The Washington Stealth
improved to 3-0 with a 13-11 victory over the visiting Buffalo Bandits (0-3) on
Friday night at the Comcast Arena.
Cam Sedgwick finished with five points on four goals and an assist to
earn the game’s MVP honors.
It was a shaky start for the Stealth, who had not been tested this season. They found themselves trailing in a game for the first time this season after Buffalo opened the scoring with an Ian Llord goal just thirty seconds into the game. Luke Wiles tied the game four minutes later for the Stealth. Buffalo regained the lead on Mark Steenhuis’ first tally of the game. Steenhuis, last season’s top goal scorer, finished with a game-high five goals.
The Stealth regained their composure, and the lead, by rattling off three straight goals to end the first stanza. Rhys Duch had a hand in all three goals, scoring the first and assisting on the next two. Cam Sedgwick’s first goal of the night made the score 4-2.
Buffalo tied the game in the first five minutes of the second on goals by Chris Driscoll and Steenhuis. Sedgwick responded for the Stealth, netting a power play goal six minutes in. He added his third of the night less than five minutes later to give the Stealth a 6-4 advantage. Less than twenty seconds later, Tom Johnson scored his only goal of the night to extend the lead to three goals. But two more from the Bandits made it a one-goal game at the half.
Buffalo knotted the score again on yet another Steenhuis tally, this time on the power play. It was the only power play goal of the night for the Bandits in five opportunities. The Stealth penalty kill unit has no allowed just two goals in 15 man-down situations this season.
It was a power play goal by Sedgwick for the Stealth at the 6:25 mark of the third that put the game out of reach. It ignited a four-goal run that included goals by Lewis Ratcliff, defenseman Kyle Sorensen and Jeff Zywicki to give the Stealth an 11-7 advantage. Buffalo would add one more in the final second of the third to make the score 11-8 heading into the final quarter.
Five minutes into the fourth, Buffalo cut the lead to two on a Chris Corbell goal, but it was as close as the Bandits would get. Wiles and Ratcliff added to the Stealth lead with fourth quarter goals before Buffalo rounded out the scoring with a pair to close out the game.
One of the big differences in the contest was the play of Stealth face-off man Jamison Koesterer. He went 25-for-27 in the face-off circle to give the Stealth control of the ball, and the game. Tyler Richards had his second strong outing of the season, recording 28 saves in the victory.
Zywicki had a game-high six points on a goal and five assists. He reached the 150 career assist plateau with an assist in the second quarter. Duch added a goal and four assists and Paul Rabil was credited with four helpers as well. Ratcliff and Wiles each tallied two goals and an assist.
The Stealth won the loose ball battle, picking up 76 to the Bandits’ 61. Eric Martin, who entered the game second in the league with 26 loose balls, grabbed a game-high ten.
The Stealth have a quick turnaround for their next contest as they travel to Calgary to take on the defending NLL Champion Roughnecks tomorrow night. That game can be seen live on the NLL Network at NLL.com.