In a must-win situation, the San Jose Stealth came from behind to capture an 11-10 victory over the Edmonton Rush on March 21 at the HP pavilion. Colin Doyle netted the game-winning goal with less than a minute remaining in regulation to put the Stealth alone in fifth place, just one and a half game behind Minnesota for the fourth and final West Division playoff spot.
Edmonton started the scoring two minutes into the game on a tally by Ian Hawksbee. The Stealth answered with goals from Jeff Zywicki and Alex Turner to take an early 2-1 lead. Edmonton rattled off two more to take a 3-2 lead after one.
The teams traded goals to start the second quarter before back-to-back goals from the Stealth tied the score at five. Paul Rabil scored from the outside to bring the Stealth within one and Curtis Hodgson scored the equalizer on the ensuing face-off. But once again the Rush answered, this time to the tune of three straight to put the Stealth down 8-5 at the break.
With the momentum on Edmonton’s side, the Stealth came out in the second half with the season on the line. They responded by allowing just two goals from the Rush in the remainder of the game. The Stealth outscored Edmonton 3-2 in the third quarter to cut their deficit to just two goals.
In the fourth, Stealth goaltender Matt Roik stole the show. He made 12 of his 38 saves in the final stanza. The Stealth offense responded, as Cam Sedgwick scored four minutes into the quarter to cut the lead to 10-9. Rabil scored his second of the night at the seven minute mark to knot the score at ten. And with time winding down and neither goaltender willing to relinquish the game-winning goal for nearly ten minutes, the Stealth broke through. Doyle scored his only goal of the night on an outside shot that squeaked through the legs of goaltender Brandon Atherton and across the goal line with 56 seconds left. The Stealth defense stymied the final attempts at an Edmonton equalizer to go on to the 11-10 victory.
Jeff Zywicki led the Stealth with seven points on three goals and four assists. Colin Doyle finished with a goal and five assists. Paul Rabil and Alex Turner each tallied two goals and an assist. Rhys Duch was credited with five assists and eight loose balls. Mike Grimes paced the defense with nine loose balls.
Dan Teat finished with two goals and two assists for the Rush. Brandon Atherton made 38 saves in the loss.
The road to the playoffs doesn’t get any easier for the Stealth, who play a pair of games against the Portland Lumberjax next weekend. On March 28, the teams square off at the HP Pavilion and the following night travel to Portland to wrap up the three-game season series. Portland took game one 15-13 on February 7. For tickets to the March 28 matchup, call 877-MY-SJ-TIX or log on to www.sjstealth.com.