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Montreal Game Highlights an Historic Weekend of NLL Action

Roughnecks Win a Wild One at Home

Friday night, the Halifax Thunderbirds defeated the Buffalo Bandits 14-12 in Nova Scotia. The winners of four straight were rewarded with a nearly six-hour flight to Calgary for a Sunday matchup with the Roughnecks. The considerably more-rested home team jumped out to leads of 6-2 and 11-5 en route to a comfortable 17-11 victory. Jesse King tallied three goals and six assists, with Tyler Pace notching three scores and three helpers. The Currier brothers had a big night, as Josh posted a hat trick, while younger brother Zach celebrated his first goal of the season.

Sunday marked the first time in more than a month that the Thunderbirds left the field in defeat. Their visit to Alberta included a Ryan Terefenko hidden-ball-trick goal, 28-year-old rookie Aaron Woods scoring two more goals and Ryan Benesch adding two scores of his own to what has been an incredible season. On the chippy side of things, Jake Withers, David Brock and Nonkon Thompson all received 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in the fourth quarter on separate plays, resulting in their respective nights ending earlier than planned. Head coach Mike Accursi experienced a similar fate as he was also ejected from the game.

More than 10,000 fans were on hand for this wild night of NLL craziness.


The NLL’s Triumphant Return To Montréal

On Friday night, the Montréal metropolitan area played host to a regular-season National Lacrosse League game for the first time since 2002, when the Montréal Express concluded their one and only season in Canada’s second-largest city. As part of the League’s very first NLL UnBOXed Series matchup, the New York Riptide and Toronto Rock took the field at Place Bell, the beautiful seven-year-old sports and entertainment venue, located in the nearby suburb of Laval, Quebec. Just shy of 7,000 fans witnessed the Rock come back from an early 4-1 deficit to cruise past the Riptide 16-10. Toronto scored 11 of the final 14 goals, including seven in a row from the 11:50 mark of the second quarter through the 3:53 mark of the fourth.

Mark Matthews contributed four goals and seven assists, while Corey Small added four goals and one assist to the cause. Tom Schreiber assisted on a whopping eight goals, as Toronto took control in the third, leaving New York in the proverbial dust. To the surprise of no one, Jeff Teat led the way for the Long Islanders, fashioning yet another hat trick to his ever-growing list of career achievements, finishing the contest with eight points including five helpers. New York’s defeat snapped a four-game win streak while the victorious Rock extended their record to a league-leading 7-2.


Ryan Benesch Leads Halifax To An Impressive Win

Midway through the second quarter, it appeared that the defending champion Buffalo Bandits were going to walk out of Scotiabank Centre barely having broken a sweat. But, since no lead is ever safe in the NLL, the champs’ 8-2 runaway quickly became a relic of history, as the hometown Halifax Thunderbirds stormed back to a 14-12 come-from-behind conquest. Paced by Ryan Benesch’s five-goal performance, Halifax connected on seven out of eight scores during a stretch of second and third quarter action, turning a potential blowout into a 9-9 tie, which would then set up a thrilling back-and-forth final 15 minutes.

Just as the Thunderbirds grabbed a 12-11 advantage midway through the fourth, Kyle Buchanan tied things at 12 with his third goal of the game. Aaron Woods then scored his second of the evening – the first game winner for the rookie sensation – followed by Benesch securing his fifth and final lamplighter of the game. All of this drama occurred within a 32-second sequence of wild lacrosse. The nearly 8,000 fans were loving every minute of the fun. In victory, Halifax’s Dawson Theede secured three goals and two assists, with Austin Shanks and Clarke Petterson combining for four goals and an eye-popping 14 assists.


Joe Resetarits & Mitch Jones Take Over The Las Vegas Strip

Five days after Super Bowl LVIII took place on one side of Interstate 15, Michelob ULTRA Arena was the setting for another Patrick Mahomes/Travis Kelce-level performance, this one courtesy of the Philadelphia Wings’ dynamic duo Joe Resetarits and Mitch Jones.

Resetarits, the NLL’s all-time leading American-born scorer, posted five goals and one assist, with Jones offering up the pass on eight of Philadelphia’s 10 goals. When the sand settled in the Mojave Desert, the visitors celebrated a hard-fought 10-8 win. The game was even at halftime, with the Wings outscoring the host Desert Dogs 4-2 in what turned out to be a very low-scoring second half. Taite Cattoni delivered the go-ahead goal in the third, setting the stage for Joey Rez to seal the deal with his fifth and final goal of the contest, as the clock showed a little more than six minutes remaining.

The respective goaltenders shined brightly in this one, with Philly’s Zach Higgins stopping 36 shots, and Vegas’ Landon Kells standing down 33 attempts. Close to 8,000 fans entered the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino to get a look at the proceedings.


The FireWolves Are Back On Track

Saturday night, the best story of the NLL season finally encountered some smooth air after dealing with a recent bit of turbulence. The Albany FireWolves’ 13-11 defeat of the Colorado Mammoth snapped a two-game losing skid, propelling Albany to a 7-2 record, a league-best mark they share with the Toronto Rock. Rookie phenom Alex Simmons had another big night, typing four goals and one assist onto his already impressive Rookie of the Year resume. Fellow rookie Tye Kurtz notched three goals and four assists, with Ethan Walker donating three goals and two assists to the effort. The evenly played affair was tied with a little more than five minutes remaining when Marshall Powless found the back of the net and a 12-11 FireWolves lead. Once Ethan Walker cemented his hat trick, less than a minute later, it became clear that the home team was ordained for success.

Eli McLaughlin and Connor Kelly combined for five goals and six assists, but the 2022 NLL champs from Denver could not overcome the Albany exuberance.

The next test for the FireWolves occurs next weekend when the club makes the 290-mile trip west to take on the Buffalo Bandits.