When the Washington Stealth and Calgary Roughnecks take to the turf to open the Western Conference Finals, it won’t be first time these two have battled it out.
Chris Hall, head coach of the Washington Stealth, has won a championship with both teams. Most recently he won in 2010 with the Stealth and lost in 2011 to the Toronto Rock. But in 2004, he was the head coach when the Roughnecks raised the Champions Cup.
Last week the Stealth came back from down 6-0 and 7-1 to the Edmonton Rush to win on home turf. Meanwhile, the Roughnecks used short handed and power play goals to defeat the Colorado Mammoth at all areas of the game. Now the top two teams in the west will fight for the right to play in the championship.
Calgary hasn’t been in a championship game since 2009. The Stealth faced Toronto in 2010 and 2011 while it was the Rush and Rochester Knighthawks last season. Calgary, despite this, had the top seed in the west the past two seasons.
Washington has the season series against the Roughnecks this season at a 2-1 clip. Rhys Duch has 17 points against the Roughnecks this season as well, something the Riggers should be wary of. He also has four goals in all of his last three games, making him more dangerous of late.
Last game Lewis Ratcliff only shot twice in the game, pretty surprising for a player known for shooting whenever possible. If the Stealth want to win they need to rely on their best goal scorer, and that’s Ratcliff.
Dane Dobbie has a knee injury and was playing at about 30% last week and had little impact. This helps the Stealth who don’t have to close in on one of their many, many scoring weapons. Calgary has the best power play in the league but without Dobbie, that goes down quite a bit.
This season in wins by Calgary and Washington they each had a two goal win and the Stealth had an extra one goal win, showing you how close these teams are.
This game should be close, as history tells us, but there are so many variables in this game to watch.