Wings Edged at Buffalo; Other Saturday Night NLL Results

Captain Andrew Suitor's presence was felt early and often in his 2013 debut, muscling his way past the Stealth defense, falling to the ground, and scoring his first goal of the season with 4:04 remaining in the first quarter. At the start of the fourth period, however, the Orangeville, Ontario native left the 8,782 fans in attendance silent as he fell to the ground clutching his right knee. Suitor was carried off of the field by teammates F Ryan Benesch and D Jeff Gilbert.

With 9:30 remaining in the game, the Swarm captain ran back onto the field wearing a knee brace to a chorus of cheers. Less than two minutes later, Xcel Energy Center erupted as Suitor plucked a cross-field pass out of the air and scored on a one-on-one opportunity to give Minnesota a 15-12 advantage. The third-year Swarm defender finished with three points (2g, 1a) and five loose balls.

Rookie Kiel Matisz carried momentum over from his five-point performance last night, garnering a hat trick for the second straight game (3g, 2a). Fellow Rookie Shayne Jackson posted a hat trick as well (3g, 3a) and has now scored at least three goals in two out of three 2013 games.

After the contest Matisz described what it was like to get his first win as an NLL player and the impact that Suitor made on the floor. "It was awesome to get our first win in front of the hometown crowd. It's called The Hive for a reason and they were sure buzzing tonight," said Matisz. "It was great to get Suitor back out there, he's a really big spark plug and kept the bench upbeat."

Leading the Swarm in scoring were seasoned veterans Callum Crawford and Ryan Benesch. Crawford finished with seven points (1g, 6a) and Benesch scored three goals to go along with four assists.

Crawford's power play goal came with 58.5 seconds remaining in the third quarter, moments after Stealth D Kyle Sorensen was sent to the penalty box for holding against his younger brother, Swarm Rookie Brock Sorensen.

After the game, Swarm Assistant Coach Bobby Keast addressed the strong play from the team's forwards. "Those guys work hard together in shoot-around and practices," said Keast. "Right now the offense is clicking so they're going to continue to work hard and spread the ball around."

Swarm Goaltender Evan Kirk (1-1) finished the game with 44 saves on a .759 save percentage. Stealth Goaltender Tyler Richards (2-1) had 37 saves on a .712 save percentage.

Forwards Rhys Duch and Lewis Ratcliff each scored eight points for the Stealth.

"I think we played a full 60 minutes tonight," said Keast. "The last two games we found a way to lose, but tonight we found a way to win."

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ST. PAUL, Minn. The Washington Stealth dropped the trailer of it's two-game weekend road swing after battling back in the final minutes to within a goal of Minnesota, but were unable to convert the tying goal, falling to the Swarm 15-14, Saturday at Xcel Energy Center before 8,782 in St. Paul, Minn.

After struggling early, the game came down to a final possession for the Stealth after forward Athan Iannucci's goal at 41 seconds brought Washington to within a goal of the tie.

A re-draw on the ensuing face-off gave Washington possession of the ball, but the Stealth were unable to get the ball to the shooter in the final seconds, ending the rally and giving Minnesota its first NLL win of the season.

"They buried us early and it was too far to come back," said Stealth Coach Chris Hall whose squad took 74 shots 58 on goal, only converting 14 for scores.

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2013-01-27



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