The National Lacrosse League has announced three finalists for the 2016 NLL Goaltender of the Year award. The New England Black Wolves’ Evan Kirk, Toronto Rock’s Nick Rose and Colorado Mammoth’s Dillon Ward are all first-time finalists after being voted as the top trio of netminders in the league this year.
Kirk led the league with a career-high 620 saves, ranked second in the NLL in save percentage (.789) and wins (9), third in minutes played (844:58) and seventh in goals against average (11.79). The fifth-year pro had three assists and 10 loose balls and helped the Black Wolves clinch a playoff spot with a 10-8 record while allowing the most shots per game (55.61) and third-fewest goals per game (11.78). The 28-year-old from Orangeville, Ont., who played collegiately at Hobart University, was drafted in the first round (6th overall) of the 2011 NLL Draft and was a member of the 2012 NLL All-Rookie Team.
Rose ranked third in the league in goals against average (11.10), tied for third in save percentage (.783), tied for sixth in wins (5), sixth in minutes played (719:13), and seventh in saves (480). The nine-year NLL veteran scored a goal and added five assists and 13 loose balls, won five of eight games for the Rock during a midseason stretch and helped Toronto to the fourth-best penalty kill in the league (48%). The 28-year-old from Orangeville, Ont. was drafted in the third round (28th overall) of the 2008 NLL Draft.
Ward finished first in the NLL with a career-high .800 save percentage, second with a career-best 10.33 goals against average, fourth in wins (7), and fifth in both saves (511) and minutes played (743:20). The third-year pro won five of his first six games this season and helped the Mammoth to a 12-6 record and playoff spot as Colorado allowed the fourth-most shots per game (52.56) but yielded the second-fewest goals per game (11.22). The 25-year-old from Orangeville, Ont., who played collegiately at Bellarmine University, was the third overall pick in the 2013 NLL Draft, the highest selection for a goalie in the league since 1999, and won NLL All-Rookie Team honors in 2014.
The 2016 NLL Season Awards are determined by a vote of the league’s Board of Governors, General Managers and Head Coaches at the end of the regular season. The winners will be announced at the NLL Season Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 27 in Toronto, Ont.
Schedule of finalist announcement for the remaining NLL Season Awards:
Thursday, June 23: Transition Player of the Year award finalists
Monday, June 27: Head Coach of the Year (The Les Bartley Award) finalists
Tuesday, June 28: General Manager of the Year award finalists
Wednesday, June 29: Rookie of the Year award finalists
Thursday, June 30: Most Valuable Player award finalists
Tuesday, July 5: Teammate of the Year award finalists
Wednesday, July 6: Air Canada Wingman of the Year award finalists
Thursday, July 7: Executive of the Year award finalists
Monday, July 11: Media Person of the Year (The Tom Borrelli Award) winner
Tuesday, September 27: 2016 NLL Season Awards Ceremony