Rinkside: Vancouver Stealth v Buffalo Bandits

On Saturday night, the Buffalo Bandits road into town, looking to steal a win from the struggling Vancouver Stealth, and avoid a three-match losing streak.

But you don't always get what you want, and the Stealth found their rhythm early and often. Rhys Duch opened the scoring in the first minute, Brett Bucktooth doubled it three minutes later, and after Rooney pulled one back for Buffalo, Cliff Smith made it three one.

At half time, the Stealth commanded a 9-5 lead, and though they surrendered three goals in the second half, they also scored three to finish the match 12-8. It was a much needed win for Vancouver are losing their last three outings.

 Rhys Duch after scoring the first of four goals against the Buffalo Bandits at the Langley Events Centre on 29 March 2014.

Rhys Duch after scoring the first of four goals against the Buffalo Bandits at the Langley Events Centre on 29 March 2014.

The home side dominated the shots (61-43), and improved to 4-9 on the season, one back of Colorado Mammoth (5-9), whom the Stealth have a game in hand on. The Stealth's next opponent, the Toronto Rock, also have a 5-9 record.

Despite the difficulties of the 2014 campaign, Vancouver still have a chance to make the Champions Cup preliminary round, where they will almost certainly face the Calgary Roughnecks.

Chances are the Stealth will have to finish ahead of Colorado in the table on wins, since despite a 2-2 record against the Mammoth, they trail Colorado on the next tiebreaker, division record.

The Mammoth beat Calgary twice, while the Stealth have yet to beat either Calgary or Edmonton.

In the happy event that Vancouver and Colorado finish with identical league and division records, Vancouver does have the tiebreaker having the superior head-to-head goal differential.

Vancouver continues its drive to the Champions Cup on Saturday, when the Toronto Rock visit the Langley Events Centre at 7:00 PM. Click here to open our fullscreen slideshow.