January 22, 2010

Stealth Stay Perfect; Down Bandits

by Brett Bowker | nll.com

The Washington Stealth (3-0) defeated the visiting Buffalo Bandits (0-3) 13-11. The Stealth were led in scoring by forward Cam Sedgwick with four goals and one assist and supported by Jeff Zywicki with one goal and five assists. Buffalo tranisition player Mark Steenhuis gave a strong performance tallying five goals and one assist.

Buffalo defenseman Ian Llord opened up scoring, after picking off a Stealth pass and scoring on a breakaway 30 seconds into the game. Buffalo hit the floor with some fire, catching the Stealth out of sync as the Bandit defense created numerous turnover problems.

Washington forward Rhys Duch got some momentum going. He got a feed from forward Tom Johnson, then found an open lane where he dodged through his defender and went airborne. He shot a bouncer right past Bandit goalkeeper Ken Montour, just before tip-toeing the crease.

"Lacrosse is a game of momentum swings," said Sedgwick, who broke two ties during the game. The Stealth's past three games had three different top point scorers.

"We have four, five six different guys who put the ball in every night," said Sedgewick, who was named the game MVP.

As the second quarter progressed, the game became more physical and cheap shots mounted. Buffalo forward Brandon Francis received a game misconduct penalty after instigating a fight and was ejected shortly after.

With five minutes left in the half, the Bandits replaced goalkeeper Ken Montour with back up Angus Goodleaf and the Stealth led by one goal, 7-6, over the Bandits at halftime. Bandits forward Mark Steenhuis got his fourth goal to open up the second half and the two teams were deadlocked until the middle of the third quarter, when the Stealth started a scoring spree.

"To be honest, Steenhuis owned me on the crease tonight, but we kept him outside and had success," said Stealth goalkeeper Tyler Richards.

The thorn for the Bandits was their face-off performance. The Stealth's second-year transition player Jamison Koesterer dominated the circle, winning 25 out of 27 face-offs.

"Koesterer was fantastic, when Francis went out. He dominated. He had a superb game," said Stealth Head Coach Chris Hall.

Washington (3-0) will finish off its double header weekend by visiting the Calgary Roughnecks (1-1) for its first away game at 9:30pm ET Saturday. The last time these two teams met was in the 2009 playoffs, when the Roughnecks dismantled the Stealth 17-5.

"We had a pretty tough loss to them in the playoffs and everyone on the team wants to prove we're a contender for the championship," said Richards.

The Buffalo Bandits, still winless, will head to Edmonton to face the Rush (1-1) for its home opener in Rexell Place tonight at 9pm ET.

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