Ratcliff Strikes Again: Sock Trick Leads Stealth to Playoff Berth

There was some confusion amongst the 5,808 fans at the Comcast Arena at Everett as socks went from the stands to the turf late in the fourth quarter tonight.  The dozens of barefooted fans were honoring Lewis Ratcliff’s sixth goal, better known as a “sock trick” in the world of indoor lacrosse, as he led the Washington Stealth to a 12-9 victory over the Colorado Mammoth.

It was the completion of a fantastic weekend for Ratcliff, who torched the Mammoth for 11 goals in two games.  “When you are feeling it, you just have to keep shooting,” said Ratcliff after the game.  “The ball was going where I wanted all weekend.  Our team has a lot of guys that can take over games, it was just my turn and it resulted in two big wins.”

The two wins, last night a 15-14 barn-burner in Denver and tonight in Everett, clinched a playoff berth for the Stealth.  They are the first team to do so in 2010.

It was “Pink in the Rink Night” at the Comcast Arena as part of the National Lacrosse League’s “Black Out Cancer Week”, and the fans came out in full force.  A season-best attendance resulted in an estimated $10,000 raised for the Puget Sound affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

“The fans tonight gave us a lot of energy,” said Stealth Head Coach Chris Hall.  “We were pumped to come home and we got rewarded with a great crowd.”

On the floor, the game featured a much different pace than that of the 29-goal output between the two teams a night earlier.  The Mammoth jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first five minutes of the game, but failed to beat Stealth goaltender Matt Roik for the remainder of the opening frame.  Ratcliff’s first goal of the night, a powerplay tally midway through the quarter was the Stealth’s lone goal of the quarter.

“It was a little sluggish in the first half,” said Hall.  “That’s to be expected after playing the night before and getting only a few hours of sleep and a long road trip.”

The Stealth picked up the scoring in the second quarter with three goals while allowing just one to Colorado.  The Stealth held a 4-3 advantage at the half.  Stealth face-off man Jamison Koesterer played a huge role in the half, winning 10 of the 12 draws he took.  He finished the game 20-for-27 at the face-off circle.

The second half was dominated by the Stealth; the led by at least two goals the entire half.  The offense scored eight goals, led by Ratcliff, who scored two in each quarter, completing his sock trick with two minutes left in the game.  Rhys Duch added two in the second half and Jeff Zywicki closed the game with an empty net goal with 20 seconds remaining.

Ratcliff added an assist and seven loose balls to go along with his six goals.  Duch finished with two goals and three assists, Zywicki and Cam Sedgwick chipping in with a goal and four assists apiece.  Roik made 24 saves to improve his record this season to 5-0.

Jed Prossner led the Mammoth with four goals and an assist.  Derek Malawsky was credited with five assists.  Colorado goaltender Chris Levis made 43 saves in the loss.

The Stealth are in action again on April 2, when they travel to Edmonton to take on the second-place Rush.  The West Division clash is scheduled to begin at 6:00pm PST from Rexall Place and can be seen on the NLL Network at NLL.com.

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