Last season, the Albany FireWolves were statistically the worst team in the NLL, finishing with a 3-15 record. Three weeks into the 2023-2024 campaign, the franchise has already matched that win total. Albany improved to 3-0 after an impressive 15-10 victory overthe Philadelphia Wings. Rookie sensation Alex Simmons added three goals and five assists to his otherworldly start, with teammate Ethan Walker also posting the very same three-goal, five-assist effort. Three games in, both Simmons and Walker stand at 20 points apiece, leading the charge for the biggest surprise of the young NLL season.
The Wings’ leading men of Joe Resetarits and Mitch Jones played well in the contest, each tallying six points. Albany’s run of scoring 10 out of 11 goals, from the mid-second through mid-fourth quarter, proved too much for a Philadelphia team that had jumped out to a 6-4 second quarter advantage.
A Banner Night In Downtown Buffalo
Tears were flowing and emotions were running high at KeyBank Center as the NLL champion Buffalo Bandits unveiled their 2023 title banner in front of 17,200 adoring Banditland fans. A night that will be remembered for many years to come!
In the action that followed, Buffalo’s biggest stars came to play with Josh Byrne connecting on four goals and Dhane Smith assisting on a whopping seven goals, leading the champs to a 12-9 victory. The Bandits took control of the back-and-forth affair when blasting five unanswered third quarter goals, turning a San Diego 7-5 lead into a 10-7 Buffalo reward.
Curtis Dickson and Wes Berg boasted six and four points respectively, but the now 1-1 Seals came up short against a Bandits squad that evened their record at 1-1.
Manns & Church Light Up The Vegas Strip
Week 3 of the regular season debuted on the legendary Las Vegas Strip with the visiting Saskatchewan Rush completely dismantling the Desert Dogs 17-5 at Michelob ULTRA Arena on Friday night. Zach Manns wasted little time, lighting the lamp 46 seconds into the contest. From that point forward, the Rush were downright dominant. Manns would go on to score four goals, with teammate Robert Church also netting four, all of which occurred in the first half.
Saskatchewan’s stellar night was capped off by Nathaniel Kozevnikov posting a hat trick courtesy of a successful penalty shot. Not to be outdone, Ryan Keenan and Patrick Dodds combined for 16 assists.
One week after their dramatic overtime victory at Panther City, Las Vegas played extremely flat throughout, falling behind 9-2 at half and never even getting within six goals. The Rush closed the game scoring six consecutive times en route to the club’s first win of the season. Both teams return to action in two weeks, now sharing identical 1-2 records.
Jamieson & Staats Take Long Island By Storm
The Halifax Thunderbirds moved to 2-0 courtesy of a 14-6 blowout of the now 0-2 New York Riptide. Cody Jamieson was responsible for four goals and one assist, with Randy Staats placing three goals and three assists into the scoring ledger. Staats’ evening also included reaching the 500-point mark for his career. New York’s Connor Kearnan scored on a slick hidden-ball trick, a mere 24 seconds into the game. Unfortunately for Riptide fans, that would basically be it in terms of keeping the game close, with the home team only scoring three goals in each half, while going completely scoreless in the fourth. Halifax was a whopping 5 for 7 on power play opportunities.
New York’s lone bright spot came in the name of Kiel Matisz, as he joined the Jamieson/Staats hat trick party, scoring three goals of his own. Riptide superstar Jeff Teat’s slow start to the season continued, with the Cornell alum obtaining a lone goal and assist. Two games in, Teat has only found the back of the net on two occasions.
Hat Tricks Galore In Warriors Blowout
The final game of the weekend took place on Canada’s west coast where the hometown Vancouver Warriors easily defeated the Georgia Swarm 15-7. The Warriors were in a hat trick kind of mood with Keegan Bal, Adam Charalambides and Kevin Crowley scoring three goals and four assists each, while Ryan Martel got the crowd on their feet on a highly impressive four occasions. Martel also added five assists for a career night. In victory, the aforementioned quartet of players contributed to an astonishing 29 combined points. As a special bonus, Vancouver’s James Rahe scored his first goal in 1,414 days.
On the Georgia side of the equation, Lyle Thompson and Shayne Jackson each netted two goals, but with other Swarm players not matching that output, the Warriors turned the game into a blowout, scoring seven of the evening’s final eight goals. Both teams leave the night with matching 1-1 records.
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