The National Lacrosse League officially began its pre-season play this past weekend in Toronto at the historic Maple Leaf Gardens. The building, which hosted two world championships during the 98-99 and 99-00 seasons, played host to a number of close NLL games this weekend.
The pre-season, which will last right up until the start of the NLL season on November 16, 2001 with Albany hosting New Jersey, will allow different teams to compete against one and other and help coaches in selecting their final 23-man roster.
In the early game of the day on Saturday it was Chris Konopliff six goals and three assists that helped lift the Ottawa Rebel to an 18-12 victory over the expansion Montreal Express. Todd Richard recorded four goals and two assists for the Express.
In the second game of the day, the expansion New Jersey Storm showed that they are for real this season falling just one goal shy of defeating the perennial power house Toronto Rock by the score of 11-10. For the Rock it was Mike Murray and his four goals, including the game winner in the final minute of play, that helped clinch the victory for his team.
In other weekend action it was the same Express team defeating the Albany Attack by the score of 13-11 on Friday evening. In addition the Storm bounced back to defeat the Rock by the score of 10-9 on Sunday afternoon.