The New England Black Wolves and Toronto Rock come in to Sunday afternoon’s matinee with similar, but different mindsets. The Black Wolves have played two games since the Rock last played one and Toronto has not lost in nearly two months since they dropped a one goal game at home to Georgia on December 28th.
New England split a home-and-home last weekend with Philadelphia and put together one of, if not their best game of the season on Sunday at Mohegan Sun Arena. After dropping Saturday’s game in Philadelphia 14-10, the Black Wolves came back home and handled the Wings convincingly 17-11.
In the game, New England received goals from three or more defenders for the fifth time this season, each of which resulted in a Black Wolves win. The Black Wolves also saw ten players pick up points and four players score six or more points. New England also held the Philadelphia offense in check by keeping all Wings players under the two goal mark.
Callum Crawford continued to hold a hot stick as he scored a career-high 12 points against the Wings including five goals and seven assists. Also setting career highs for New England were David Brock with three assists and four points, and Tyler Digby with eight points. Setting season highs with their Sunday performance were a number of Black Wolves. Among those, Stephan Leblanc recorded a season-high four goals and Reilly O’Connor matched his season high with six points. Brett Manney and Greg Downing also picked up their first goas of the season in the win over Philadelphia.
The Black Wolves’ 17 goals tied their second highest output in franchise history, a number they have now matched four times. Their highest goal total since moving to New England is 21, which happened on April 22, 2016 at home against Georgia.
With Buffalo’s win in Rochester on Friday night, New England now sits three games back in 4th place while Toronto is only a half-game behind the Bandits in 2nd place. The Bandits do not play again for two weeks and after Sunday’s game the Rock are in the same boat so the Black Wolves can pick up some major ground with a win on Sunday and another next week when they match up at home with the Colorado Mammoth.
In welcoming Toronto to Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday, New England will see three familiar faces as Jay Thorimbert, Johnny Powless, and Sheldon Burns hit the opposite side of the floor to face the Black Wolves.
Toronto is a team with a league-best 89 goals against so their offense may not be as lethal as many of the high powered threats that New England has faced recently, but they do have some players to watch. Leading the way in points is Tom Schreiber (16G, 31A) while Rob Hellyer and Adam Jones top the Rock lineup with 18 goals. Also of note, Kieran McArdle needs only two points to reach 100 in his National Lacrosse League career.
Sunday’s face-off between the Black Wolves and Rock is set for 1 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena.