A slow start put the
Washington Stealth (6-2) in a hole early tonight, as an 8-0 run to start the
game catapulted the Calgary Roughnecks (4-3) to a 13-9 victory at the Comcast
Arena. The Stealth fought back in
the second half, but were unable to fully recover as they drop their second
straight in division play.
For the first time all season, the Stealth failed to score in a quarter. Offensively, they had their chances, but Roughnecks goaltender Matt King stopped all 15 Stealth shots on goal. Early on in the quarter, two Calgary penalties gave the Stealth a two-man advantage on which they did not capitalize.
On the other end of the floor, the Roughnecks were able to take advantage of a number of close-range opportunities in front of Stealth goaltender Matt Roik. Calgary forward Kalb Toth, who had two goals going into the game, recorded a natural hat trick on the first three goals of the game. The Roughnecks also had a two-man advantage in the quarter, and Dane Dobbie made it 4-0 at the end of the first.
The Roughnecks continued to roll in the second quarter, thanks to four power play goals. The Stealth penalty kill unit was tops in the league coming into the game, but surrendered five power play goals on six chances to the Roughnecks. Paul Rabil finally got the Stealth on the board in the quarter, but they trailed 10-1 at the half.
The Stealth came alive in the second half. Jeff Zywicki took matters into his own hands in the third, scoring all four Stealth goals. Tyler Richards, who replaced Matt Roik in goal early in the second quarter, held the Roughnecks offense to just one goal in the third stanza. Richards finished with 30 saves on 36 shots on goal.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Stealth as well, as assistant captain Cam Sedgwick netted a pair of goals and Rabil scored his second of the night. But the first half deficit was too much to overcome, as an empty netter with 2:36 left in the game sealed the Roughneck victory, 13-9.
“We didn’t play as a unit in the first half,” said Stealth captain Jason Bloom following the game. “You can’t spot anybody a nine-goal lead, especially the defending champs.”
Zywicki led the Stealth with four goals and an assist. Rabil and Sedgwick each added a pair of goals and Lewis Ratcliff had a team-high three assists.
Toth led all scorers with four goals and three assists for Calgary. Josh Sanderson, who leads the NLL in points per game, finished with two and three. Scott Ranger had a game-high five assists.
King was stellar in goal for the Roughnecks, making 22 of his 39 saves in the first half.
The Stealth have lost their last two games as they fall to 6-2. They still hold a 1.5 game lead over the Roughnecks for the top spot in the West Division. They hit the road for a three-game road trip that starts at Boston on February 27. They return home on March 27 to face the Colorado Mammoth.