EVERETT, Wash. – After two gritty wins to open the 2013 NLL season the Washington Stealth ran into an old West Division nemesis falling to the Edmonton Rush 18 – 10 Sunday at Everett’s Comcast Arena.
Despite a three-goal, two-assist performance from forward Rhys Duch and two goals each from Bob Snider and Athan Iannucci, Washington was never able to catch up to an Edmonton squad that took control of the game early in the second and never looked back.
Following an early goal by Edmonton rookie Mark Mathews to start the game, the squads battled end-to-end finishing the quarter knotted at 3-3.
“We gave up an easy goal on the first shot of the game and personally I don’t think we ever recovered from that goal,” said Stealth Head Coach Chris Hall, who’s squad was kept off balance most of the night.
In the second, Edmonton showed why it finished on top of the West Division last season using a smothering defense to frustrate Stealth forwards and pull away with five scores in the quarter to take an 8-5 lead into the half.
In the third, the Rush opened with four unanswered goals including two by Mathews and solo-shots by defender Jarrett Toll and forward Corey Small. The goals extended the Rush’s lead to its widest margin of the night at 12-5.
Mathews finished the day topping all scorers with four goals and five assists for nine points. It was the second-straight hat-trick performance in as many games for the Rush rookie.
Following the three-goal Rush run, Hall replaced Washington starting goalkeeper Nick Patterson with newly signed stopper Neil Tyacke.
During Tyacke’s 11 minutes, 19 seconds in net, Washington briefly regained the spark that got them off to a hot start in their first two games, with Duch, Snider and Iannucci connecting for single goals in the final 45 seconds of the quarter. The three-goals burst brought the Stealth to within 12-8.
“We put a lot of pressure on our offense and playing against one of, if not the best defense in the league I think we got frustrated individually. It filters down to the rest of the team and hurt our production,” said Duch.
“You can’t quit, the fans don’t pay to see us quit and I don’t think we did until there was about ten seconds left,” he said. “Making our in-game adjustments is something that has to be better next week.”
In the fourth, Tyacke, who last played in the NLL briefly during the 2011 season with Colorado, couldn’t hold back Edmonton with the Rush eventually connecting for three against the British Columbia native.
“The momentum did switch temporarily when we got three quick ones but unfortunately we couldn’t carry that over into the fourth,” said Tyacke.
Patterson finished-out the game giving up another three of Edmonton’s six-goal final stanza.
For the Stealth defense, Bob Snider led the way with two goals, an assist and10 loose balls, while Jeff Moleski had eight loose-ball grabs.
Cliff Smith, who won Offensive Player of the Week honors in each of the first two weeks of the season, finished the contest with just one assist.
Entering Sunday’s contest, the Stealth and Philadelphia were the last undefeated squads in the young NLL season with previously undefeated Toronto falling to Wings 8-7 on Saturday.
With the loss, the Stealth dropped to 2-1 on the NLL season, while Edmonton evened their record at 1-1.
The Stealth next see action in back-to-back games this weekend as they again face the Rush – this time at Edmonton’s Rexall Place on Friday and then take on the Minnesota Swarm on Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Friday’s game in Edmonton gets underway at 6 p.m. PACIFIC, while Saturday’s contest in St. Paul kicks-off at 5 p.m. PACIFIC.
Scoring 1 2 3 4 F
Edmonton 3 5 4 6 18
Washington 3 2 3 2 10