The Washington Stealth (3-4) and the Edmonton Rush (1-5) got this weekend’s doubleheader off to a fast-paced start, the Rush notching their first win of the season with a 14-12 win at Rexall Place. The teams will continue where they left off tomorrow night at the Comcast Arena at Everett.
It was the Stealth that got off to a hot start in this one, as Lewis Ratcliff, Tom Johnson and Rhys Duch each tallied goals in the opening 1:37 of the game. The Stealth scored goals on three of its first four shots.
Edmonton’s Scott Stewart scored the first of his three goals on the night three minutes in to break the Stealth run. Another goal from Johnson gave the Stealth a 4-1 edge, but the Rush answered with three straight, including a pair of shorthanded goals less than a minute apart. Luke Wiles would tally a power play goal late in the opening frame to give the Stealth a 5-4 advantage after one quarter of play.
A low-scoring second quarter belonged to the Rush. After Ratcliff recorded his fifth point of the night with a goal three minutes into the quarter, the Rush rattled off three straight goals and they took a 7-6 lead at the halftime break.
“We came out on fire and looked pretty good,” said Stealth Head Coach Chris Hall. “They got some transition goals to get back in it and it was back-and-forth from there.”
In the third, the rapid scoring resumed, with the Stealth scoring twice in the first five minutes to regain a one-goal advantage. After the Rush got another transition goal from Stewart, but again the Stealth found the answer. Just over eight minutes into the quarter, Craig Conn gave the Stealth a 9-8 lead with a shot from long range. Thirty seconds later, Ratcliff completed his hat trick to give the Stealth a two-goal edge.
The Rush would score the next four goals, however, grabbing two late in the third to tie the game at ten, followed by two more in the opening minute of the fourth quarter to take a two-goal lead.
It wasn’t until nine minutes into the final stanza that the Stealth answered with a goal from Duch. They followed that with a shorthanded tally from transition player Paul Rabil to tie the game at twelve with less than five minutes left to play.
With 1:13 left in the game, the Rush found what proved to be the game-winner. As the Stealth failed to corral a loose ball at midfield, Edmonton’s Bill Greer scooped up the ball and buried the deciding goal on a breakaway. The Rush would add an empty-netter to give them the 14-12 victory.
“We didn’t play intelligent lacrosse at all in the second half,” said Hall. “We’re being very mechanical and making mistakes. Turnovers really killed us late in the game.”
Ratcliff led the Stealth offensively with a game-high 10 points (3g, 7a). Duch finished with two goals and four assists, Johnson and Wiles tallied two goals apiece. The Stealth power play, which was ranked sixth in the NLL going into the game, went just 1-for-4 in the loss.
“Our power play unit has got to be better,” added Hall. “There were a lot of good opportunities and we just aren’t cashing in.”
Rabil grabbed a game-high 18 loose balls to go along with a goal and an assist. Face-off man Bob Snider went 25-for-30 at the face-off circle. Tyler Richards equaled his career-high with 52 saves, doing so for the second week in a row.
The Rush got three goals apiece from Stewart and Andy Secore. Merrill finished with a team-high six points (1g, 5a) and a team-high 11 loose balls. Goaltender Matt Disher made 37 saves in his first win of the season.
“We have to regroup and come out tomorrow night with a better effort for 60 minutes,” commented Hall on tomorrow night’s rematch. “If we don’t want to fall to 3-5, we need to play with more grit and execute when we get the chances.”
The two teams will meet again tomorrow night at 7:30pm at the Comcast Arena. Tickets are available now at www.stealthlax.com.