Coach Cordingley admits Vancouver Warriors are “not good right now”
The Warriors were outplayed in all facets Friday and fell to 0-3 with a 14-5 setback to Calgary in Vancouver’s home opener at Rogers Arena
The Vancouver Warriors had a 25-minute team meeting after their game Friday, which offers an idea of their struggles after a mere three weeks this season.
Vancouver forwards didn’t drive the ball to the net nearly enough and their defenders couldn’t stop Calgary Roughneck opponents from going where ever they wanted, leading to a 14-5 shellacking before an announced crowd of 8,369 in the Warriors home opener at Rogers Arena.
Vancouver (0-3) has already lost the three-game season series to the Roughnecks, since they fell 11-9 last week in Calgary’s home opener. They’ve already been blown out twice, considering the 19-8 debacle with the host Toronto Rock two weeks ago to kick off the National Lacrosse League campaign.
The Warriors, who are in their fourth season under the Vancouver Canucks umbrella, brought in coach Troy Cordingley, who had guided both Calgary and Toronto to league championships previously, in a bid to get things going in the right direction this season. Right now, it feels like they’re headed toward more of the same after making the playoffs just once in the previous eight seasons.
Saturday, Jan. 7
Vancouver Warriors vs. San Diego Seals
7 p.m., Pechanga Arena. TV: NLL.com
Vancouver has time off now to rectify things, since they don’t play again until Jan. 7. It’s on the road against the San Diego Seals, the squad that loaded up in free agency and is a favourite to claim the league title.
“I don’t like our compete level. I don’t like that we weren’t tough. I don’t like the way we’re playing, the will to win,” Cordingley said after the game Friday. “I could go on and on forever. I’m not pointing fingers, but we have to be better, because we’re not going to compete in this league playing like that.”
Cordingley competed conspicuously as a player. He was a 5-foot-10, 175-pound right-hander who was fierce and fearless and went to hard areas on the floor at all the difficult times. The teams he’s coached, both in the NLL and in summer lacrosse with most notably the Ontario Senior A powerhouse Brampton Exclesiors, have typically taken on that personality.
That hasn’t happened yet with the Warriors. There was precious little pushback from Vancouver on Friday. Calgary netminder Christian Del Bianco is among the best in the league as his position and the Coquitlam native had a highlight reel stop or two in his 49-save night — sprawling to get his stick on a Kyle Killen backdoor chance comes to mind — but far too often he had his feet planted and shoulders square to the shooter. Vancouver didn’t get inside, didn’t move the ball, didn’t making Del Bianco work nearly hard enough.
“I am surprised,” said Cordingley, who felt his team progressed throughout training camp and was ready for the season. “It’s three loses. We’re still at the beginning of this year. We’re not hanging our hats or anything like that, but we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got a lot of looking in the mirror to do.”
Cordingley said that “everyone had their say,” in that extended post-game talk but wasn’t getting into details.
“We’re not good right now,” Cordingley added. “Every one of us. It’s not just the players. It’s the coaches, everyone involved with this team. Everyone involved with this team needs to take a good look in the mirror because we’re not getting it done.
“The game in Calgary I thought we should have won. We didn’t get the bounces and late in the game we didn’t get the job done. The games against Toronto and Calgary tonight were awful displays. We don’t have that killer instinct. Right now, we don’t have that will to compete. We dwell on little things. We need to get rid of that. We have a lot of work to do and we’re going to do it. I still believe in these guys.”
The game marked the Warrior debut of key free-agent addition Shawn Evans, who had missed the first two weeks due to off-season ankle surgery. The 36-year-old Evans is known for his feisty demeanour. He was involved In skirmish near the Calgary bench in the third quarter and was tossed from the game with 5:25 left with a 10-minute misconduct after another episode with the Calgary bench. The Roughnecks were angry with Evans dumping Calgary defender Curtis Manning away from the play earlier in the fourth.
Mitch Jones, Logan Schuss, Adam Charalambides, Riley Loewen and Matt Delmonico scored goals for Vancouver. Steve Fryer gave up six goals on 23 shots, while Aden Walsh allowed eight goals on 32 shots.
Tyler Pace had two goals and five assists for Calgary.
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