The Arizona Sting opened the 2003-2004 NLL season by defeating the Vancouver Ravens 16-12, in front of 12,789 on hand at the new Glendale Arena on Friday. Forward Pat Maddalena led Arizona with five points (4G, 1A), including the Sting's first-ever goal in team history just 49 seconds into the contest.
The game was part of the Grand Opening Weekend festivities of the Arena, which will also serve as home of the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League. Sting managing partner and NHL legend Wayne Gretzky was on hand to take part in the ceremonial face off prior to the game.
The teams traded goals throughout the first half of play with neither team leading by more than one goal and Arizona clinging to a narrow 8-7 halftime lead.
In the third quarter Sting forward Kasey Beirnes ended a seven minute scoring drought when he notched his third goal of the game, giving the Sting a 9-7 lead, their largest of the game. Maddalena added another one just 40 seconds later to make it 10-7. The game's last score would come on an empty-net goal by Sting defenseman Bill Greer at 12:25 of the fourth quarter.
'Tonight was a total team effort by all of the players on the team,' said Sting Head Coach Bob Hamley. 'The guys played well, the fans were enthusiastic and it was a great way to start our future here.'
Following Maddalena in the Sting scoring was Beirnes with five points (4G, 1A) of his own, including the game-winner at 14:12 of the third quarter. Forwards Gewas Schindler, Dan Dawson and Cory Bomberry all notched two goals each en route to the victory.
Vancouver was led by the efforts of forward Dan Stroup with three goals. In addition both forwards Chris Prat and Peter Morgan who made a solid return from injury last season, each notched two goals, while the Ravens first round draft selection Craig Conn made his pro lacrosse debut, scoring four points (3G, 1A) in the loss.
Sting net minder Mike Miron (49 saves) collected the win in goal for Arizona, who improves to 1-0 on the season while across the turf Ravens goaltender Dwight Maetche (29) suffered the loss for Vancouver, who falls to 0-1.