Stealth sign Richards for 2013 season

With one of the league’s top goaltenders already on the roster, the Washington Stealth moved to keep him there Thursday, agreeing to a one-year contract with Tyler Richards, pending approval by the National Lacrosse League.

Richards is entering his fifth NLL season since being selected by the Stealth in the 2008 entry draft.

The 26-year-old Richards, a native of Vancouver, B.C., played a career-high 723 minutes in 13 games last season. He posted a 12.70 goals against average and .771 save percentage.

“It’s rare that you see a goaltender establish himself among the league’s elite at such a young age,” Stealth general manager Doug Locker said in a press release. “But Tyler has done just that and has become the anchor of our defense. He’s mature beyond his years.”

Richards emerged as one of the league’s top goalkeepers in the 2010 postseason, when he led the Stealth to its first NLL title with a 9.90 goals against average and .807 save percentage in three playoff games, including a 50-save performance in the NLL title game. He helped the Stealth back to the 2011 NLL championship game with a 7.71 goals against average and .854 save percentage.

The Stealth open their 2013 NLL season Jan. 5 against Rochester at Comcast Arena.

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