyle Sorensen was assessed a match major in the second quarter for spearing.
The Stealth were game, rallying in the fourth to tie the score at 10-10 and 11-11, but backup goalie Dillon Ward came up big down the stretch. He made saves on shots by Lewis Ratcliff and Rhys Duch in the final minute.
“There’s a lot of one-goal games in this league and the team that weathers the momentum storms and doesn’t make those fundamental mistakes usually end up on top,” Hall told StealthLax.com. “In the final minutes we made a number of those fundamental errors that ended up costing us.”
The game capped Week 2 of the NLL season but we have yet to see a full slate of action. That changes this weekend with 6 games on tap, including the Stealth playing their first game in their new home of Langley, B.C., when they welcome the Minnesota Swarm to town for a Saturday night tilt.
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The Toronto Rock figured to miss the steady production of F Blaine Manning, who retired in the offseason. But Manning’s departure opened an opportunity for F Rob Hellyer, who responded by scoring 3 goals in Toronto’s opening win over Calgary on Friday. “I’ve had a good three years with this team and I’ve learned a lot,” said Hellyer. “I think now it’d be nice to step up and make a bigger contribution.” (Canadian Press) … The Calgary Roughnecks certainly are disappointed with losing their opener in Toronto on Friday, but F Jeff Shattler put an interesting spin on it. “Sometimes it’s better to lose the game than win ‘em. You learn a lot about your team and your teammates when you’re down, and what they are capable of doing when they’re down. That’s what championship teams do. We have 17 games left and that’s a positive coming out of tonight.” (Calgary Roughnecks).Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at email@example.com or go to RochesterSports.com.
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