On Saturday night the Washington Stealth faced off against a hungry Buffalo Bandits team who were desperate to get a win in order to secure a playoff berth. The Stealth with a win would lock up home floor playoff advantage.
The Stealth struck early on the power play as Dean Hill scored just 51 seconds into the game giving the Stealth the early 1-0 lead. the Bandits were not deterred though as Aaron Wilson responded to tie the game 1-1. The first five minutes of the game continued to be a flurry of offense as Lewis Ratcliff scored to make it 2-1 for the Stealth but their lead was short lived as Shawn Williams scored for Bufaalo tying the game at 2-2. Once again though this game would not remain tied as Bob Snider scored to give the Stealth a 3-2 lead. All this in just the first six minutes of the game. The pace would settle down as the two teams continued to battle until midway in the quarter when Dhane Smith scored to tie the game at 3-3 which would be how the first quarter would end. Buffalo would take control of this game in the second though as they outscored the Stealth 4-1 in the second quarter and opened up a 7-4 lead at the half.
In the third quarter the Stealth would answer back as Dean Hill and Curtis Hodgson scored to bring the game within one as the score was now 7-6. Buffalo would show their determination though as they would not allow the Stealth to crawl back in this game as they put their foot on the gas pedal and outscored the Stealth eight to four in the final frame making the final score 15-10 for the Bandits.
The Bandits picked up an important two points with the win. Buffalo was led by the strong play of Aaron Wilson and Mark Steenhuis. Wilson had four goals and two assists for six points while Steenhuis had two goals and five assists for seven points. The Stealth’s Rhys Duch moved into first in NLL Goals scored with 41 after notching his 10th hat trick of the year and third game with four or more goals.
The Stealth will finish up their season next weekend at home against the Philadelphia Wings. While Buffalo will be hoping for a Wings loss and will try to pick up a win in their final game on Saturday against the Rochester KnightHawks.