Saturday, June 4, 2011

Stealing From InLax: Washington Stealth Season Recap


Stolen from the desk of Marisa Ingemi
Since moving from California to Washington,. the Stealth have seen their share of success. After defeating the Toronto Rock in the Champions Cup last season, they found themselves in the position to repeat.
Instead, they fell to the Rock in the championship. But to call this season a disappointment would be hard. They did finish at 8-8 after a championship, but turned it on late to find themselves back in the Cup.
Lewis Ratcliff and Rhys Duch saw themselves as legit MVP candidates and Tyler Richards may have been the best goalie in the playoffs.
Let's recap their season and look to the future.
Star-divide
The Stats
Lewis Ratcliff finished second in the league in scoring, behind only the Swarm's Ryan Benesch, and Duch found himself two points behind Ratcliff. Despite their great offensive production, they finished second worst in the league in goals against. Now, this has to do with how awful Matt Roik was to start the season, but that stat should still be a concern.
The Stealth finished with the best power play in the league at 49%, 4% more than the second place Calgary Roughnecks. And this was an offense that was without Jeff Zywicki for most of the season.
Pros
Well, they went to the Cup and most of their players should be back. That has to be a pro. Zywicki should come back healthy and Paul Rabil is just growing as a player in the indoor game. Ratcliff and Duch had MVP years, so the offense seems all good for the future.
Tyler Richards also got better in net as the season went on, so that is a good sign as well.
Cons
The goaltending and defense could be an issue. Richards did improved but the 198 GA is a problem. Like I said though, most of those goals came from Matt Roik early on. There is an interesting rumor around of Matt Roik begin traded. He might not like playing second fiddle in Washington, so if that is the case the Stealth will need a solid backup goaltender. Maybe a guy like Brandon Atherton.

Now on to the future of the Stealth. It looks bright with a young and solid nucleus. With Ratcliff, Duch and Zywicki leading the way and Rabil soon to enter that mix, the Stealth could very well become the next NLL dynasty. If their defense and goaltending is improved they can dominate the west next season.

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