Stealth robbed at home by Bandits

EVERETT, Wash. – Looking for just a single win to secure a home-floor playoff advantage, the Washington Stealth ran into a hungry Buffalo team determined to secure its own playoff berth, falling to the Bandits 15-10, Saturday before 3,442 at Comcast Arena in Everett.

Buffalo’s win snapped a six-game loosing skid for the now 6-9 Bandits, while Washington slipped to 8-7 with one game remaining.

“We have to bring the same intensity for every team,” said Stealth forward Rhys Duch, who again carried the Stealth offense with 12 shots connecting for four goals and two assists. 

After clinching a post-season berth last week – its third in four years, the Stealth got all the external help it needed to secure a home-floor advantage in the playoffs with Rochester edging Calgary 15–14 earlier in the evening, but was unable to help itself.

“We’ve been riding (goaltending and defense) for a long time, “ said Stealth coach Chris Hall whose squad allowed 52 Buffalo shots on goaltender Tyler Richards, who has otherwise been stellar.  “Tonight it wasn’t there.”

Never really getting on track, Washington managed just eight shots in the first on the way to relinquishing a 3-2 lead mid-way through the quarter before the Bandits’ Dhane Smith tied the game at 3-3 with 2:47 to go.   

Buffalo’s Steve Priolo then made it 4-3 at 11:15 of the second, putting the Bandits ahead for good.

The Stealth, which managed just 19 shots in the opening two quarters, eventually trailed 7-4 following a goal by Buffalo’s Mark Steenhuis to close out the half.

The Stealth showed some life in the third holding Buffalo scoreless while Dean Hill found the net at 12:41 to make it 7-5 and Curtis Hodgson’s tallied his first of the year with 45 seconds to go in the quarter brining the game to within one. 

Outshot 52 to 43 on the night, Washington traded goals with Buffalo early in fourth, flirting with a one-goal deficit until the Bandits’ Jordan Critch ignited a three-goal Bandit run at 13:17 of the quarter.  

With the three, Buffalo would go on to score seven of the final 10 goals of the game to put the Stealth away for good.  

“Buffalo had a very strong lineup tonight with (Steenhuis) and Smith on the right-hand side.  That was worrisome,” Hall said. 

Along with Smith’s solo goal and two assists, Steenhuis finished with two goals and five assists for seven points to lead the Bandits.

“We’ve been working to get more production from our offense,” said Hall.

Adjusting its lineup for the right mix and sitting forward Athan Iannucci for the second consecutive game, the Stealth struggled to find their rhythm. 

“We’re still trying to find out the right combinations,” Hall said.  “Certainly we have to take a long, hard look at (putting Iannucci back).  He has the ability to score a lot of goals,” he said.  “No guarantees, but we have to see what happens this week through practice and then make our decision.”

While the rest of the offense struggled against Buffalo, Duch continued to produce for the Stealth.

With four goals and two assists on the night, Duch moved into top spot in NLL goals scored with 41 on the season.  It was Duch’s 10th hat trick of the year and third game with four or more goals.

For Buffalo, Aaron Wilson finished with four goals and two assists for six points.

“We missed an opportunity tonight,” Duch said.  “But the lacrosse Gods are good to us because we have another chance next weekend.”

The Stealth are back in action at home next Saturday, April 20 for the final game of the regular season when the Philadelphia Wings make their first visit to Comcast Arena this year.  Game time is 6:45 p.m. PDT.

“There’s a lot on the line for both teams.  Philadelphia has won two in a row and just beat the so-called best team in the league Toronto,” he said.  “If we don’t bring the intensity that’s expected of us each and every game, it’s our own fault if we miss another opportunity.”
























With tonight’s game, Stealth bench boss Chris Hall coached his 151st NLL contest. Hall tied Paul Day for third most coached games in NLL history.  Bob Hamley of the Colorado Mammoth is second on the list while the all-time leader in games coached is Buffalo’s Darris Kilgour, who now has 203.

With Saturday’s loss, the Stealth trail the all-time series with Buffalo 10-5.  

Saturday’s four-goal performance by Rhys Duch marked the 10th hat trick this season and his third game with four or more goals on the year.  With his four goals, Duch moves into first place in NLL goals scored with 41.  Edmonton’s Mark Matthews with 36 could overtake Duch with a top performance on Sunday when the Rush face Rochester.



Saturday, April 13

Toronto 9, Philadelphia 10

Minnesota 17, Colorado 12

Rochester 15, Calgary 14

Buffalo 15, Washington 10


Sunday, April 14

Rochester at Edmonton (1 p.m. PDT / 4 p.m. EDT)

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