By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
EVERETT — The National Lacrosse League’s Washington Stealth no longer control their own future, but they certainly aren’t out of the playoff picture.
The Stealth host the defending NLL champions Toronto Rock today in a rematch of the past two NLL Champion’s Cup games.
The Stealth have looked like anything but a team that has played for a championship the past two seasons. They enter tonight’s game with the worst record in the NLL at 4-10. Still, the Stealth can clinch a playoff berth with victories in their final two games and a Rochester win over Philadelphia on April 28. The Stealth also can clinch a berth with a victory over Buffalo in the final game of the season and a Rochester victory over Buffalo this Saturday.
Stealth head coach Chris Hall doesn’t want to leave anything to chance. He said his team needs two victories to close the regular season.
“There is not too much to talk about,” Hall said. “We need to win. We need to do whatever we can to put ourselves in a position to be in the playoffs and that is winning. Losing means you are wishing and hoping. We need to win.”
Closing out the season with two wins won’t be easy. The Stealth face a Rock team that is looking to secure an East Division championship and a Bandits team that, like the Stealth, is fighting for its playoff live.
“There is still lots in line for everybody in terms of playoff positioning,” Hall said.
Hall said he expects the Rock to be ready to play.
“They want to get rolling and playing well in terms of the playoffs themselves,” he said. “So there is lots for them to play for.”
The Stealth have dropped their past two games. Hall said Washington’s five-on-five offense has to get better in order for the team to be successful.
“That’s our biggest issue right now, producing goals five-on-five,” he said.
The Stealth’s offensive struggles have been an Achille’s heel for most of the season.
“Obviously everybody is disappointed in the way we have been performing and we have been working like heck to get out of that funk,” Hall said. “And now we know we have to.
“We have talked about it enough. It’s time to deliver.”
Aaron Lommers covers the Washington Stealth for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.