Expect the unexpected

In all my years of covering sports the thing that I have come to love the most is knowing that anything can happen on any night. I have seen a perfect game my first time covering a professional baseball game. I have seen numerous high-school teams stage incredible comebacks and I have seen performances for the ages.

Always expect the unexpected.

Saturday night’s National Lacrosse League West Division semifinal between the Washington Stealth and the Edmonton Rush was another shining example of that brilliant truth.

Trailing 6-0 in the second quarter and 7-2 at halftime, the Stealth staged a spirited second-half comeback to defeat the Rush and move on to the NLL’s West Division final next Saturday against Calgary.

It was the finest lacrosse game I have ever covered.

In the first half, things couldn’t have gone worse for the Stealth. In the second half, they couldn’t have gone any better. It was the type of game that reminded this sportswriter why he got into the field.

The goals were brilliant. The intensity was high. It was sports at its finest. After the game, seeing the players and coaches elated because they knew what they had just accomplished was so special was riveting.

No analysis of this game could ever do it justice. It was simply amazing.

Washington Stealth fans should be proud of their team for the heart that it showed and for never giving up. They should also feel as though this team might in fact be destined for great things after pulling off something that seemed impossible.

Everything had to go Washington’s way in the second half and it did.

For anyone who hasn’t seen lacrosse before, Saturday’s game is a shining reason to get out there and see what you are missing.

This week I don’t offer much of a breakdown, I just feel lucky to see such a great game with both teams leaving it all on the floor.

Here are Saturday’s game awards:

MVP: Rhys Duch, His third straight four-goal game led the way for the Stealth. The Rush were physical with Duch all night and he seemed to feed off of it recording a second-half hat trick and sparking the comeback.

Unsung hero: Tyler Garrison. The rookie scored two goals, both momentum changers that helped the Stealth catch up in the second half. The comeback would have never happened without Garrison.

Comeback player of the game: Tyler Richards. The Stealth goalkeeper was briefly benched in the first half after giving up six unanswered goals, but came back in the second half with a brilliant performance that sealed the win.

The Stealth face Calgary in the West Division final at 3 p.m. this coming Saturday in Calgary. The winner will move on to the NLL championship game.

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