EVERETT — In the beginning, it seemed more like a boxing match than a lacrosse game.
In the first quarter of Friday night’s National Lacrosse League game between the Washington Stealth and Calgary Roughnecks, there were seven separate fights — and just four goals. But amid all the punches, quite a lacrosse game broke out.
It was inspired effort by the Stealth in front of a crowd of 3,509 at Comcast Arena, however, Washington fell short of winning its first home game of 2012, falling 12-11. All-star forward Rhys Duch had an opportunity to force overtime for Washington, but his last-second shot was saved by Roughnecks goalkeeper Mike Poulin.
“I was hoping to see that ball drop in the back of the net,” said Stealth assistant coach Art Webster, who is filling in for head coach Chris Hall while Hall recovers from throat cancer treatments. “Unfortunately it just didn’t happen. It wasn’t a case of Rhys not battling hard. … Maybe any other night that ball would have went in, but tonight it didn’t go in.”
The Stealth wouldn’t have even been in the game if it weren’t for goalkeeper Tyler Richards. Richards saved a career-high 59 shots, including 39 in the first half.
“I couldn’t get any more game out of Tyler than I got tonight,” Webster said. “He basically stood on his head. He did everything we asked him to do and more. We ask him to do that every night and he does. He does a fantastic job. We need that from the rest of the guys — maybe take a look at what he’s doing and then grab some of that energy and do the same thing.”
Richards said all that matters are the wins and losses.
“As cliché as it sounds, I would trade it all for a win,” he said. “Personal accomplishments are second to me. It’s all about how well the team does. Yeah, it feels great to make 50-plus saves. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter for anyone. It doesn’t put a W on the board.”
The way the first quarter would play out was evident from the opening faceoff. Rather than fighting for the ball, Stealth defenseman Jeff Moleski and Roughnecks transition player Geoff Snider dropped the gloves and fought each other.
Minutes later, another fight broke out. Somewhere in the madness the Roughnecks had taken an early 2-0 lead. But when Stealth forward Rhys Duch scored with seven minutes and 44 seconds remaining in the first quarter to cut Calgary’s lead to 2-1, chaos ensued.
Duch and Stealth transition star Paul Rabil both got into fights with Roughnecks players. Duch was sent to the penalty box, Rabil was ejected and while all that was happening Stealth, forward Lewis Ratcliff got into a fight of his own.
All told there were 14 penalties and 51 penalty minutes served in the first quarter. As many penalties as there were in the opening period, it did not come close to the league record for penalty minutes in a quarter (better than 200) set in a game between Rochester and Buffalo earlier this season.
It seemed a fight was breaking out every other second, but as the second period began both teams seemed to get down to business. But it was the Roughnecks who took advantage in the game’s final minutes with a 10-10 tie to take a two-goal lead. Ratcliff scored with 40 seconds left to cut the deficit to 12-11.
Brett Bucktooth led the Stealth offensively with his first hat-trick as a member of the team.
Aaron Lommers covers the Washington Stealth for The Herald. Read his live blogs at www.heraldnet.com/blog 34, follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roughnecks 12, Stealth 11
First quarter—Scoring: CGY-Evans Goal (PP) (Ranger) 1:42. CGY-Dickson Goal (Shattler) 4:22. WAS-Duch Goal (PP) (Ratcliff) 7:16. WAS-Bucktooth Goal (Ratcliff) 13:34. Penalties: Moleski, WAS (Fighting, Major, 5 min) 0:00. Snider, CGY (Fighting, Major, 5 min) 0:01. Moleski, WAS (Illegal Equipment, Minor, 2 min) 0:01. Veltman, CGY (Fighting, Major, 5 min) 4:22. Veltman, CGY (Fighting, Major, 5 min) 5:06. McBride, CGY (Slashing, Minor, 2 min) 5:06. Duch, WAS (Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Minor, 2 min) 5:08. Grimes, WAS (Major, 5 min) 5:08. Evans, CGY (Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Minor, 2 min) 5:08. Harnett, CGY (Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Minor, 2 min) 5:08. Snider, WAS (Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Minor, 2 min) 5:08. Rabil, WAS (Fighting, Game Ejection, 10 min) 7:16. Duch, WAS (Fighting, Major, 5 min) 7:16. McBride, CGY (Fighting, Game Misconduct, 10 min) 7:16. Ratcliff, WAS (Fighting, Major, 5 min) 7:16. Carnegie, CGY (Slashing, Minor, 2 min) 7:16. McFetridge, CGY (Fighting, Game Misconduct, 10 min) 7:16. Kilby, CGY (Fighting, Game Misconduct, 10 min) 7:16. Bloom, WAS (Slashing, Minor, 2 min) 8:18. Toth, CGY (Fighting, Major, 5 min) 10:49. Beers, WAS (Fighting, Game Misconduct, 10 min) 10:50. Duch, WAS (Illegal Cross Checking, Minor, 2 min) 13:13. Ranger, CGY (Delay of Game, Minor, 2 min) 13:13.
Second quarter—Scoring: CGY-Shattler Goal (Ranger, Carnegie) 3:08. WAS-Smith Goal (PP) (Duch) 4:15. WAS-Ratcliff Goal (Duch) 4:50. CGY-Ranger Goal 5:18. WAS-Grimes Goal (Bloom) 5:40. CGY-Shattler Goal (PP) (Poulin, Evans) 8:26. WAS-Bucktooth Goal (Sedgwick, Duch) 9:57. CGY-Veltman Goal (Evans) 14:12. Penalties: Snider, CGY (Slashing, Minor, 2 min) 3:17. Snider, CGY (Slashing, Minor, 2 min) 3:20. O’Dougherty, WAS (Slashing, Minor, 2 min) 7:21. O’Dougherty, WAS (, Major, 5 min) 10:49. Smith, WAS (Roughing, Minor, 2 min) 11:10.
Third Quarter—Scoring: WAS-Ratcliff Goal (Grimes) 1:01. CGY -Evans Goal (PP) (Ranger) 2:18. CGY-Shattler Goal (Carnegie) 7:30. WAS-Bucktooth Goal (Ratcliff, Hickey) 11:43. Penalties: Snider, CGY (Holding, Minor, 2 min) 0:00. Martin, WAS (Holding, Minor, 2 min) 0:00. McBride, CGY (Slashing, Minor, 2 min) 2:20. Conway, CGY (Roughing, Minor, 2 min) 4:17.
Fourth Quarter—Scoring: CGY-Snider Goal (Scigliano) 4:49. CGY-Veltman Goal (Ranger, Conway) 5:46. WAS-Sedgwick Goal (PP) (Duch) 7:32. WAS-Ratcliff Goal (PP) (Sedgwick, Duch) 8:52. CGY-Dickson Goal (Ranger) 10:45. CGY-Shattler Goal (Evans, Dickson) 12:57. WAS-Ratcliff Goal (Duch, Bucktooth) 14:20. Penalties: Carnegie, CGY (Illegal Cross Checking, Major, 5 min) 0:00. O’Dougherty, WAS (Illegal Cross Checking, Minor, 2 min) 10:35.