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Stealth Looks to Get Back on Winning Track Against Calgary

02/18/2010, 3:54pm PST
By Washington Stealth

The Washington Stealth suffered their first loss of the season last weekend, 16-12 to the Minnesota Swarm.  They still hold the National Lacrosse League’s best record at 6-1 and look to get back on track this weekend against the defending NLL Champion Calgary Roughnecks (3-3).  The second meeting of the season between the two teams will take place at the Comcast Arena at 8:00pm on February 19.

Last week, the Stealth gave up a season-high 16 goals in Minnesota, who ranks last in the West Division at 2-4.  On the season, the Stealth is surrendering eleven goals per game on the season.  “Fundamentally we played very poor on the defensive end,” said Stealth Head Coach Chris hall after last week’s game.

This week, Hall will rely on goaltender Matt Roik to anchor the defense.  Roik holds a 3-0 record and has posted a 9.92 goals against average and a .794 save percentage.  He will face a Roughnecks offense that is averaging 11.8 goals per game.

The Roughnecks have won their last two games, including a 10-8 come from behind victory last week over the East Division’s top-ranked Toronto Rock.  The back-to-back wins snapped a three-game losing streak.  The Calgary offense is led by Josh Sanderson, who is sixth in the NLL with 43 points (15g, 28a) this season.  He is one of five Roughnecks with 20 or more points on the year.

The Stealth boasts the league’s highest scoring offense at 13.8 goals per game.  Jeff Zywicki leads the charge with 47 points (19g, 28a), good for second in the NLL.  He’s also among the top five in goals (2nd) and assists (4th).  Lewis Ratcliff and Rhys Duch are behind Zywicki with 41 and 38 points, respectively.

The special teams battle will be especially important this week with the Stealth entering the game as the most penalized team in the West and Calgary the least penalized.  Despite the number of penalties, the Stealth penalty kill has been tops in the league all season, currently killing 78% of opposing power plays.  In the first meeting between the teams this season, Calgary was unable to capitalize on four power play chances.

That first meeting was a high-scoring affair at the Pengrowth Saddledome, with the Stealth stealing a 16-15 victory in the final minutes of the game.  Ratcliff was named the game’s MVP, posting three goals and six assists against his former team.  

This week’s battle between the West’s top two teams is scheduled to begin at 8:00pm at the Comcast Arena.  There will also be a food drive and fundraiser to benefit Northwest Harvest and the Stealth’s “Bailout Friday” event will give one lucky fan up to $2,500.  Tickets for the game start at just $13 and can be purchased by calling 877-MY-75-TIX or at www.stealthlax.com.

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