In what was one of the matchups of the year in the NLL, the Washington Stealth faced off vs the Edmonton Rush in a game to determine the best of the west. Washington was coming off a first round blowout of Minnesota, and Edmonton a win over Calgary. Edmonton and Washington had fought all season for the #1 spot in the west, and while Washington ended up there Edmonton fell to third. But positioning did not matter in this game, as they were two of the best in the NLL, facing off for a berth in the Champions Cup.
Washington started the game off on a high note, with Paul Rabil scoring 3:39 into the game, followed by goals from Jeff Zywicki and two from Luke Wiles. Washington was able to hold a 4-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Cam Sedgewick and Rabil scored quickly into the second quarter, giving them a strong 6-1 advantage over the Rush. But Edmonton would not go away, scoring three unanswered goals in the second to cut the lead for Washington with 1:46 left. Rhys Duch of Washington was able to give the Stealth a bit more breathing room with his late period goal.
The Rush were motivated going into the third, scoring two straight goals to open the new half. But once again the Stealth had an answer, with Zywicki opening up the score to 8-6. Duch scored again seconds later, to make the score 9-6 going into the pivotal fourth quarter.
The Rush had beaten the Stealth twice in their three matchups this season, their two wins one goal wins. The Stealth knew the Rush had the ability to come back late in games. The Rush and Stealth traded goals to start the period, with Luke Wiles scoring his third of the night. Brodie Merrill was able to make the score 11-9 with 3:39 left in the quarter. The Rush pulled their goaltender Matt Disher for the final two minutes, and 55 seconds in Corey Small scored to make the score 11-10. With 20 seconds left Andy Secore tied the score at 11, and the final buzzer sounded with a tie. “I thought we were a little unlucky in the last four minutes,” said Stealth Head Coach Chris Hall. “We talked at halftime about it getting scrappy and intense down the stretch. We managed to stay poised and battle through it.”
Overtime lasted a mere eight seconds, as the Rush watched their hope melt away at the stick of Paul Rabil. Jamison Koesterer won a big faceoff for Washington, which trickled to Rabil who scored past Disher for the Washington win, and a chance to compete in the Champions Cup.
The Lacrosse Blog