After trailing for most of the game, the Calgary Roughnecks rallied for seven goals in the fourth quarter to snatch a 13-11 win in Washington against the Stealth.
The victory moves Calgary (8-5) into a tie with the Edmonton Rush for first place in the West Division while Washington (7-6) remains in second place.
After ending the first quarter tied at 3-3, the Stealth scored 30 seconds into the second frame on transition when goalie Tyler Richards hit a streaking Kyle Sorensen with a long pass to free him up for a breakaway.
The teams would continue to exchange goals for the remainder of the second and third periods, but Washington would not relinquish the lead until early in the fourth when the Roughnecks would score two quick goals to tie and take the lead briefly.
The Stealth would answer back with three goals of their own to take a two-goal lead, but that’s when the wheels would fall off.
After providing outstanding goaltending for the Stealth for most of the game, Richards would be hit with a 5-minute major penalty for high sticking mid-way through the fourth. As goalies are required to serve their own major penalties in the NLL, T-Rich took a seat in the penalty box and backup goalie Matt Roik was called into action on the power play.
The Roughnecks would take full advantage of the cold netminder, scoring three times with the man advantage to retake the lead, a lead they would hang on to for the remainder of the game.
At the end of the day, this game was all about the goaltending. Both starting goalies had excellent games, making some big saves at critical times. Richards finished with 31 saves against just eight goals allowed while Calgary’s Mike Poulin stopped 38 shots while giving up 11 goals.
The difference in the game was the five minutes Richards spent in the sin bin. Calgary scored four times on six shots in those five minutes and that was the difference in the game. Had Richards not committed the penalty, the result of the game may very well have been different.
Offensively, Calgary’s Shawn Evans picked up seven points to maintain his league scoring lead while Curtis Dickson had his second straight four-goal game. Washington was paced by Rhys Duch and Lewis Ratcliff, who picked up five points apiece.
These same two teams match up again next weekend in Calgary in their third and final meeting of the season, a game which very well may determine home field advantage in the post season.