The Vancouver Stealth put on a dynamic offensive display, which included career nights from Corey Small, Tyler Digby and even a goal from netminder Tyler Richards in a 21-15 victory over the Minnesota Swarm on Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre.
Small led all players with nine points (four goals, five assists) while Digby stepped up and scored a game-high five goals in the teamâ€™s highest offensive output since 2003.
â€œI thought we play well overall,â€ Stealth head coach Dan Perreault said. â€œWe got a lead, hung on and we had certain guys that stepped up. It was an important win for us, it put us in a comfortable position.â€
â€œWeâ€™re starting to build some good chemistry up front,â€ Small said. â€œItâ€™s not one guy putting in three or four, its three or four guys scoring three or four goals. It makes such huge difference; they canâ€™t focus on one player each night.â€
Vancouver scored on their first two shots of the game and never trailed, winning their third straight game at the LEC.
The win moves them to 4-4 on the season, tied with Colorado for second place and just a half-game back of first place in the West Division.
Forward Joel McCready opened the scoring 1:04 into the game, rifling a point shot past Zach Higgins. 21 seconds later
Cliff Smith scored his first of three on the night to go up 2-0 and Digby made it 3-0, all in the first seven minutes of the first quarter.
The Swarm scored the next two goals to cut the lead to 3-2 but thatâ€™s as close as the Stealth would let them come, taking a 7-3 lead into the second quarter.
It was more of the same for the high-powered Vancouver offense in the second quarter with power play markers from Digby and Small, heading into halftime with a 12-6 lead.
â€œIt just shows when the ball moves, it doesnâ€™t matter which of the six, throughout the whole team, everybodyâ€™s got a good stick and can bury the ball,â€ Digby said. â€œWhen we move the ball it makes it real easy to play offence.â€
The third quarter saw 11 goals, none prettier than a highlight reel, no look, over-the-shoulder goal from Digby, which slowed the Minnesota run after they scored back-to-back goals and were looking to gain any momentum to go into the fourth quarter with.
Stealth goaltender Tyler Richards added his name to the team record books, scoring his first ever career NLL goal. With the Swarm net empty, Richards stopped a shot and launched the ball end-over-end scoring the teamâ€™s 20th goal of the game.
â€œI saw the empty net and decided just to go for it,â€ he said.
â€œWe always talk about shooting at the empty net and sometimes we donâ€™t like that but I guess when they go in I canâ€™t say too much,â€ said Perreault.
Richards, also stopped 44 shots to pick up his fourth win of the season, matching his total from last season.
Minnesota was led by Ladnerâ€™s Logan Schuss who scored three goals and five assists along with rookie sensation Miles Thompson, who scored once and added five helpers as the Swarm drop to 3-5 on the season.
Vancouver added one more before the night was over to hit blackjack, marking the first time theyâ€™ve scored 21 goals since 2003 when the organization was known as the Albany Attack.
The Stealth have a bye next weekend and will have an extra week to prepare for the first place Edmonton Rush on Saturday, March 14.
They return home the following week when they host the Colorado Mammoth on Saturday, March 21 at the LEC.