The Washington Stealth lost its third straight game tonight, falling 16-13 to the Toronto Rock at the Comcast Arena at Everett. A scoreless second quarter proved to be the difference in the game for the Stealth, which falls to 4-11 on the year.
The Stealth opened the scoring with a goal from Cam Sedgwick 22 seconds into the game. After three straight goals from the Rock made the score 3-1, the Stealth answered with a three-goal run of their own capped by a goal from All-Pro forward Rhys Duch. Duch finished the game with a game-high ten points on four goals and six assists.
Toronto closed out the first quarter with a power play goal from Josh Sanderson. It was one of three power play goals for the Rock in the game. The teams ended the opening frame tied at four.
The Rock dominated the second quarter, taking a 5-4 lead two minutes in on a Kasey Beirnes goal. It complete a first half hat trick for Beirnes, who finished with four goals and an assist. The Rock went on to add two more goals in the period, while the Stealth failed to find the back of the net. The Rock led 7-4 at the half.
The second quarter was part of a 20-minute stretch during the game in which the Stealth failed to score a goal.
“You can’t go 20 minutes without scoring a goal against a team of their caliber and expect to win,” said Duch after the game. “The offense played well for 45 minutes, but we failed to put it together for an entire game.”
The Stealth fought back in the third quarter, cutting the Toronto lead to one with five minutes left in the quarter. Athan Iannucci tallied one of his three goals on the power play to make it 8-7.
But, as they did all night, the Rock answered the Stealth comeback with a goal of their own as Colin Doyle made it 9-7 with just over two minutes to play in the third. Doyle, who captained the Stealth for three seasons from 2007-2009, moved into second place on the National Lacrosse League’s all-time points list (1,170 points) with an assist earlier in the game. He finished the game with two goals and three assists.
With the score 10-8 early in the fourth quarter, Martin Cummings scored the first of two goals on the night to once again get the Stealth within a goal. The Rock answered in a big way, scoring three straight to take a 13-9 lead with 7:48 left in regulation.
The Stealth fought hard to get back in the game, cutting the Rock lead to two goals at 15-13 with 2:33 left in the game. With 15 seconds left, the Rock tallied an empty net goal to make the final score 16-13.
“We fought hard to get ourselves back in the game and we made some fundamental errors that hurt us,” said Stealth Head Coach Chris Hall. “It wasn’t a lack of desire to win, we just continued to make mistakes that a veteran team shouldn’t make.”
Lewis Ratcliff added two goals and two assists for the Stealth and Brett Bucktooth notched five assists. Bobby Snider grabbed a game-high 13 loose balls and went 26-for-32 on face-offs. Snider added to his record-setting loose ball total, now with 185 on the season, the most in a single season in Stealth history. He is now the Stealth single season record holder in face-off wins with 286 this year.
Stealth goaltender Tyler Richards made 34 saves in the loss.
The Stealth now need some help in order to reach the postseason. A win by the Rochester Knighthawks over the Buffalo Bandits tomorrow night, followed by a Stealth win over the Bandits next week would give the Stealth the NLL’s final playoff slot.
The Stealth will face the Bandits next Saturday, April 28 for Fan Appreciation Night at the Comcast Arena. Tickets start at just $7 and are available by calling 877-MY-75-TIX or at www.stealthlax.com.