Stealth wins lacrosse debut in Everett
Jeff Zywicki just missed a "sock trick" with five goals, and the Washington Stealth won its National Lacrosse League opener in Everett, beating the Colorado Mammoth 17-8.
Special to The Seattle Times
Washington StealthThe league: The National Lacrosse League is an indoor league that consists of 11 teams.
The season: Teams play 16 games, from January to April, with the postseason in May.
Tickets: $13 to $42, available at 1-877-MY-75-TIX or www.stealthlax.com.
EVERETT — It started off like a coronation with 4,736 in attendance at Comcast Arena and ended with a royal beating and free pizza for everyone.
Could things get any better for the Washington Stealth?
The Stealth won its first National Lacrosse League game in Everett Saturday night, rolling over the Colorado Mammoth 17-8.
The Stealth will reward their fans with a free slice of Brooklyn Brothers pizza each time they score 15 goals in a game, so few fans went home hungry after the opener.
Jeff Zywicki had four goals in the first half and finished with five, in addition to three assists for the Stealth. He was one short of a six-goal sock trick, which would have triggered a tradition in which fans take off a sock and throw it on the field.
"For me, if I can get a couple of goals early it just builds my confidence and I play a lot better," Zywicki said. "Getting those couple early and getting the crowd into it was huge for us and we kind of rode that the whole way."
Zywicki, who had 32 goals and 46 assists to rank 14th in the league in scoring last season, scored the first goal only 1:31 into the game and added another late in the first period to help the Stealth to a 3-0 lead.
The Stealth made it 6-3 at halftime. Zywicki added his fifth goal in the third period, and narrowly missed on another couple of scoring opportunities late in the game.
Tyler Richards was stellar in goal for Washington, making 45 saves.
"Richards was on fire, he was a walnut in there," Zywicki said.
Colorado starting goaltender Curtis Palidwor was injured in the second period with the Stealth up 4-2 when a ball went through his mask and cut his eye. He was taken to a hospital for examination. The Stealth poured in 13 scores against backup Andrew Leyshon.
Zywicki, who once scored seven goals in a game, said the freak injury made a big difference.
"When a goaltender goes out it really puts a lot of pressure on their backup," Zywicki said. "He was coming in cold, so it was like chasing a goalie by scoring a lot of goals. We went right after him."
The evening began with the Stealth finding a place to hang its 2008 West Division regular-season championship banner, won in San Jose. And Rhys Duch received the league award for being the top rookie last year.
"The crowd was great," Zywicki said. "It was loud and they were into it. It looked and sounded full. You could really hear those cowbells, that's for sure."
The game, a hybrid of hockey and basketball, also featured three brutal fights, which are like bare-knuckle brawls once all the equipment is stripped off.
The Stealth hosts Edmonton Friday.
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