By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
EVERETT — So much for the return of Chris Hall being the inspiration needed to lift the Washington Stealth to their first home win of the 2012 season.
Instead, a disastrous second quarter led to a 15-7 loss to the Minnesota Swarm in Friday night’s National Lacrosse League game.
Washington gave up the game’s opening goal, but back-to-back goals by Lewis Ratcliff and Dean Hill gave the Stealth a 2-1 lead with just over six minutes to play in the opening period. It would be the Stealth’s only lead of the night.
As the Stealth have done in other games this season, they took some penalties that the coaching staff said they shouldn’t have taken, and the offense struggled.
“We are literally not playing intelligent lacrosse and we are literally beating up on ourselves,” said Hall, who coached his first game of the season after returning from treatment for throat cancer. “So things have to change.”
The Stealth’s cause wasn’t helped by the fact starting goalkeeper Tyler Richards, defenseman Kyle Sorensen and forward Rhys Duch all missed the game with injuries.
“Clearly without your leader on defense and without your leading scorer and without your No. 1 goaltender, it’s not the best way to be going into a game in this league,” Hall said. “There is no question about that. But other guys have to pick up the slack.”
The Stealth signed free-agent goalkeeper Matt King before the game to backup Chris Seidel. Both played against the Swarm, Seidel giving up 12 goals in 53 minutes and King giving up three goals in seven minutes. The Stealth were even forced to temporarily release Sorensen to give the team room to sign King before the game. Sorensen will re-sign with Washington as soon as he is ready to return to the lineup.
The Stealth and Swarm were tied 3-3 after the first quarter. Spirits still seemed to be high on the Stealth bench, but it didn’t last long. Minnesota started reeling off goal after goal. Before the second quarter was over, the Swarm had scored seven unanswered goals and eventually took a 10-3 lead into the locker room.
Washington returned to the floor in the third quarter with a new intensity, but failed to convert on several power-play opportunities that would have cut the deficit to a manageable level. The biggest example of the Stealth not taking advantage was when they went on a five-minute power play trailing 11-6 after Andrew Suitor was called for head-butting. The Stealth scored just one goal and allowed Minnesota to score a short-handed goal, breaking even.
“Terrible,” Hall said. “We were handed an opportunity to get back into the game with plenty of time left … The power play was anemic.”
Dean Hill was a lone bright spot for Washington, coming alive offensively with a hat trick for the Stealth. But Hill was only interested in wins and losses after the game.
“I think we just have to play with more confidence out there,” he said. “Just too many mental mistakes and little things that help you win games, we aren’t doing that right now — and it’s costing us.”
Five players had at least two goals for the Swarm, led by forward Ryan Benesch, who also had five assists.
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.
Swarm 15, Stealth 7
First Quarter—Scoring: MIN—Benesch Goal (Henry, Ross) 0:50. WAS—Ratcliff Goal (Martin, Bloom) 1:38. WAS—Hill Goal (Ratcliff, Smith) 8:43. MIN—Benesch Goal (PP) (Crawford, Ross) 11:01. MIN—Earl Goal 11:39. WAS—Sedgwick Goal (PP) (Iannucci, Bucktooth) 13:38. Penalties: Martin, WAS (Holding, Minor, 2 min) 3:14. Moleski, WAS (Checking from Behind, Minor, 2 min) 3:14. Card, MIN (Checking from Behind, Minor, 2 min) 6:26. Beers, WAS (Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Minor, 2 min) 6:46. Gilbert, MIN (Holding, Minor, 2 min) 12:03. Suitor, MIN (Illegal Cross Checking, Minor, 2 min) 12:03.
Second Quarter—Scoring: MIN—Card Goal (PP) (Ross, Benesch) 5:58. MIN—MacIntosh Goal 6:13. MIN—Tao Goal (Benesch, Ross) 7:48. MIN—Ross Goal (Benesch, Card) 9:21. MIN—Henry Goal (PP) (Crawford, Benesch) 10:01. MIN—Crawford Goal (PP) (Benesch) 10:41. MIN—Downing Goal (SH) (MacIntosh, Kirk) 12:36. Penalties: Ross, WAS (Holding, Minor, 2 min) 0:27. Bilic, MIN (Elbowing, Minor, 2 min) 3:05. Bloom, WAS (Illegal Cross Checking, Minor, 2 min) 5:35. Ross, WAS (, Minor, 2 min) 9:43. Gilbert, MIN (Holding, Minor, 2 min) 10:01. Smith, WAS (Holding, Minor, 2 min) 10:01.
Third Quarter—Scoring: WAS—Hodgson Goal (Bloom) 6:11. MIN—Gilbert Goal (SH) 8:06. WAS—Hill Goal (PP) (Iannucci, Sedgwick) 11:06. WAS—Hill Goal (PP) (Sedgwick, Bucktooth) 12:36. Penalties: Morgan, MIN (Holding, Minor, 2 min) 7:13. Henry, MIN (Delay of Game, Minor, 2 min) 10:55. Ball, MIN (Too Many Men, Minor, 2 min) 12:36., MIN (Too Many Men, Minor, 2 min) 12:49. Suitor, MIN (Head-Butting, Major, 5 min) 13:58.
Fourth Quarter—Scoring: WAS—Iannucci Goal (PP) (Bucktooth, Sedgwick) 1:06. MIN—Gilbert Goal (SH) 3:13. MIN—Ross Goal (PP) (Tao) 4:57. MIN—Crawford Goal (Benesch, Belisle) 8:00. MIN—MacIntosh Goal 11:29. Penalties: Hill, WAS (Holding, Minor, 2 min) 4:03.