Stealth playoff hopes take a big hit

  • Sat Mar 31st, 2012 9:18pm
  • Sports

By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer

One step forward, two steps back seems like a pretty good mantra for the way the Washington Stealth have played the past several weeks.

Saturday night was another step back as the Washington Stealth fell on the road to the Calgary Roughnecks 13-11.

Almost three weeks ago, the Stealth scored an impressive 11-8 win over the NLL’s Western Division leading Colorado Mammoth. But after a bye week, the Stealth lost an all-important chance to help their playoff hopes with a 10-9 loss to Edmonton. The next night however, the Stealth played their best game of the season in dismissing the Minnesota Swarm 20-13.

But that momentum didn’t carry over into Saturday night. Once again, it was mental lapses by the Stealth that cost them.

Washington spotted Calgary five goals, four of which came on the power play in Saturday’s loss to the Roughnecks. Stealth head coach Chris Hall said it was those first-quarter penalties that ultimately cost his team the game.

“It was the difference without question,” Hall said.

The Stealth did attempt to mount a comeback and eventually cut the Calgary lead to just one late in the second half, but it wasn’t enough.

“Think about how perfectly you have to play to go plus-six on a team in their building,” Hall said.

That was the challenge facing the Stealth in the final three quarters of the game and behind goalkeeper Tyler Richards, who saved 48 shots and Athan Iannucci, who scored four goals, it looked like the Stealth might do just that. Then Calgary scored three of the final four goals of the game proving why its tied with Colorado for the best record in the NLL.

Now with just three games to play, the Stealth trail Edmonton by a game and Buffalo by a 1/2 game in the race for the league’s final playoff spot. In the event of a tie, Edmonton holds the tie-breaker against Washington, while Washington has the edge if it winds up tied with Buffalo. It’s beginning to look more and more like the Stealth not only need to win, but they are going to need help to get into the playoffs.

“We are in deep, deep trouble,” Hall said. “Somehow we are going to have to find a way to win out here.”

After seeing the Stealth give their fans hope so many times only to leave them disappointed. I know longer have any idea which way this thing is going to go, but I know that I have never heard Hall sound more frustrated.

Player of the game: Dane Dobbie (Calgary), Dobbie scored three goals and dished four assists to lead the Roughnecks to the win.

Stealth Player(s) of the game: Tyler Richards and Athan Iannucci, Richards saved 48 shots giving his team a chance to comeback,, while Iannucci scored four goals helping the Stealth attempt their comeback. Unfortunately for the Stealth, they didn’t get much help.

Stealth Unsung hero of the game: Cummings scored his third goal in two games.