After losing their first three games of the season, the Stealth were reaching desperate levels, but thanks to the four-goal performance of All-Star Rhys Duch, who scored the game-winner in overtime, the Stealth found their first win of the 2012 season.
"0-4 would have been a deep hole to climb out of," Stealth head coach Chris Hall said in the league's weekly conference call on Wednesday.
Hall has not been on the sidelines yet for the Stealth this season as he continues to recover from treatment for throat cancer. Hall said if all goes as planned he will be back on the sidelines for the Stealth's Feb. 24 game at home against the Minnesota Swarm. Assistant coach Art Webster will continue to lead the team in Hall's absence.
The Stealth will look to win their second in a row tonight when they host the Calgary Roughnecks for the second time this season. The Roughnecks defeated the Stealth 13-10 in Washington's season opener Jan. 14.
Calgary coach Dave Pym said he recognizes the importance of the game.
"They are coming off of a high and we are coming into a situation where we can clinch the season series in the event of a tie (at the end of the regular season)," Pym said.
The Roughnecks opened the season 2-0, but have lost two straight to fall to 2-2. Both Calgary losses came in overtime.
"We've learned our lesson and we've learned that hopefully when we have a team down we learn to step on their throats."
In order to avoid that from happening, the Stealth will need another good performance out of their defense and goalkeeper Tyler Richards like they got in the win over Buffalo.
"I think our defense really knuckled down a bit better in Buffalo," Hall said.
Richards saved 41 of the 51 shots he saw against the Bandits, much better than the nine of 18 he stopped before being benched the week before in a 16-5 loss to Edmonton.
Hall said with the exception of that one game that Richards has gotten the job done between the posts for the Stealth.
"Outside of the Edmonton game, he's really played pretty well," Hall said.
Washington also needs another solid performance out its "dynamic duo" of Duch and Lewis Ratcliff. For the first time this season, both had multi-goal games in the Stealth's victory over Buffalo.
Aaron Lommers covers the Washington Stealth for The Herald. Read his live blogs at www.heraldnet.com/blog34, follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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