It took an extra two minutes and 12 seconds but the Vancouver Stealth finally have their first win of the 2018 season, defeating the Buffalo Bandits 11-10 in sudden death overtime at KeyBank Center on Saturday night.
Joel McCready scored the game winner, beating two defenders in front of Bandits’ goaltender Alex Buque, to improve the Stealth’s record to 1-4.
Buffalo led 3-0 after the first quarter but a natural hat-trick in the span of 1:05 from Corey Small, including two power play goals, tied the game 6:03 into the third. Rhys Duch and Logan Schuss then put Vancouver on top 5-3 but a pair of transition goals from Kevin Brownell saw the game tied at five at the half.
Rookie Cody Teichrob sparked the Stealth by taking on Craig England, who is providing a tough presence for the Bandits with two fights in his last three games.
Vancouver led 8-7 after three. Vaughn Harris scored both of Buffalo’s goals in the frame.
The Stealth continued to lead through the fourth quarter and were 22 seconds away from winning in regulation when the Bandits intercepted a clearing attempt on a bad line change. Mitch Jones’ second goal of the quarter sent the game to overtime.
“I thought we won the game two or three times there, but the guys threw it short a couple times, but Joel winning it in overtime was good for our team and obviously getting us back in the win column is something we have been waiting for,” said assistant general manager and head coach Jamie Batley in a Stealth press release. “We fought back hard, and with Penney tonight, he gave us a chance to win, our offensive guys played well and all around our game improved.”
Corey Small’s four goals and four assists led the Stealth, who are still in last place in the western division but now have an identical record to the Calgary Roughnecks, who lost to the Georgia Swarm 15-12. Logan Schuss (3G/4A), Ryhs Duch (2G/2A) and McCready (2G/2A) also led the Stealth on offense.
Dhane Smith (2G/2A) and Callum Crawford (1G/3A) had four points each for the Bandits, who slip to a three-way tie for last place in the eastern division with identical records to the Swarm and Knighthawks.
Eric Penny made 52 saves on 62 shots for the Stealth, while Buque made 39 saves on 50 shots.