By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
It appears Washington Stealth head coach Chris Hall has finally got that consistency he has wanted from his team so badly.
The Stealth won their third consecutive game on Saturday, a 16-10 decision over the Philadelphia Wings, to improve to 7-4 on the season and maintain a one-game lead on Calgary for first place in the NLL’s West Division.
Washington also ended the Wings three-game winning streak and the Stealth now have the longest current winning streak in the league.
It wasn’t just the Stealth’s third straight win. It was also their third straight complete game. The Stealth got give goals from Rhys Duch and four goals from Lewis Ratcliff to account for nine of the team’s 16 goals.
Another bright spot for the Stealth was their four shorthanded goals, which quadrupled the number they had going into the game.
The Stealth now need a combination of any two wins or Colorado losses to qualify for the postseason after being the only team to miss the playoffs in 2012.
The confidence level of this team seems to be growing each game. Each week they move further away from way they played a season ago and closer to the team that went to two-straight NLL Championship games in 2010 and 2011.
Goalkeeper Tyler Richards has been the key. No goalie in the league is playing better than Richards right now and because of it the Stealth have won four of five.
Right now the Stealth are looking more and more like the team to beat every week.
Saturday’s game awards:
Game MVP: Lewis Ratcliff. This could have just as easily gone to Duch, but it was a special night for Ratcliff as he recorded his 400th goal in the NLL.
Unsung hero(es): The Stealth defense. Not just Richards, but the entire defense is responsible for this one. The Stealth only allowed multiple goals to two players, one being former Washington transition player Paul Rabil. Though, largely, the Stealth kept the Wings’ big guns in check. Philadelphia leading goal-scorer Kevin Crowley managed four assists, but was held without a goal.
Business as usual award: Tyler Richards. Richards saved 42 of 52 shots, an .808 save percentage, which is just slightly better than his .807 average on the season.
Getting it all started award: Kyle Sorensen. The defenseman doesn’t score a lot of goals, but when he does they usually have a big impact on the team. He got the Stealth on the board first on Saturday night and it propelled them to scoring 10 of the game’s first 13 goals including a stretch of nine of 10.