The New England Black Wolves had their share of early season struggles last year but never did they give up 24 goals and they never lost by double digits. Just two games into the new season and Glenn Clark is left explaining a 24-11 loss at the hands of the West Division’s defending champion, Saskatchewan Rush.
“It was not what we expected,” Clark admitted. “There were so many things going on at once. It was a stinker and we laid an egg. Balls were going in, every breakdown ended in the back of our net and it snowballed from there. You’ll have games like that, just not typically that bad.”
Only once last year did New England give up more than 20 goals. That was on April 7th at home against the high powered, Georgia offense. The set back, and let down from that defeat left the Black Wolves limping into the postseason losing four of their last six games.
There is no reason to expect the same fallout from this new look Black Wolves team.
With many new faces on the defensive end for New England, an early season breakdown was not necessarily expected but it was certainly a possibility. There is no excuse for giving up 24 goals to a team but a team with this much of a defensive makeover will need some time to gel and learn how to play with each other.
“Whether you win or lose, you learn from both, sometimes more from losses and then you move on and you focus on what’s in front of you,” said Clark. “That’s what we’re doing. It was ugly, it was a stinker. There are things you can take from it.”
New England was also missing three key players from their lineup in Saskatchewan. Kyle Buchanan (1G, 1A), Seth Oakes (2G), and Adam Bomberry all played big roles in the Black Wolves opening night win over Georgia but missed the loss. Two new additions, Stephan Leblanc (1G, 3A) and JP Kealey (1G, 2A) made contributions in their Black Wolves debut against the Rush.
With all that said and how bad it looked on the scoreboard on Saturday night, it was still only game two of an 18 game season. The Black Wolves are still only one game out of first place in the National Lacrosse League’s East Division. And New England now welcomes a winless Vancouver Stealth to Mohegan Sun Arena looking to head into 2018 with a 2-1 record, a major turnaround from where they started 2017, at 0-3.
“You sort of chunk your season into segments and we had a three game segment to start that we were looking at. We thought if we could go 2-1 through our first three game segment we’d be happy. So we still have the opportunity to do that regardless of how bad last week was. That’s kind of where our head space is going to be moving forward.”
Clark and the Black Wolves close out their first three game segment on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena. Game time is at 7:30pm. New England will then enjoy two weeks off before traveling to the East leading, Rochester Knighthawks on January 13, 2018.