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WK
1
Fri, Dec 2
6:00 pm ET
Wings
Thunderbirds
Sat, Dec 3
5:00 pm ET
Warriors
Rock
Sat, Dec 3
7:30 pm ET
FireWolves
Bandits
Sat, Dec 3
7:30 pm ET
Seals
Riptide
Sat, Dec 3
8:00 pm ET
Knighthawks
Swarm
Sat, Dec 3
8:30 pm ET
Mammoth
Rush
WK
2
Fri, Dec 9
8:30 pm ET
Desert Dogs
Panther City
Fri, Dec 9
10:00 pm ET
Rush
Seals
Sat, Dec 10
7:00 pm ET
Rock
Knighthawks
Sat, Dec 10
9:30 pm ET
Warriors
Roughnecks
WK
3
Fri, Dec 16
10:00 pm ET
Roughnecks
Warriors
Fri, Dec 16
10:30 pm ET
Panther City
Desert Dogs
Sat, Dec 17
7:00 pm ET
Bandits
Rock
Sat, Dec 17
7:00 pm ET
Wings
Swarm
Sat, Dec 17
7:00 pm ET
Knighthawks
FireWolves
Sat, Dec 17
7:30 pm ET
Thunderbirds
Riptide
Sat, Dec 17
8:00 pm ET
Mammoth
Panther City
WK
5
Fri, Dec 30
7:30 pm ET
Thunderbirds
Bandits
Fri, Dec 30
9:00 pm ET
Seals
Roughnecks
Sat, Dec 31
9:00 pm ET
Panther City
Rush
WK
6
Fri, Jan 6
10:30 pm ET
Wings
Desert Dogs
Sat, Jan 7
7:00 pm ET
Bandits
Swarm
Sat, Jan 7
7:00 pm ET
Panther City
Knighthawks
Sat, Jan 7
7:00 pm ET
Thunderbirds
FireWolves
Sat, Jan 7
7:30 pm ET
Rock
Riptide
Sat, Jan 7
10:00 pm ET
Roughnecks
Mammoth
Sat, Jan 7
10:00 pm ET
Warriors
Seals
WK
7
Fri, Jan 13
6:30 pm ET
FireWolves
Thunderbirds
Fri, Jan 13
9:00 pm ET
Rush
Mammoth
Sat, Jan 14
7:00 pm ET
Thunderbirds
Rock
Sat, Jan 14
7:00 pm ET
Panther City
Wings
Sat, Jan 14
7:30 pm ET
Swarm
Bandits
Sat, Jan 14
9:00 pm ET
Seals
Roughnecks
Sat, Jan 14
10:00 pm ET
Desert Dogs
Warriors
Sun, Jan 15
3:00 pm ET
Knighthawks
Riptide
WK
8
Fri, Jan 20
7:30 pm ET
Bandits
Knighthawks
Fri, Jan 20
10:30 pm ET
Warriors
Desert Dogs
Sat, Jan 21
7:00 pm ET
Rock
Wings
Sat, Jan 21
7:00 pm ET
Riptide
FireWolves
WK
9
Fri, Jan 27
6:00 pm ET
Knighthawks
Thunderbirds
Fri, Jan 27
7:00 pm ET
Bandits
Wings
Sat, Jan 28
7:30 pm ET
Bandits
Riptide
Sat, Jan 28
8:30 pm ET
Desert Dogs
Rush
Sat, Jan 28
9:00 pm ET
Rock
Roughnecks
Sat, Jan 28
9:00 pm ET
Seals
Mammoth
Sat, Jan 28
10:00 pm ET
Panther City
Warriors
WK
10
Fri, Feb 3
9:00 pm ET
Swarm
Mammoth
Sat, Feb 4
6:00 pm ET
Roughnecks
Thunderbirds
Sat, Feb 4
7:00 pm ET
Riptide
Rock
Sat, Feb 4
7:00 pm ET
FireWolves
Wings
Sat, Feb 4
7:30 pm ET
Knighthawks
Bandits
Sat, Feb 4
10:00 pm ET
Panther City
Seals
Sat, Feb 4
10:00 pm ET
Rush
Warriors
Sat, Feb 4
10:30 pm ET
Mammoth
Desert Dogs
WK
11
Fri, Feb 10
7:30 pm ET
Rock
Swarm
Fri, Feb 10
9:00 pm ET
Rush
Roughnecks
Sat, Feb 11
7:00 pm ET
Thunderbirds
Knighthawks
Sat, Feb 11
7:30 pm ET
FireWolves
Riptide
Sat, Feb 11
8:00 pm ET
Warriors
Panther City
Sat, Feb 11
9:00 pm ET
Mammoth
Roughnecks
WK
12
Fri, Feb 17
10:00 pm ET
Rush
Seals
Fri, Feb 17
10:00 pm ET
Roughnecks
Warriors
Sat, Feb 18
7:00 pm ET
Swarm
Rock
Sat, Feb 18
7:00 pm ET
Desert Dogs
FireWolves
Sat, Feb 18
7:30 pm ET
Wings
Bandits
Sat, Feb 18
8:00 pm ET
Mammoth
Panther City
Sun, Feb 19
1:00 pm ET
Riptide
Thunderbirds
WK
13
Fri, Feb 24
9:00 pm ET
Panther City
Mammoth
Fri, Feb 24
10:30 pm ET
Roughnecks
Desert Dogs
Sat, Feb 25
7:00 pm ET
FireWolves
Swarm
Sat, Feb 25
7:00 pm ET
Riptide
Knighthawks
Sat, Feb 25
8:00 pm ET
Warriors
Rush
WK
14
Fri, Mar 3
6:30 pm ET
Bandits
Thunderbirds
Sat, Mar 4
11:30 am ET
Riptide
Wings
Sat, Mar 4
4:00 pm ET
Desert Dogs
Seals
Sat, Mar 4
7:00 pm ET
Knighthawks
Rock
Sat, Mar 4
7:00 pm ET
Swarm
FireWolves
Sat, Mar 4
8:00 pm ET
Rush
Panther City
Mon, Mar 6
7:00 pm ET
Rock
Wings
WK
15
Fri, Mar 10
7:30 pm ET
Thunderbirds
Bandits
Fri, Mar 10
9:00 pm ET
Roughnecks
Mammoth
Sat, Mar 11
7:00 pm ET
FireWolves
Rock
Sat, Mar 11
7:30 pm ET
Wings
Riptide
Sat, Mar 11
8:30 pm ET
Seals
Rush
Sat, Mar 11
10:30 pm ET
Warriors
Desert Dogs
Sun, Mar 12
4:00 pm ET
Knighthawks
Swarm
WK
16
Fri, Mar 17
9:00 pm ET
Rush
Roughnecks
Fri, Mar 17
10:00 pm ET
Seals
Warriors
Sat, Mar 18
11:00 am ET
Swarm
Wings
Sat, Mar 18
6:00 pm ET
Rock
Thunderbirds
Sat, Mar 18
7:30 pm ET
Mammoth
Bandits
Sat, Mar 18
7:30 pm ET
FireWolves
Riptide
Sat, Mar 18
8:00 pm ET
Desert Dogs
Panther City
Sun, Mar 19
3:00 pm ET
Wings
Knighthawks
WK
17
Fri, Mar 24
8:30 pm ET
Seals
Panther City
Sat, Mar 25
7:00 pm ET
Thunderbirds
Wings
Sat, Mar 25
7:00 pm ET
Rock
FireWolves
Sat, Mar 25
7:30 pm ET
Swarm
Riptide
Sat, Mar 25
9:30 pm ET
Roughnecks
Rush
Sat, Mar 25
10:00 pm ET
Bandits
Seals
Sat, Mar 25
10:00 pm ET
Mammoth
Warriors
Sat, Mar 25
10:30 pm ET
Knighthawks
Desert Dogs
WK
18
Fri, Mar 31
7:00 pm ET
Riptide
Swarm
Fri, Mar 31
9:00 pm ET
Desert Dogs
Mammoth
Fri, Mar 31
10:00 pm ET
Roughnecks
Seals
Sat, Apr 1
7:00 pm ET
Bandits
Rock
Sat, Apr 1
8:00 pm ET
FireWolves
Panther City
Sat, Apr 1
9:30 pm ET
Warriors
Rush
Sun, Apr 2
1:00 pm ET
Swarm
Thunderbirds
Sun, Apr 2
6:00 pm ET
Knighthawks
Wings
WK
19
Sat, Apr 8
7:00 pm ET
Rush
Swarm
Sat, Apr 8
7:00 pm ET
FireWolves
Knighthawks
Sat, Apr 8
9:00 pm ET
Panther City
Roughnecks
Sat, Apr 8
9:00 pm ET
Warriors
Mammoth
Sat, Apr 8
10:30 pm ET
Seals
Desert Dogs
WK
20
Fri, Apr 14
9:00 pm ET
Desert Dogs
Roughnecks
Fri, Apr 14
9:00 pm ET
Seals
Mammoth
Sat, Apr 15
7:00 pm ET
Wings
Rock
Sat, Apr 15
7:00 pm ET
Swarm
FireWolves
Sat, Apr 15
7:30 pm ET
Riptide
Bandits
Sat, Apr 15
9:30 pm ET
Thunderbirds
Rush
Sat, Apr 15
10:00 pm ET
Panther City
Warriors
WK
21
Fri, Apr 21
8:30 pm ET
Roughnecks
Panther City
Sat, Apr 22
6:00 pm ET
Riptide
Thunderbirds
Sat, Apr 22
7:00 pm ET
Swarm
Knighthawks
Sat, Apr 22
8:00 pm ET
Rock
Bandits
Sat, Apr 22
9:30 pm ET
Mammoth
Rush
Sat, Apr 22
10:00 pm ET
Desert Dogs
Seals
Sun, Apr 23
3:00 pm ET
Wings
FireWolves
WK
22
Sat, Apr 29
7:00 pm ET
Thunderbirds
Swarm
Sat, Apr 29
7:00 pm ET
Wings
Knighthawks
Sat, Apr 29
7:00 pm ET
Bandits
FireWolves
Sat, Apr 29
10:00 pm ET
Mammoth
Seals
Sat, Apr 29
10:00 pm ET
Riptide
Warriors
Sat, Apr 29
10:30 pm ET
Rush
Desert Dogs
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Stories/Op-Ed

Final Thoughts On A Legendary Champion’s Cup Finale

Often highly anticipated sporting events fail to live up to the hype. That wasn’t Game 2 of the 2017 Champion’s Cup final. The Georgia Swarm and Saskatchewan Rush not only exceeded expectations of two top seeds battling for the ultimate prize, they turned the action into an Oscar winning Hollywood drama.

It was truly lacrosse heaven.

This emotional roller coaster showcased everything great about the National Lacrosse League. Multiple lead changes, sensational goals, hard hitting defense, stellar goaltending, tears of joy and heartbreak.

Here are a few of my takeaways after handling the play-by-play duties of this masterpiece from SaskTel Centre.

 

Thompson, Thompson and Thompson

This regular season and the Champion’s Cup was no doubt highlighted by the Thompson brothers. Lyle led the Swarm to becoming the most prolific scoring team in NLL history with a league best 116-points and was a buzzsaw in Game 2 of the final, delivering seven points. No. 4 took home the MVP trophy as well.

Watching Lyle work together alongside brother Miles was art in motion. Miles’ overtime winning goal brought the franchise its first title and it was only fitting that Lyle had the assist.

On the other side of the floor for Saskatchewan was Jeremy, the eldest of the Thompson boys. One of the finest draw men in the NLL, Jeremy was a beast in the faceoff circle all evening. His endless hustle and play creation displayed the inspirational heart that is Thompson lacrosse. He also scored a pivotal goal with 1:34 left in the fourth quarter and then made the initial empty net save as only seconds remained in regulation (more on that below).

Honor, respect, and passion beamed out from the siblings following the OT winner. If you haven’t had a chance to watch Lyle’s post-game press conference make sure to go to www.NLL.com and check it out. His raw emotion and eloquence was a cherry on the sundae that was this series.

 

Build Through the Draft

There’s something to be said about a club developing its own talent and growing a specific culture. Patience, talented scouting, and a bit of luck all go into a philosophy of building through the draft.

If there was any question to whether this strategy works in the National Lacrosse League, one needs to look no further than the pair of teams with the best records in 2017. They also happen to have just appeared in one of the most exciting Champion’s Cup matchups of all-time.

Georgia gathered a bounty of 15 first-round draft picks over the past five years and oh my has it paid off.

Lyle Thompson, Miles Thompson, Jason Noble, Kiel Matisz, Shayne Jackson, Alex Crepinsek, and Randy Staats are a few of the names that lay the foundation for this Swarm organization.

The Rush’s core is a rare combination of youth with championship experience. Their first rounders since 2012 included three number one overall selections: Mark Matthews; Ben McIntosh; and Ryan Keenan. Mike Messenger, Robert Church, and Curtis Knight are other impact players that went in the opening round.

 

Keenan’s Call

The last 10-seconds of the fourth quarter will go down as one of the wildest finishes that the NLL has ever seen. Trailing 14-13, Georgia pulled the goalie for the extra attacker…then the Rush yanked their net-minder to even it up at 6-on-6.

Things of course didn’t work out as planned for the home team as Joel White buried the ball into an empty cage, despite the best efforts of Jeremy Thompson, with 2.8-seconds left to force overtime.

Social media exploded, questioning the decision of Saskatchewan head coach Derek Keenan to risk an open net with the lead. My broadcast partner Brian Shanahan gave the perfect explanation behind the decision.

 

https://soundcloud.com/nllradio/nll-champions-cup-2017-final-thoughts

 

Crowds and Class

 

I’ve had the privilege to call the past pair of Champion’s Cup finishes at SaskTel Centre. The Saskatoon fan enthusiasm and deafening noise in that arena create an atmosphere unlike anything else I have experienced in my broadcasting career.

It was super booster “Grandma Rush’s” 86th birthday last Saturday. Even in defeat the energy she brought and love for her team shone through. Shanny and I were lucky enough to get a picture with her following the game.

Despite a vicious battle on the floor during the series, both franchises showed complete class from top to bottom after the OT finish. Players, coaches and ownership demonstrated legitimate respect and admiration of the efforts put forth as they are now linked forever in National Lacrosse League playoff history.

 

 

Andy McNamara has been a play-by-play commentator for the NLL on TSN, NLLTV.com, and world lacrosse tournaments since 2011. He’s also a sport talk host and anchor on TSN 1050 sports radio. Follow Andy on twitter @AndyMc81.

NLL