“One game at a time” has been the saying used most in the San Jose Stealth locker room since the team fell to 3-7 earlier this season. Now at 5-8 and in the midst of the West Division playoff race, their match up against the Minnesota Swarm on April 3 is the most important game of the season.
The Stealth currently sit in fifth place in the NLL’s West Division, one half game behind the Minnesota team they host on Friday. It will be a playoff atmosphere at the HP Pavilion as the two teams sqare off for the second time this season. The Swarm took the first game 10-7 way back on January 10 in St. Paul, Minn.
Both teams have experienced ups and downs since that first meeting. The Stealth have yet to string together back-to-back wins this season and during one stretch, lost three straight. But the Stealth have seen a bit of a resurgence, and in the last three games are 2-1 and just one poor quarter away from winning all three. Only one of the Stealth’s eight losses this season was by more than three goals.
The Stealth harbor the NLL’s third-ranked offense, averaging 12.3 goals per game. They are one of two teams in the league with four 50-point scorers. Colin Doyle leads the team and the league with 86 points (29g, 57a). His 57 assists are also tops in the league. Rookie of the Year candidate Rhys Duch is currently fifth in the league with 70 points (24g, 46a) and Jeff Zywicki is eleventh with 63 points (26g, 37a). Cam Sedgwick has been a major contributor as well with 50 points (20g, 30a) in twelve games played.
The Stealth’s power play unit is ranked second in the league, converting on over 54% of their extra-man opportunities.
The Swarm won their first two games this year before dropping five straight. Their season seemed all but over before a three game win streak brought them back to .500 and in the middle of the playoff race. Heading into this weekend’s action however, Minnesota lost their last two games to West Division opponents Colorado and Calgary.
Minnesota is led offensively by Sean Pollock with 47 points (17g, 30a). Ryan Ward has 43 points (18g, 25a) and Dan Marohl has 38 (16g, 22a).
The game is scheduled to start at 7:00pm PST. It’s Fan Appreciation Night at the HP Pavilion, with the first 2,500 fans receiving a special edition Stealth T-Shirt. There will also be a “Launch-A-Ball” contest immediately following the game, giving fans a chance to win a number of great prizes ranging from a Nintendo Wii to Chipotle Burrito Cards. Throughout the game, fans can purchase numbered tennis balls for $5 that will be thrown at targets on the turf. All proceeds benefit the Sticks-2-Schools program. Tickets to the game are available by calling 877-MY-SJ-TIX or at www.sjstealth.com.