It was a must-win situation for the San Jose Stealth, who entered their April 3 game against the Minnesota Swarm on the outside looking in to the National Lacrosse League playoff picture. The Stealth responded in a big way, never trailing in an 18-8 rout of the Swarm at the HP Pavilion.
The Stealth were dominant from the start. Paul Rabil scored just 17 seconds into the game, igniting an eight-goal run that went into the second quarter. Rhys Duch, Colin Doyle and Tom Johnson each scored twice during that span.
The Swarm got on the board midway through the second quarter, their only goal of the first half. Stealth goaltender Tyler Richards stymied the Minnesota offense with 29 of his 46 saves in the first half. The Stealth would add three more goals before the break to take a commanding 11-1 lead at halftime.
The second half was much of the same for San Jose, as Jeff Zywicki, Duch and Johnson all scored to start the third quarter. Minnesota made a run to attempt to get back in the game, scoring two goals at the end of the third and two more to start the fourth. It was 14-5 with eleven minutes to play.
Mike Kirk scored to end the run a minute and a half later and put the Stealth back up by ten. Three more Swarm goals in the next five minutes cut the deficit to eight, but it was too little too late. The Stealth tallied three more to end the game and come away with the 18-8 victory.
Doyle led all scorers with 13 points on three goals and ten assists. Reigning NLL Rookie of the Week Rhys Duch scored five goals and assisted on three others. He is just four points away from tying the rookie scoring record set by Gavin Prout in 2002. Tom Johnson scored five goals and Paul Rabil added two goals and two assists. Cam Sedgwick was credited with a goal and six assists.
The win puts the Stealth a half game ahead of Minnesota for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division. They travel to Colorado next weekend with a chance to clinch a playoff berth. The game is scheduled to start at 6:30pm PST from the Pepsi Center in Denver. You can watch the game live on the NLL Network at NLL.com.