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Stealth @ Calgary: Where the West Will Be Won

05/04/2009, 6:27pm PDT
By Washington Stealth
The San Jose Stealth advanced to the National Lacrosse League West Division Finals for the second time in three years with a 20-16 victory over the Portland Lumberjax on May 1.  Now the quest for the Champion’s Cup turns to Calgary and the top-seeded Roughnecks May 9 at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

After starting the season 3-7, the Stealth went 4-2 in their final six games heading into the playoffs as the West’s #3 seed.  In the West Semifinal against Portland, the Stealth offense enjoyed its highest scoring effort of the season.  The 20 goals scored were the most in a playoff game since 1994.  The Stealth are currently playing their best lacrosse of the season, and it will need to continue against Calgary, who boasts the league’s best regular season record.

The Roughnecks cruised past #4 seed Colorado last weekend with a 15-8 victory.  They were led by Dane Dobbie with seven points (3g, 4a) and goaltender Matt King with 40 saves.  During the regular season, Josh Sanderson had a record-breaking campaign in which he recorded 74 assists, surpassing his previous record of 71 in 2005.  He finished the year with 103 points.  Tracey Kelusky (84 points), Kaleb Toth (80) and Dobbie (76) were the leaders of the second-highest scoring team in the NLL.  King split time with Pat Cambell in goal to anchor the league’s top-ranked defense.

Calgary was victorious in both of the regular season meetings between the teams this season.  They came to the HP Pavilion for the first game of the year on January 9, and escaped with the 12-10 win thanks to a five-goal run in the third quarter.  Their next meeting was in Calgary on January 24, and once again the Roughnecks were able to win by a narrow margin.  The struggling Stealth had lost two of three going into the game and fell 16-13 to start the season 1-3.

The Roughnecks lead the all-time series 10-8.  The lone playoff meeting between the teams was a 15-14 victory for Calgary in the West Semifinals at the HP Pavilion.  The Roughnecks went on to win the Champion’s Cup that season under the direction of current Stealth Head Coach, Chris Hall.

The game at the Pengrowth Saddledome is scheduled to begin at 6:00pm PT.  It can be see live on the NLL Netowrk at NLL.com.

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