Vancouver Stealth win as NLL returns to B.C. for first time in 10 years | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vancouver Stealth win as NLL returns to B.C. for first time in 10 years

January 11, 2014 - 9:33 PM

LANGLEY, B.C. - Rhys Duch scored twice and had an assist as the Vancouver Stealth defeated the Minnesota Swarm 8-5 in the first National Lacrosse League regular season game in British Columbia since 2004.

The Stealth moved to Langley from Everett, Wash., during the off-season, giving the province its first professional lacrosse team since the Vancouver Ravens folded 10 years ago.

Duch scored the first two goals of the night Saturday, electrifying the near-capacity crowd.

The Langley fans came out in droves to show their appreciation for their new club, which has made three of the past four NLL finals. When doors opened an hour before game time, the line-up snaked around the Langley Events Centre, which can seat 5,200.

The Stealth averaged 4,184 during their final season in Everett.

Cody Bremner, Mike Grimes, Cliff Smith and Tyler Digby had a goal and an assist each, while Jeff Moleski and Lewis Ratcliff also scored for Vancouver (1-1), which was coming of a 13-12 loss to the Colorado Mammoth last weekend in the season opener.

Tyler Richards made 44 saves in the win, including many key stops early in the game while the Stealth seemed to be playing a little nervous.

Kiel Matisz had two goals and an assist to lead the visiting Swarm. Josh Gillam, Scott Jones and Callum Crawford also scored for Minnesota (0-2), which hadn't played since losing its season opener 8-6 in Rochester on Dec. 28. Tyler Carlson finished with 26 saves.

Duch scored the opening goal at 5:42, using a quick release from the slot to beat the netminder after taking a feed from Bremner. Duch made it 2-0 at 9:58, taking a pass from Alex Gajic before beating the goalie five-hole for the power-play goal.

Matisz got the visitors on the board, getting a shot over Richards' shoulder at 12:26.

The Stealth regained the two-goal cushion in the final minute of the first with Moleski scoring a short-handed goal.

Minnesota's Jones scored at 1:12 of the second, giving the rookie his first NLL goal. However, Vancouver's Grimes restored the two-goal lead just over a minute later.

Gillam drew the Swarm back to within one at 8:30 with a nifty move in close.

Smith scored at 3:46 of the third, giving Vancouver a 5-3 lead. However, a power-play goal by Crawford at 7:52 for the Swarm again cut the deficit to one.

Bremner gave the Stealth some momentum heading into the final quarter, scoring with 68 seconds left in the third to make it 6-4.

Digby then gave the Stealth their largest lead of the game, scoring at 2:09 of the fourth as he beat Carlson stick side. Ratcliff scored with less than four minutes left to make it 8-4.

Minnesota didn't give up, however. With the goaltender pulled, Matisz scored with 2:22 remaining, cutting the deficit back to three to cap the scoring.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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