The Washington Stealth got back on the winning track tonight, with a 10-8 win over the Colorado Mammoth at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo. Luke Wiles scored two goals during a Stealth four-goal run late in the game as the Stealth even their record at 3-3 on the season.
“We knew it would be a grind it out type of game,” said Stealth Head Coach Chris Hall after the game. “We fought through some adversity and stuck with the game plan and it paid off.”
It was a low-scoring first quarter, with the lone goal coming from Rhys Duch on the power play with 6:12 remaining in the quarter. The opening frame was littered with penalties; the Stealth whistled for six while the Mammoth added four.
The Mammoth got on the board in the second quarter, with back-to-back power play goals from Brian Langtry and Jamie Shewchuk. The Mammoth power play unit went 4-for-9 in the game. The Stealth evened the score on an Eric Martin goal on the fast break. Colorado regained a one-goal advantage with a goal from John Grant, but once again the Stealth answered, this time with a shorthanded goal by Lewis Ratcliff. The score remained 3-3 at the halftime break.
Colorado outshot the Stealth 35-21 in the first half, but Stealth goaltender Tyler Richards made 32 of his 53 saves to hold the Mammoth to just three goals.
The Mammoth struck first in the third quarter, Grant scoring his second of the game. The Stealth then rattled off three straight with goals from Wiles, Duch and Tom Johnson to take a 6-4 lead.
Colorado answered in a big way, scoring two goals to end the third, including another power play tally, and then scored two more to open the fourth. With 12:08 left in regulation, Colorado held an 8-6 advantage.
“We were down two goals late, but we were able to keep our poise,” said Hall. “The offense finally came alive in the fourth and capitalized on some chances.”
Wiles sparked the offensive resurgence, scoring his second of the night at the 9:40 mark and the Stealth offense took over. Johnson scored his second of the game on a beautiful pass from Wiles to tie the game at eight. Wiles scored thirty seconds later to give the Stealth a one-goal lead with 2:42 remaining and another thirty seconds later, it was Cam Sedgwick burying one from point blank to add the insurance goal.
Richards earned the game’s MVP honors, setting a new career-high with 53 saves. “I was seeing the ball really well tonight, thanks to the defense keeping my lanes clear,” he said after the game. “All the credit really goes to the defense.”
Wiles had a team-high four points (3g, 1a) and Duch and Johnson each tallied two goals and an assist. Stealth face-off man Bob Snider, playing in his first game in place of Jamison Koesterer, went 14-for-23 at the face-off circle, including some timely wins late in the game. Snider also grabbed a team-high 13 loose balls.
The Mammoth, who have yet to win a game at home in eleven games, was led offensively by Grant whoth three goals and two assists. Langtry added two goals and three assists. Goaltender Chris Levis made 37 saves in the loss.
The Stealth currently sits in third place in the NLL West Division. They play two games next weekend in a home-and-home series against the Edmonton Rush. After a trip to Edmonton on February 11, they return to the Comcast Arena the following night for the first time in nearly a month. Game time is 7:30pm ad tickets can be purchased by calling 877-MY-75-TIX or at www.stealthlax.com.