They flew into Ottawa under the radar screen.
Bad news for the Rebel, whose National Lacrosse League playoff chances took a direct hit last night because of the 13-10 loss to the low-flying Vancouver Ravens in front of an announced crowd of 6,267 fans at the Civic Centre.
Crash and burn, then?
\"It puts us in a tough spot,\" said Rebel captain Bruce Codd. \"But we still control our own destiny.\"
Barely, since the Rebel drops to 4-6 with only six games remaining in the regular season. Since the Toronto Rock (10-3) are virtually assured of winning the Northern Division, it leaves the Rebel to tangle for one of three wild-card spots currently occupied by the Rochester Knighthawks (7-4), Calgary Roughnecks (7-4) and Philadelphia Wings (6-5).
\"We\'re pretty well forced to run the table now,\" Codd said. \"We wanted to stay .500 and then work on getting to the playoffs from there. We\'ve dug ourselves a hole.\"
It proved to be a black hole, sucking the life right out of the home side. Perhaps the Ravens\' surprisingly meagre record, now improved at 4-6, had something to do with it.
\"That was a piss-poor effort by our leaders,\" said Rebel coach Terry Sanderson. \"They forgot what got us our first four wins -- hard work. We\'re not the kind of team that can\'t afford to work. I counted eight goals on my sheet that were easy ... just brain cramps on defence. We made so many bad decisions back there. And our offence made some mistakes, too. We hung on (goalie) Matt Disher\'s coat-tails too long.\"
Disher was left to his own devices, and the Ravens made the home side pay with four unanswered goals in the first 11 minutes of the game en route to a 5-1 first-quarter lead.
The second then started in favour of the Rebel, who showed hustle to net three straight goals -- by Chris Konopliff, Mat Giles and Jason Clark. But the Ravens snipers -- Dan Stroup with his third of four goals in a seven-point night, and Chris Gill with his team-high 25th goal -- restaked a three-goal advantage.
In the second half, the Rebel\'s two leading scorers -- Giles and Kevin Howard -- awoke to force the issue with two goals apiece, while Kevin Dostie scored on the power play and Brad Self scored his second goal of the night. But the Ravens\' leaders -- Stroup, Chris Prat, Mike Law and ex-Rebel star Bruce Alexander -- kept pace to give Wylie his first pro win.
\"We just didn\'t come out prepared,\" said Codd, who must prepare his troops for next Saturday\'s road game against the New Jersey Storm. \"Vancouver came out to get the jump on us, and we planned to do that to them since they played (Friday) in Toronto. I don\'t know -- we were just flat.\"
And one step closer to being flat-lined on the playoff screen.