The National Lacrosse League has announced Buffalo Bandits forward Dhane Smith as Player of the Month for the third-straight month and Calgary Roughnecks forward Wesley Berg as Rookie of the Month for March of the 2016 NLL season.
Smith continued his league-leading scoring pace with an NLL-best nine points-per-game average for the month with 27 points (15+12) in three games. Smith posted four or more goals and seven-plus points in all three games, including a 12-point (6+6) performance vs. Vancouver, as Buffalo went 3-0 in March and currently sits atop the East Division with an 8-4 record.
The 23-year-old leads the NLL in points (103), ranks tied for first in goals (48), second in assists (55), and first in power play goals (13), while scoring a league-best five game-winning goals in 12 games played. The forward has recorded five or more points in every game, has scored three or more goals in his last 11 games, and has had double-digit points in three of his last seven games. Smith has recovered 74 loose balls, which ranks tied for third among all NLL forwards and tied for 14th in the league overall. With 48 goals on 217 shots, Smith’s .221 shooting percentage ranks ninth among all players with 10 or more goals.
The four-year veteran is presently on pace for 154 points in 2016, which would shatter the NLL single-season points record (130) set last year. From Kitchener, Ont., Smith was Buffalo’s first-round (5th overall) selection in the 2012 NLL Draft and was named to the 2013 NLL All-Rookie Team. Smith has scored over 20 goals in each of his first four seasons and has 313 points (131+182) in 63 career games.
Berg led all NLL rookies in scoring with 20 points (7+13), including three or more points in all five games played, to help Calgary to a 3-2 record for the month. The 22-year-old is tied for first among rookies in points (52), second in goals (19) and assists (33), and first in power play goals (7) and power play assists (13) in 14 games played this season. Berg, who ranks third on the Roughnecks in points, has recovered 66 loose balls, which leads all rookie forwards and is tied for 27th overall in the league. The forward has scored in 11 games and has recorded six multi-goal games, including his last three outings in March, and has registered at least three points in 13 of his 14 games.
From Coquitlam, B.C., Berg played collegiately at the University of Denver where he won a national title in 2015 and was named the tournament’s MVP. The two-time All-American and Tewaaraton Award finalist, who finished as Denver’s all-time leading scorer and scored the second-most goals in NCAA Tournament history (39), was drafted by Calgary in the first round (4th overall) of the 2015 NLL Draft.
The NLL Monthly Player Awards are determined by a vote of the league’s general managers and head coaches.