Defence may win championships, but a little bit of offence is still needed for a team to be successful.
That is what is ailing the Vancouver Stealth right now as they fell to 3-8 and remain in last place in the National Lacrosse League’s West Division.
The Stealth were in Edmonton at Rexall Place on March 8 and for the second time this season, they came up one goal short of handing the Rush their first loss off the season. Edmonton improved to 9-0, becoming the first NLL team to ever start a season with that record.
And the problem is a lack of offence, specifically from the left-side of the Stealth offence.
“We got one goal out of the whole left-side of our offence and that hurt,” said Stealth coach Chris Hall.
“On the left-side, we had one goal on 15 shots; that is horrible.”
“We should be up close to the 20 per cent range,” he explained.
“The good shooters are over 20 per cent and the decent shooters are around 20 per cent, maybe just under. But one-for-15, that’s (less than) seven per cent, which is incredibly low.”
After the Rush scored the first three goals, the Stealth battled back to tie the game at four at half-time and they led 8-7 after three quarters. But Edmonton scored three of the four goals in the final period to remain unbeaten.
The Stealth power play was 0-4, and their defence out-scored the offence 5-4.
“And in spite of that, we we lost 10-9 in a really tightly-battled game,” Hall said.
“I thought our effort was very good and our goaltending was good and our defence was good, but we can’t put the ball in the net. It’s frustrating.
“Clearly the struggle is to put the ball in the net.”
The Rush also beat Vancouver 9-8 earlier this season, a game in which the Stealth led 7-2 at the half.
Vancouver has one win in their past eight games.
Mike Grimes and Rhys Duch both scored twice while Tyler Digby had a goal and three assists. Brett Bucktooth, Tyler Garrison, Nick Weiss and Jamie Lincoln had the other goals.
Lincoln was playing his first game for the Stealth and provided the lone goal from the left-side.
He replaced Lewis Ratcliff in the line-up as the long-time veteran was a healthy scratch.
“It is a razor thin edge between winning and losing in this league and we have had our injury woes and suspension woes, and those are costly in this league when there are so many one-goal games in this league and there is so little difference amongst all the teams,” Hall said.
“Things have to be right and you have to be injury-free and hope that people are performing to the best of their capabilities, and right now, we have had our share of bad luck but we have also had our share of underperformance. Now we have ourselves in a hole.”
The team is off this weekend and returns to play at the Langley Events Centre when they host the Calgary Roughnecks on March 21.