Stealth, Bandits and Rock post victories in busy NLL Saturday night

Cliff Smith had another big night for Washington with seven points in their 17-13 win over Colorado.
Cliff Smith had another big night for Washington with seven points in their 17-13 win over Colorado.

Four players scored hat tricks to lead the Washington Stealth to a 17-13 win over the Colorado Mammoth last night, moving the only team to miss the playoffs last year to 2-0 on the young season. Perhaps the most surprising stat from the score sheet, though, is that of 17 Stealth goals, sniper Athan Iannucci had exactly zero. He did, however, have five assists. But Washington showed off a balanced scoring approach as Cliff Smith scored four times (along with three assists for a game-high seven points) and Dean Hill, Rhys Duch and Lewis Ratcliff scored three each.

The difference in the game was the third quarter, in which Hill’s natural hat trick set the tone for a 6-0 whitewash. Nick Patterson earned the win for Washington in his first NLL game since being released by Minnesota after being shellacked in last year’s opener. At the other end, neither Chris Levis nor Matt Roik could slow down the Stealth; neither stopped more than 70% of the shots he faced.

Rookie Kyle Buchanan had his second straight big night, scoring once and posting four assists to aid the Stealth cause. Bob Snider won 82% of the game’s faceoffs to give Washington possession after most of the games 30 goals.

John Grant, Jr. had a hat trick and three assists to be the top scorer for Colorado. Mat McLeod, Jamie Lincoln and Adam Jones each scored twice for the Mammoth. Jones added three assists to give him five points on the evening. Gavin Prout also scored five point for Colorado, including one goal and four helpers.

While Iannucci didn’t score any goals directly, he did play the key role in one Stealth marker. After a shot by Duch was turned aside, McLeod grabbed the rebound and circled his own net and cut out through the slot. Iannucci and Ratcliff pressured him and Iannucci whacked McLeod’s stick from below. The ball arced up and over Roik and dropped into the net for an own-goal on the star-struck Roik’s first shift for his new team.

In Buffalo, Dhane Smith fulfilled one of his sweetest dreams from when he was growing up. Smith bounced in his third goal of the night to give the Bandits a 13-12 win over the Minnesota Swarm and send Banditland into a frenzy.

Buffalo rebounded from being hammered by Philadelphia Friday night and giving up the first three goals to Minny last night to even their record at 1-1. Chad Culp also had a hat trick for the Bandits. John Tavares produced a five-point night with a goal and four helpers and Mark Steenhuis scored a pair of goals. For the second straight night, Kurtis Wagar replaced an ineffective Anthony Cosmo but this time the Bandits fought back to get him the win.

Ryan Benesch led the Swarm with three goals and three assists. Fourth-overall pick Shayne Jackson had a huge night in his NLL debut, scoring three times and adding an assist. Callum Crawford put up a five-point night with two goals and three helpers. Evan Kirk made 45 saves for the Swarm but Buffalo poured 58 shots at him and got just enough by to hand him the loss.

Kasey Beirnes‘ hat trick and Colin Doyle’s five-assist night helped the Toronto Rock open their season with a 13-11 road win in Calgary. Stephan Leblanc and Josh Sanderson each chipped in with a pair of goals for Toronto and Nick Rose stopped 45 of the 56 shots he faced (.804 save percentage).

Shawn Evans was the Roughnecks leader with three goals and two assists. Curtis Dickson (2,3) and Daryl Veltman (1,4) each had five-point nights for Calgary as well.

NLL.com games stories and game sheets
Washington 17, Colorado 13
Game sheet

Buffalo 13, Minnesota 12
Game sheet

Toronto 13, Calgary 11
Game sheet

Stamp is a TV sports announcer and lacrosse lover whose skill set made him a defender but who always dreamed of being a goal-scorer. He can be reached at stamplax@hotmail.com.

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