By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
The Edmonton Rush certainly seemed to know what was on the line Saturday night.
The Washington Stealth fell to Edmonton 10-9 on Saturday night, thus falling to 3-8 on the season and, at least temporarily, into last place in the National Lacrosse League.
With a win, the Stealth could have greatly improved their playoff position and put Edmonton on the ropes, instead it is the Stealth that are backed into a corner. Washington trails Edmonton by a 1/2 game going into Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Swarm, but perhaps more importantly, Edmonton secured the season series over Washington. That means the Stealth would have have to finish with a better record than the Rush should it come down to those two teams for the final playoff spot.
Washington appeared to have things turned around after defeating Colorado nearly two weeks ago at Comcast Arena, but after a week off all of the Stealth’s demons came back to haunt them again. The Stealth took several bad penalties, the offense didn’t produce and the Rush outshot the Stealth 57-39. Combine all those things together and it spelled a loss at the worst time for the Stealth.
Head coach Chris Hall said after the game that the Stealth likely need to win all of their final five games to guarantee a playoff spot and there is very little room for error the rest of the way.
In order for that to happen, the Stealth have to once again try to correct the things that have plagued them all season. I have been optimistic nearly the entire season, but Saturday’s loss has changed my tune. The Stealth are much better than a 3-8 lacrosse team. There is enough talent in the locker room to compete for a championship, but it hasn’t come together in 2012.
Now it appears that the Stealth are close to running out of time.
Washington hosts Minnesota at 4:45 p.m. on Sunday, a win gets the Stealth right back in the playoff picture, a loss could mean the end.
Player of the game: Shawn Williams, Edmonton, Williams scored two goals and dished four assist to lead the Rush to the victory.
Stealth player of the game: Tyler Richards, Where would the Stealth be without Richards. In a game where they were thoroughly outplayed, Richards saved 47 of 57 shots to give his team a chance to win.
Stealth unsung hero of the game: Dean Hill, Hill scored two more goals and quietly has become Washington’s most consistent offensive threat in the past five games.