For the New England Black Wolves, a two week layoff came at a very favorable time. The last time Head Coach Glenn Clark’s Black Wolves were on the turf they gave up 21 goals as they dropped an East Division matchup in Toronto. This was the second time this season that New England had given up more than 20 goals in a game (24 at Saskatchewan).
“The Toronto game seems like a long time ago now,” Clark said. “But we obviously want to bounce back and rebound from an effort that we weren’t happy with. These are big games and I think our guys are anxious to erase the bad taste in their mouths from Toronto so they’re excited to get after it.”
Get after it is exactly what the first place Black Wolves need to do. Clark’s group is only a half-game ahead of Toronto and Buffalo and with the Bandits coming to Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday, this would seem like a great opportunity for the Black Wolves. However, coming off a 12 goal loss, seeing Buffalo’s bus pull in might not be a comfortable sight for New England. Buffalo is one of the hottest teams in the National Lacrosse League winning three of their last four contests.
Something that is comfortable for the Black Wolves is being back home at Mohegan Sun Arena. New England is 3-0 so far this season at home where they have outscored opponents 37-29. In contrary, Buffalo struggles on the road, being outscored 56-70 in four games.
On the offensive side, New England is going to continue to rely of Kevin Crowley and Shawn Evans. Crowley has scored in 25 straight games and leads the Black Wolves with 15 goals this season. Evan leads the Black Wolves in assists (24) and points (35). Also stepping up for New England has been recent addition Stephan Leblanc who has scored seven goals and 11 assists in 5 games since being traded from Toronto.
Buffalo has a dangerous offense with five players carrying 25 points or more. Led by Dhane Smith (15G, 32A) and Mitch Jones (15G, 19A), the Bandits do not have only one or two weapons for the Black Wolves defense to worry about. Callum Crawford (12G, 15A) and Jordan Durston (8G, 17A) will also be players to watch while the first overall pick from the 2017 NLL Draft, Josh Byrne (11G, 14A) is having a strong start to his rookie season.
The Black Wolves and Bandits will face off at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena with both teams looking to take the top spot in the NLL’s East Division.