Buffalo wins Game 2 15-13 to clinch Back-to-Back Titles; Byrne is Finals MVP

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Game Recaps

Knighthawks Claim Final Spot in Postseason

Rochester Defies Insurmountable Odds To Make The Playoffs

The Rochester Knighthawks entered the final weekend of the regular season holding a mere three percent chance of advancing to the postseason. Thanks to a win at the Georgia Swarm on Friday, followed by subsequent losses courtesy of the Warriors, Riptide and Rush, Rochester controlled their own destiny entering Sunday’s home matchup versus the Philadelphia Wings. With a sudden quantity of good fortune accompanying them onto the floor, the Knighthawks pummeled the Wings 12-3, earning the eighth seed and a first-round contest with the Toronto Rock.

Connor Fields was downright ridiculous, cultivating seven goals and one assist, including four successive second-quarter scores, during a span of just 2:30. Fields culminates the regular season with a whopping 56 goals, only two behind Jeff Teat for the league lead. The University of Albany alum compounded 15 total points during Rochester’s miracle weekend of whimsy. The Knighthawks entered Friday losers of four straight, but clearly the Buffalo area native declared enough is enough.

Rylan Hartley came to play in net for Rochester, allowing a scant three goals, seven less than his team’s previous best defensive performance of the season. The Knighthawks dominated the shots on goal category, winning that measurement 61-33. Ryan Lanchbury was in a giving mood, dishing out a slick seven assists.

Taylor Jensen kicked off the scoring with his maiden career goal. From that moment on, Rochester was in complete and utter control of the matinee gathering.


Halifax Joins The 10-win Club

The Halifax Thunderbirds capped off a playoff-securing 10-8 regular season with a 14-10 triumph against the highly disappointing Colorado Mammoth, who conclude their schedule proprietors of a 5-12 mark. While the Thunderbirds look ahead to next week’s opening round, the Mammoth will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2010, not counting the years lost due to Covid-19. 10,595 Nova Scotians packed the Scotiabank Centre to cheer on their beloved NLL franchise – the first sellout in Thunderbirds’ history.

The game flipped when Halifax concluded the second quarter with four straight scores, turning a 6-4 advantage into a far more cozy 9-4 cushion. Three consecutive Colorado fourth-stanza goals cut the lead to 12-10, before the Thunderbirds once again separated to claim the four-goal triumph.

Check out this wicked pass and catch from Staats and Jamieson.

Randy Staats tallied three goals and two assists, alongside a two-goal, five-helper push from Clarke Petterson. Eli McLaughlin and Zed Williams ended the Mammoth’s forgettable campaign with a pair of hat tricks, as the legendry organization wraps up 2023-2024 having lost four consecutive games. 


Give My Regards To Broadway

Saturday night, the New York Riptide likely played their last-ever game on Long Island, with the club relocating to Ottawa for the 2024-2025 season. The potential Nassau Coliseum farewell party was spoiled by the playoff bound Albany FireWolves thanks to a comfortable 16-10 victory, snapping Albany’s five-game losing streak. Despite the loss, New York can still clinch a postseason berth if the Rochester Knighthawks fall to the Philadelphia Wings on Sunday. If the Knighthawks win, the Riptide’s final campaign in New York falls just short.

The terrific trio of Ethan Walker, Alex Simmons and Tye Kurtz shone brightly, with the triad posting four goals and six assists, four goals and five assists and three goals and seven assists respectively. All told, the Walker-Simmons-Kurtz crew was responsible for an incredible 11 scores and 18 helpers. Albany raced to 5-0 and 11-4 leads, en route to the easy win. 

New York’s leading man, Jeff Teat, put on one last show for the New York faithful, ending his night with four goals and three assists. The Cornell alums closes his regular season with a career-high 58 goals. Connor Kearnan added three goals and three assists in the defeat.

Here’s Teat’s 56th goal:


The Rock Had A Remarkable Regular Season

The top-seeded Toronto Rock cemented a sterling 15-3 record when outlasting the always scrappy Saskatchewan Rush 12-11 in front of more than 9,000 rabid fans at SaskTel Centre. The Rush’s one-goal downfall eliminates the team from any hopes of a spot in the postseason, with the Saskatoon-based entity finishing with an 8-10 placement in the standings. This game was hotly contested throughout, with Robert Church and Mike Triolo’s back-to-back scores evening the festivities 11-11 in the fourth, setting up the incomparable Mark Matthews for the eventual go-ahead blast. 

Matthews, perhaps the most impactful offseason acquisition of the Rock – from the Rush (fans spent the better part of the game booing their former superstar) –  notched three goals and four assists, while teammate Tom Schreiber etched three scores and five helpers onto the scoresheet. Josh Dawick (son of Rock Owner, President and GM Jamie Dawick) did his part courtesy of a two-goal, three-assist showing.

The previously mentioned Mr. Triolo fortified a hat trick, but he and his fellow men in green are now forced to watch the playoffs from the couch, with the Rock turning attention to next weekend’s home playoff game. 

Check out Triolo’s #SCtop10-worthy dunk goal.


They Love The NLL In Calgary

Despite the Calgary Roughnecks already being ousted from any chance of postseason play, 14,424 fans showed up to WestJet Field at Scotiabank Saddledome to send the squad off into brighter days ahead. Playing for nothing but pride, the Albertans outlasted the playoff-ready Panther City Lacrosse Club 11-9. PCLC led the affair 7-3 after 30 minutes, only to witness the Roughnecks release five straight goals into the back of the net and grab an 8-7 lead. The fellas from Fort Worth retook the upper hand 9-8 early in the fourth, when that Calgary pride resurfaced as two Tyler Pace scores and one Tanner Cook effort brought the hard-fought win to the 2019 NLL champions.

Jesse King’s two goals and six assists propelled him to the milestone of back-to-back 100-point seasons. Tyler Pace was there for three scores and two helpers, while Tanner Cook and Logan Schuss achieved two goals each.

Will Malcom, Brandon Goodwin and Mathieu Gautier combined for six goals, but Panther City no doubt wishes their final postseason tune-up would have ended on a significantly happier note. 


Dhane Smith Sets a New Assist Record 

The defending champion Buffalo Bandits are playing out of their minds right now, completing the regular season as winners of four straight games, with Saturday’s 14-5 thrashing of the Las Vegas Desert Dogs thrusting the group into a final record of 11-7. Las Vegas wraps things up at 5-13 as the franchise prepares to relocate to the Lee’s Family Forum, situated in suburban Henderson, nine miles (14 Km) southeast of Michelob Ultra Arena. 

The legendary Dhane Smith established a new single-season assist record of 101 helpers, closing the regular campaign with an astonishing 10 helpers on an emotional Tucker Out Lymphoma Night. Josh Byrne scored three goals and six assists, capping his season with a spectacular 53 total goals.

With Buffalo leading 4-3, Byrne found the mesh with just three seconds left in the first half. This would serve as the catalyst for five consecutive third quarter scores (three from by Tehoka Nanticoke), turning this matter into a laugher. No Desert Dogs competitor obtained more than a single goal in a battle dominated by the team with the most recent trophy. 

Buffalo is the bunch nobody wants to see on their schedule come the postseason.