The San Jose Stealth wrapped up their regular season with their first ever meeting with the Toronto Rock at the Air Canada Centre on April 18. The Rock snapped the Stealth’s three-game win streak and spoiled the homecoming of Colin Doyle with a decisive 15-11 win.
It was the first time Stealth Captain Colin Doyle set foot in the Air Canada Centre since being traded from the Rock to the Stealth prior to the 2007 season. He spent eight seasons with the Rock, winning five NLL titles in the process. He also entered the game tied with the NLL single-season assist record and nine points away from tying the single-season points record.
The Stealth started off strong scoring the first two goals of the game in the first four minutes of action. They went on to build a 4-1 lead with Doyle’s first goal of the game, a shorthanded tally at the 4:52 mark of the opening stanza. The Rock scored twice in the closing minutes to cut the Stealth lead to one at the end of the first.
Doyle scored again to open the second quarter and Jeff Zywicki followed, completing a first half hat trick and extending the Stealth advantage to three. Toronto rallied just thirty seconds later with a Craig Conn goal that sparked a six-goal run to end the first half. The score was 9-6 in favor of the Rock at the break.
The scoring slowed in the third. Toronto scored seven minutes in for their seventh unanswered goal to take a 10-6 lead. Rhys Duch scored his only goal of the night to stop the run thirty seconds later, but two more Rock goals closed out the third quarter with Toronto holding a five-goal advantage.
The Stealth were unable to mount a comeback as Toronto led by as many as seven in the fourth. They scored the first two goals of the quarter, before San Jose answered with a pair of goals. Doyle recorded his first assist of the night in the fourth to eclipse the single-season record, his 72nd assist of the season. He added one more on the games final goal that came with less than a minute remaining and made the score 15-11.
Doyle finished with three goals and two assists. He finishes the regular season with 111 points, tops in the NLL. The last time Doyle finished with 111 points – 2005 when he went on to win league MVP honors with the Toronto Rock. His 73 assists end up second in the LL this season, behind Dan Dawson and Josh Sanderson who finished with 74 helpers apiece.
Zywicki led the Stealth offense with six points on four goals and two assists. Rhys Duch finished with a goal and two assists. His 89 points this season set a new rookie scoring record.
Toronto was led by Lewis Ratcliff with four goals and an assist. Former Stealth forward Luke Wiles scored two goals and assisted on four others. Goaltender Bob Watson made 37 saves in the win.
The Stealth take on the Portland Lumberjax in the first round of the playoffs on May 1. The Stealth enter the playoffs as the third seed with the Lumberjax as the two seed. The game takes place in the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Ore. At 7:30pm PT.