The Washington Stealth suffered its worst loss since 2009 tonight, falling 16-5 to the Edmonton Rush (1-1) at the Comcast Arena. The loss drops the Stealth to 0-3 for the first time in team history, dating back to 2000 when the team was created as the Albany Attack.
The Rush took control of the game from the onset, scoring the first three goals of the game in the opening two minutes of action. They went on to score the first five goals of the game. The Stealth showed some signs of life late in the first quarter, as offseason acquisitions Dean Hill and Kyle Ross netted the first goals of their respective Stealth careers, but the Rush held a firm 6-2 advantage after the opening fifteen minutes.
The Stealth would only muster two more goals in the second stanza as Lewis Ratcliff and Curtis Hodgson found the back of the net. Ratcliff’s was the lone power play goal on the night for the Stealth on four chances.
The Rush continued to pull away with five goals in the second quarter, including a marker by former Stealth forward Tom Johnson, who finished the night with two goals and three assists against his former team. Corey Small notched a pair in the quarter, giving him a first half hat trick. The Rush held an 11-4 lead at the halftime break.
“In the first two games, our defense and goaltending was holding us in,” said Stealth Assistant Coach Art Webster. “Then tonight our defense goes south and all the sudden we’re down five goals. We took some stupid penalties and didn’t play intelligent and it kept piling on.”
The Stealth took a pair of “stupid penalties” at the end of the first half, giving the Rush a five-on-three power play to start the third quarter, on which they capitalized to extend their lead to eight. Zack Greer scored the second of three goals on the night at the 3:12 mark of the third to make it 13-4 in favor of the Rush. Rhys Duch scored on the ensuing possession; the Stealth’s final tally of the night.
Edmonton went on to score once more in the third, then added two more in the fourth quarter to take home the 16-5 victory.
The five goals scored for the Stealth is the lowest total in a single game since the 2009 Western Division Final in which the Stealth lost 17-5. The Stealth has led the National Lacrosse League in goals scored in each of the last two seasons, averaging nearly 13 goals per game in that span.
“We are taking plenty of good shots, they just aren’t falling right now,” said Stealth All-Pro forward Rhys Duch after the game. “The three goaltenders we’ve faced this season have all played well, but the bottom line is we just need to finish better. And we have the talent on offense to do that.”
The Edmonton Rush goaltender, Aaron Bold, played well against his former team tonight. Bold, who played for the Stealth from 2007-2009, made 43 saves in the win. Offensively, the Rush was lead by Shawn Williams who tallied three goals and three assists, and also got a hat trick from Greer. Johnson, Scott Evans, Aaron Wilson and Corey Small each tallied two goals. Small was credited with a game-high seven assists.
Duch led the way for the Stealth with three points on a goal and two assists. Ratcliff finished with one and one. Bob Snider recorded a game-high 17 loose balls and went 19-for-25 at the face-off circle. Goaltender Tyler Richards was credited with the loss after making just nine saves on 18 shots against.
The Stealth is in action again next weekend, when they head east to take on the Buffalo Bandits. That game is scheduled for 4:30pm PST and can be seen live on the NLL Network at NLL.com.