Rinkside: Stealth v Philadelphia Wings

With their 15-11 loss to the Philadelphia Wings, the Vancouver Stealth can no longer qualify for the Champion's Cup. The match started off well for Vancouver, with Justin Salt and Ilija Gajic scoring the first two goals.

Philadelphia would respond, never trailing by more than three, and taking the lead for stretches of the match. With Vancouver holding a two goal lead, Philadelphia would answer back in the 41st minute with two quick goals, seven seconds apart, to tie the game with 19 minutes to go.

That was the last time Vancouver would lead. While Vancouver would get two more goals in those 19 minutes, Philadelphia scored six, and Vancouver's second, came with only four seconds remaining.

They say that misery loves company, and the visitors were keen to test that theory, having been eliminated a week before, after their loss to the Toronto Rock.

Mike Manley scores for Philadelphia in the 37th minute, cutting Vancouver's lead to two goals.

Mike Manley scores for Philadelphia in the 37th minute, cutting Vancouver's lead to two goals.

Cliff Smith said "we knew the outcome, but at the end of the day that game is irrelevant,” referring to Colorado's 18-12 victory over the Minnesota Swarm, which officially eliminated the Stealth partway through their own match with the Wings.

He went on to say "we have to play with pride every game no matter what," although they can't be faulted for having lost a step after learning of their fate.

Last year, the Stealth hosted the Champion's Cup Final. This year, they can finish no higher than seventh. "We're better then what we showed this year," added Smith.

"We need to show a level of effort next week; that our fans should expect game in and game out, because what we showed this year was not our best." That and they also have 2015 season tickets to sell, which can't have been helped by their record this year.

Tyler Richards was chased from the crease after just six minutes.  

Tyler Richards was chased from the crease after just six minutes.

 

"Our goal was to finish with the best record possible," said Philadelphia's offensive coach Jim Milligan, a sentiment that should be shared by all athletes.

"We have a lot of guys who wanted to compete in the room. We lost a lot of tight games this year, so I don't think our record reflects our teams compete level, and I think our guys want to finish strong and tonight was a good start."

Vancouver heads to Alberta on Friday, where they'll face the 15-1 Edmonton Rush, before returning home on Saturday for their season finale against the Calgary Roughnecks.

"When the season ends we will have to re-evaluate," said Smith. "We need to focus on playing a full 60 minutes, not 58, but 60. That's the biggest hurdle we need to overcome next year." Click here to open our fullscreen slideshow.