Edmonton Rush forward Ryan Powell completed his hat trick with an overtime goal as the Rush handed the Washington Stealth their fourth loss of the season by a score of 14-13. The win brings Edmonton within a half-game of the Stealth for first place in the National Lacrosse League’s West Division.
It was a fast-paced first half, as the teams went back and forth to a 10-10 draw. Reigning Player of the Week, Stealth forward Lewis Ratcliff scored all four of his goals in the first half. While the offense scored at will in the first half, Stealth Head Coach was not happy with the performance of his defensemen.
“We had opportunities to put them away in the first half,” said Hall. “But we made too many mistakes on the defensive end.”
The Stealth’s mistakes were a focal point of Hall’s after the game. “If you are one of the best, you can’t make the kind of mistakes we made tonight,” he added. “We just can’t make that many mistakes and expect to win games.”
Both teams came out with more defensive intensity in the second half. Just one goal was scored in the third quarter; Luke Wiles put the Stealth in front 11-10 going into the fourth.
The teams traded goals in the fourth quarter. Stealth rookie forward Kory Kowalyk, who was playing in place of MVP candidate Jeff Zywicki, completed his first career hat trick and gave the Stealth a 13-12 lead with just over four minutes left in regulation. Zywicki was scratched prior to the game due to a lower body injury sustained in practice the night before. Powell, who finished with three goals and four assists on the night, scored the game-tying goal with just over two minutes left in the fourth to send it to overtime.
Powell struck again in overtime, recording the game-winning goal on a wide-open shot from ten feet out. Once again, Hall noticed the defensive mistake. “The winning goal was a defensive error,” said Hall. “We can’t play two different halves. We need to play a full sixty minutes without those kind of mistakes.”
Ratcliff recorded a game-high nine points on four goals and five assists. Rhys Duch finished with two goals and five assists and Kowalyk scored the first three goals of his NLL career and added an assist. Cam Sedgwick added two goals and three assists.
Stealth goaltender Tyler Richards made 43 saves in the loss, his fourth of the season. The Stealth penalty kill unit, which led the NLL going into the game, gave up three power play goals on three chances.
Powell and Gavin Prout led the Rush with three goals and four assists each. Brodie Merrill finished with two goals, three assists and a game-high 16 loose balls. Rush goaltender Brandon Atherton came into the game midway through the second and made 32 saves on 36 shots to earn the win.
The Stealth is now 9-4 on the season and still holds the league’s best record. They travel to Orlando next weekend to take on the East Division’s top team on April 10. The game is scheduled to begin at 4:30pm PST at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Fla.