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Preview: Vancouver Stealth at New England Black Wolves


New England Black Wolves (1-1) vs. Vancouver Stealth (0-2)
At Mohegan Sun Arena
Friday, December 29th, 7:30 p.m. ET
Live on NLLTV.com
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Last Game: The New England Black Wolves fell 24-11 to the Saskatchewan Rush on December 23rd at Sasktel Centre. The Vancouver Stealth lost 15-12 on the road against the Calgary Roughnecks on December 15th.

Players to Watch: New England – Shawn Evans (three goals, four assists), Kevin Crowley (three goals) and Stephan Leblanc (one goal, three assists) led the Black Wolves in scoring in last week’s loss to Saskatchewan.

Vancouver – Logan Schuss (five goals, three assists), Corey Small (five assists) and Rhys Duch (one goal, three assists) led the way for the Stealth in the loss to Calgary.

Noteworthy:

  • • The Black Wolves fell 17-16 in overtime in their only meeting with the Vancouver Stealth last season on April 29, 2017 at Mohegan Sun Arena. 
  • • Shawn Evans (one goal, seven assists), Kevin Crowley (five goals, two assists) and Kevin Buchanan (four goals, two assists) led the way for New England in the loss.
  • • Corey Small (four goals, three assists), Rhys Duch (three goals, three assists) and Logan Schuss (two goals, three assists) led Vancouver in the win.
  • • New England finished last season with a 5-4 record at home.
  • • Through the first two games this season, Shawn Evans is tied for the league lead in assists (11) and ranks second in points (16). He has now started the season with back-to-back multi-goal games.
  • • With three goals against Saskatchewan, Kevin Crowley has now posted two straight three-plus goal games to start the season.
  • • Kevin Crowley is tied for second in the NLL in goals with seven.
  • • Both Stephan Leblanc (one goal, three assists) and JP Kealey (one goal, two assists) each scored a goal in their Black Wolves debut against Saskatchewan last week.
  • • Jay Thorimbert finished one face-off win shy of his career-high, winning 24 face-offs on 39 draws (62 percent) against the Rush.
  • • Vancouver is averaging the second lowest goals-per-game in the league (10.0).

New England Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark
On moving forward after the tough loss to Saskatchewan last week:
“It was not what we expected. There were so many things going on at once. It was a stinker and we laid an egg. We were okay in the first quarter and into the second quarter, I think the game was tied going into the beginning of the second quarter, and then things kind of ran away on us. Balls were going in, every breakdown ended in the back of our net and it snowballed from there. You’ll have games like that, just not typically that bad. I know we had one last year against Georgia where they put up 21 or 22 and it just seemed like everything was rolling against us. Hopefully, that’s our one and only this year. I’ve been involved in games like this as a player and as a coach and the one thing I said to the group afterwards is it’s always a ‘what’s next’ league. Whether you win or lose, you learn from both, sometimes more from losses and then you move on and you focus on what’s in front of you. That’s what we’re doing. It was ugly, it was a stinker. There’s things you can take from it. You sort of chunk your season into segments and we had a three-game segment to start that we were looking at. We thought if we could go 2-1 through our first three-game segment we’d be happy, so we still have the opportunity to do that regardless of how bad last week was. That’s kind of where our head space is going to be moving forward.”

What type of challenges does Vancouver present going into this weekend?
“They’re very skilled offensively. With (Corey) Small, (Logan) Schuss, (Rhys) Duch and (Joel) McCready, they’ve got guys that can put up points in a hurry, very good shooters and very unpredictable. They create space for themselves and they will shoot from different locations on the floor, sometimes when you’re not expecting it. They are very accurate and very dangerous. You have to be aware defensively all of the time in terms of protecting space and making sure you’re closing gaps and being aware when the ball swings because they will catch and shoot right away. Their offense is dangerous at all times and they’ve got a big, mobile, athletic defense. In goal, Tye Belanger was with us year one and went to Vancouver and had an exceptional year last year. They’re deep just like every team in the league is, so we have to manage their offense in terms of the things I mentioned, we have to be active on our offense and find a way to get balls past Tye (Belanger) early because we don’t want to let him settle into a groove.”

Next Game: The New England Black Wolves face-off against the Rochester Knighthawks at Blue Cross Arena on Saturday, January 13th at 7:30 p.m. ET.