March 22, 2009
Mark Steenhuis' effortless dominance, Dan Dawson's dunk in the hot tub, the return of Gary Gait highlighted a 27-21 East win in the NLL All-Star Game at the Pepsi Center. © Michael Martin
Mark Steenhuis' effortless dominance, Dan Dawson's dunk in the hot tub, the return of Gary Gait highlighted a 27-21 East win in the NLL All-Star Game at the Pepsi Center. © Michael Martin

Stealth Makes Coaching Change, Beats Rush

from press releases

The San Jose Stealth have announced a change on the bench for the remainder of the 2009 National Lacrosse League season. Chris Hall, who has served as the offensive coordinator for the club this season, will take over as the team's Head Coach. Jeff Dowling will swap positions with Hall, and stay with the team as the offensive coordinator.

The change comes after a slow start for the Stealth, who are 3-7 this season and in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Most recently, the Stealth suffered a 14-11 loss at home to West Division rival Colorado Mammoth on March 14.

Hall is no stranger to being a Head Coach in the NLL; he led the Calgary Roughnecks to a Champion's Cup in 2004. He spent six seasons with the Roughnecks (2001-2007) and never experienced a losing season in that span. 

He first delved into coaching with the Victoria Shamrocks, the most recognized box lacrosse team in Western Canada. After assisting the Shamrocks as a coach, he became the Head Coach in 1983 and led Victoria to a Mann Cup title while being named Rookie Coach of the Year. He was the Head Coach for seven seasons, and won the Western Lacrosse Association's Coach of the Year honor in 1986.

In the field lacrosse game, Hall served as the Head Coach and General Manager for the Canada National team from 1988 through 1994. He was also the Head Coach and General Manager of the Victoria Seasprays for a decade (1980-1990).

"We are very happy that Chris has accepted this new role," said Stealth President and General Manager Johnny Mouradian. "We have underachieved so far this season and look forward to turning around the last part of the season and making a push for the playoffs." 

Hall takes the reigns just two days after the NLL Trade Deadline, when the Stealth made a number of roster moves. Hall will have a few new faces on defense for the final six games. Defenseman Shaydon Santos came out of retirement to join his former club, and in his 12th NLL season, will provide leadership out of the back door. Andrew Biers was acquired in a trade with the Edmonton Rush and Steve Holmes was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list. 

The Stealth took the floor Saturday to host the Edmonton Rush at HP Pavilion and won, 11-10.

Colin Doyle scored the game-winning goal in the final minute of regulation, and Matt Roik stopped every Edmonton shot in the fourth quarter to give the Stealth a win that gets them back into the playoff race. 

It was a critical game for both clubs, who each entered the contest with a 3-7 record and on the outside looking in of the West Division playoffs.

With the score tied 5-5 in the second quarter, Edmonton got consecutive goals from Callum Crawford, Mike Hominuck and Ryan Benesch to take an 8-5 lead into halftime. In the third quarter, Hominuck and Dan Teat scored for Edmonton, who took a 10-8 lead into the fourth quarter. 

A Cam Sedgwick goal four minutes into the fourth quarter pulled San Jose to within one at 10-9. Midway through the quarter, Paul Rabil scored his second goal of the game to tie the score at 10-10. Rabil wasn't finished though. With the scored tied and in the final minute of regulation, Rabil threw a beautiful behind the back pass to Colin Doyle who shot it past Brandon Atherton to give San Jose an 11-10 lead, its first lead of the game since early in the first quarter. Stealth goaltender Matt Roik made several key saves down the stretch, and San Jose picked up an important win, improving to 4-7. Following Sunday's game between Colorado and Minnesota, the Stealth will be only one game behind the team in the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division.

Jeff Zywicki led all scorers with three goals. It was a game highlighted by defense and goaltending, and very few penalties. Roik made 38 saves for San Jose, including all eight shots faced in the fourth quarter. Atherton was equally up to the task in the Edmonton net, stopping 38 out of 49 shots faced.   

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