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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

First Things First: Rock Look To Clinch At Black Wolves

The Toronto Rock (13-4) will shoot for the top overall seed in the National Lacrosse League and first place in the East Division when they roll into Connecticut to take on the New England Black Wolves (4-12) at Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday at 7 p.m. ET. Watch the game on NLL LIVE in the U.S. and TSN GO in Canada.

It will take all 18 weeks of the NLL regular season to decide which team will be awarded the league’s top spot heading into the postseason. The reward is a free pass to the Division Finals series, and with home floor advantage to boot. While Toronto has held first place overall for nearly the entire season, it will take one last victory against New England (or a Rochester loss) in the final weekend to solidly their position.

“It’s the whole reason why you play in the regular season,” said Rock transition player Jesse Gamble. “It’s all comes down to this game. It’s extremely important we win this and clinch first place.”

The Rock are coming off of a much needed bye week, which gave recovering players Rob Hellyer (upper body) and Colin Doyle (rotator cuff) one final week to ready themselves for a return to the lineup. Between the two, 23 total man weeks were spent on the injury reserve.

“I think it was a good time for us to have a break, we’ve had some guys banged up, said Rock head coach John Lovell. “The week off gave Rob Hellyer and Colin Doyle another couple weeks to get ready here.”

Hellyer, before falling to injury in Week 12 against the Edmonton Rush, held the league’s highest point total with 86 points (31+55) and looked poised to earn his first career 100 point season. The sudden loss of Hellyer led to the eventual acquisition of league all star Kevin Crowley from New England via trade. As result, Hellyer, with Doyle, will be inserted into a crowded seven-man offensive lineup on Friday night.

“In a perfect world, our team has played very well in a six and ten scenario, but because of the injuries and because we have Rob [Hellyer] playing for the first time in six weeks and Colin [Doyle] for the first time in a year, we thought it would be wise to have the extra offensive guy going this weekend,” said Lovell of the unconventional lineup scenario.”

Count ’em, the Rock now have eight surefooted forwards on the active roster (Doyle, Hellyer, Crowley, Josh Sanderson, Stephan Leblanc, Brett Hickey, Kevin Ross, Kasey Beirnes), which means Lovell is forced to bite his lip and make a decision on who to sit out, a judgment the second-year coach is not excited to make.  

“Whenever you got to tell a guy he’s not in the lineup, I don’t think any coach wants to do that,” said Lovell. “These guys are good people as well as good players and they all want to compete.”

With Sanderson, Hickey and Leblanc each having banner years, the decision really boils down to Kevin Ross (21+34) and Kasey Beirnes (34+23), two players with just a couple points separating each other. Lovell gave no indication to who he’s leaning toward.

“I think about it a lot, we think about it all the time,” said Lovell.

The Black Wolves have come very close to beating the Rock in their previous meetings, losing by only four goals between two games. While the pack is officially out of playoff contention and looks to finish on a high note, the Rock can take the East Division title with a win.

“Every game in this league is tough…no easy games,” said Rock head coach John Lovell. “I don’t know whether it makes any difference if you beat a team by 10 or if you beat them by two. They are difficult games, whenever we play them in the season, on the schedule, there’s always a lot at stake.”

“We want to finish up strong this year,” said Black Wolves assistant general manager Rich Lisk. “We started off really strong, and we got hit with the injury bug pretty early with Quinn Powless going down. And these last few weeks with Andrew Suitor and Brian Megill; Mike Manley was out last weekend and Sheldon Burns was out last weekend. It’s been a different year, I’ll say that, but it’s a process too and we understood that.”

During their first matchup of the season, the Black Wolves controlled the pace most of the way. However, the Rock scored five goals in the fourth quarter to tie it at 12, and eventually won with an early goal in overtime. In their Week 16 rematch, the game was a battle of timely goals and quick answers. Toronto gained momentum late in the second half and ended up beating the Black Wolves, 15-12. Though the Rock and the pack are on opposite ends of the standings, the respect between the two clubs is clear.

“There are no bad teams in this league,” noted Lovell. “Sometimes teams don’t have as good a record as other teams; that doesn’t mean they’re a bad team. That’s just the way things fall sometimes.”

Though their season is over, the Black Wolves will focus on making the most of their final weekend and proving themselves to their fans. Even when the Wolves were suffering from a five-game skid, the Mohegan Sun Arena filled with cheers and howls for the pack. With the support from a passionate New England fan base, the Black Wolves can look back at their debut season with a little bit of pride.

“This first year has been good at Mohegan Sun and we owe nothing but our best to the ownership and the fans who’ve been supporting us all season long,” stated Black Wolves forward Kyle Buchanan. “We’ve got a couple of games to go here. The season didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but we’ve got to be professionals and we want to end on a high note.”

By Justin Millerson (@RockBeatToronto) and Alyssa McLaughlin (@BlackWolvesBeat) for NLL.com. Photo by Graig Abel.

NLL