Small comes up big for Stealth against Rush

Vancouver improves to 1-1 after come-from-behind victory over Saskatchewan

About the only thing that went wrong this weekend for Corey Small was the fact he lost his wedding ring.

The band was lost in or outside of Saskatoon’s Sasktel Centre prior to the Vancouver Stealth’s 13-11 victory over the defending National Lacrosse League champion Saskatchewan Rush on Friday night.

Aside from the fact he lost his ring, Small had himself quite the night, scoring five goals in his team’s come-from-behind victory.

“I know for me personally, when I get one, you get that feeling where you think you have a few more you can put in,” he said.

Vancouver jumped out to a 3-0 lead and led 5-2 after one quarter. The Rush responded with seven goals in the second period to give the home side a 9-7 half-time lead.

The second half was all Stealth, however, as they held the Rush to a pair of goals. And on offence, Small came up big with four of the team’s six second-half goals.

“The idea was to stay focused and stick to our game plan; don’t let their success at that time of the game dictate how we are going to play and just keep doing what we have been doing,” Small said.

“Our mentality was that you have to ride the waves of the game,” he said about what the team talked about at half-time. “You can’t get too high when you are winning and you can’t get too low when you are losing.

“We know lacrosse is a game of runs where a team can put up seven in a quarter. But it also means we are capable of doing it as well.”

Goaltender Eric Penney was solid, especially in the second half as he made 24 saves in the final 30 minutes. He finished with 36 saves.

Small finished with six points while Rhys Duch had two goals and five points. Joel McCready and Jordan Durston both potted a pair of goals, with Durston’s two the first markers of his NLL career.

Logan Schuss, who had opened the scoring, finished with a goal and two assists.

Small also credited his teammates for creating space for him as well as finding him when he was open.

The win evens Vancouver’s record to 1-1.

“It was a huge win for us, just to know that we are competitive enough to beat these top tier teams in the league,” Small said.

“And to get our confidence back after a tough loss to start the season.”

A pair of players who didn’t suit up on opening night also made an impact.

Matt Beers grabbed nine loose balls while Mitch McMichael secured 10 loose balls. McMichael was also 50 per cent on face-offs, going 14-for-28.

Up next for the Stealth is a home date on Saturday (Jan. 23) when the league’s lone unbeaten team, the Colorado Mammoth (3-0) visit the Langley Events Centre.

 

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