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Washington bounces back with much-needed win

03/25/2012, 7:23pm EDT
By Ben Tole for NLL.com

Stealth move back into fourth in West after beating Minnesota 20-13

Brett Bucktooth needed just 20 seconds to open up the scoring and the Washington Stealth never looked back, tallying four unanswered goals in the first six minutes on their way to a 20-13 win over the Minnesota Swarm on Sunday.

Washington (4-9), which lost 10-9 in Edmonton on Saturday, moved past the Rush in fourth place in the West Division. The Stealth’s win also kept Philadelphia and Calgary from clinching playoff berths.

“We missed out on a big opportunity (Saturday) night in Edmonton,” said Stealth forward Rhys Duch. “We’re battling them for a playoff spot and we let one slip away and it was more our play then it was theirs and it cost us the game.”

Washington was led by Duch who scored four goals and added six assists. The team also got a career night by assistant captain Kyle Sorensen, who scored his first career hat trick. The Stealth had 12 different goal scorers and seven goals were scored by the defensive unit

“I’ve been waiting a long time to see that,” Washington head coach Chris Hall said. “I knew it was in us somewhere, it took a long time for it to come out but our energy level was twice as much as we’ve seen all season tonight. ”

The 20 goals were a season-high for Washington, and they first time the club has scored that many since Feb. 18, 2011, against Colorado.

“Coach gave us a little boot in the butt to say the least,” said Sorensen. “So we had a little bit of a chip on our shoulder and we knew this was desperate times and that we needed a win”

Andrew Suitor had a hat trick for Minnesota (5-5), which dropped the final two games of its season-high four-game road trip.

The Swarm struggled offensively to start the game scoring only once in the first quarter and three times in the second quarter to trail by five at the break.

Washington pulled away in the third quarter by outscoring Minnesota 6-3. Duch scored twice as did Sorenson to complete his first career hat trick. Duch registered his eighth point with an assist on Jeff Zywicki’s power-play goal 2:01 into the fourth quarter.

Minnesota made things interesting down the stretch. The Swarm went on a 5-1 run, powered by back-to-back goals Suitor and trailed 17-12. Bucktooth and Minnesota’s Kevin Ross swapped goals before Duch assisted on power-play goals from Dean Hill and Lewis Ratcliff.

Ratcliff also had six assists and Hill finished with two goals and two assists. Tyler Richards, who lost in Edmonton on Saturday, made 49 saves on 62 shots in the win.

Neither of Minnesota’s rookie goalies fared well. Starter Tyler Carlson stopped 24 of 36 shots while Evan Kirk turned away 18 of 26 shots.

“They got inside on us they got outside and the ball just seemed to find it for them,” said Swarm head coach Joe Sullivan, “Our guys just didn’t work hard enough to get the good shots, it just comes down to them using their experience and creating the good shots and our guys just not working smart enough to get the shots we needed.”

The Swarm are still in good shape in the NLL playoff picture as they remain in third position in the West Division with six games remaining.

The Stealth will need a strong finish to their season as they hold on to the last playoff spot by half a game over the Rush who have one game in hand over the Stealth.


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