January 9, 2010

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NLL: Stealth Pounds Mammoth in Everett Debut

Week 1 Coverage

* Scoreboard
* Titans Top Wings in Orlando Debut
* Rock Scorches Blazers in Season Opener
* Grant, Gait Dazzle in Dream Team Debut for Knighthawks
* Stealth Pulls Mammoth in Everett Debut

from press releases

EVERETT, WASH. -- It was a game that will be remembered for many years for the Washington Stealth and their fans. Over 4,700 fans rocked the Comcast Arena at Everett to propel Washington to a 17-8 victory over heated West Division rival Colorado in the first-ever regular season lacrosse game in the state of Washington.

Jeff Zywicki earned MVP honors in the game as he got the Stealth off to a fast start with four goals in the first half. Zywicki scored the first goal just 1:31 into the game and Paul Rabil scored shorthanded later in the first and the Stealth never looked back.  The Stealth held a 3-0 lead at the end of the first and held a 6-3 advantage at halftime.

The second half was much of the same for the Stealth, as they outscored the Mammoth 11-5 in the final two quarters. 2009 All-Rookie Team goaltender Tyler Richards got the start in goal and stymied the Colorado offense all evening. He finished with 45 saves on 53 shots. 

Ten Stealth players scored goals, led by Zywicki, who finished with five. He also dished out three assists to lead all scorers with eight points.

Stealth defenseman Eric Martin recorded six points on a goal and five assists. He also grabbed 11 loose balls. 2009 Rookie of the Year Rhys Duch, who was presented with the award prior to the game, also finished with a goal and five assists. Rabil finished the night with two goals and three assists. Cam Sedgwick added five assists. Mike Grimes pitched in with a goal and three assists, along with a game-high 12 loose balls.

For the Mammoth, Jamie Shewchuck had four goals and an assist. Standout rookie Ilija Gajic finished with two goals and an assist. Starting goaltender Curtis Palidwor made 15 saves on 20 shots before leaving the game due to injury in the loss.

One of the big stories in the game however, was the crowd on hand.  The energy level was high for 60 minutes and the players took notice.  “It’s easy to feed of the energy of the crowd when they are that loud throughout the game,” said Martin.  “They definitely have an impact on how we play on the floor.”

The Stealth is hoping for an even bigger turnout for its next game against a much-improved Edmonton Rush squad. They take part in another West Division battle on Friday, Jan. 15 at the Comcast Arena.

*****

DENVER -- The Colorado Mammoth lost 17-8 in the first-ever NLL game at Comcast Arena in Everett, Wash.  The contest, played in front of 4,737 fans, marked the season opener for both teams.

The Stealth opened the scoring early in the first quarter on a Jeff Zywicki goal just 91 seconds into the game to put Washington in front 1-0.  Paul Rabil followed with a short-handed tally midway through period, and that would be nearly all the scoring for the period until Zywicki slid a shot past Mammoth goalie Curtis Palidwor in the closing seconds of the first to make it 3-0 Stealth after one.

Colorado notched its first point, as Cliff Smith assisted on Jamie Shewchuk’s first goal of the season just 17 seconds into the second quarter to cut the Washington lead to 3-1. Mammoth rookie Ilija Gajic drew rope just 30 seconds later and the visiting team was within one at 3-2.

But the talented Stealth forward Zywicki scored back-to-back goals (his third and fourth of the half) to push the lead back to three for the Stealth at 5-2. The teams would swap goals in the remaining minutes of the second period, as Washington took a 6-3 lead into the halftime locker room.

On a night that saw Colorado playing from behind the entire evening, the second half started much like the first -- with three consecutive Stealth goals.  Paul Rabil, Rhys Duch and Eric Martin all tallied scores as Washington stretched its advantage to 9-3 barely three minutes into the third quarter. Things would get worse from there for Colorado.

Although Ilija Gajic and Shewchuk would tally goals in the period for the Mammoth, it was the Stealth’s offense that impressed. With several players getting in on the action and contributing in the scoring column, Washington stretched its lead to 12-5 after three quarters.

With Stealth goaltender Tyler Richards turning in a sparkling performance, his offense didn’t let up late in the contest. Pouring in another five goals in the final frame, Washington continually frustrated Colorado all night.

Despite a five-point night (4g, 1a) from Shewchuk, Colorado would fall by a final score of 17-8.  Ilija Gajic added two goals for the Mammoth, while Brian Langtry and Alex Gajic assisted on two goals each.

Washington was led by Zywicki’s eight-point night (5g, 3a).  Paul Rabil added a pair of goals and three assists.

Colorado’s home opener is Saturday night, as the Mammoth hosts the Edmonton Rush at Pepsi Center. The ball drops at 7 p.m.


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