On Superhero Night inside Rogers Arena, the Vancouver Warriors put together a super-human effort against the New York Riptide in their 14-10 victory.
Superhero Night consisted of high-flying, eye-popping, draw-dropping action from start to finish, which is exactly what Warriors head coach Chris Gill wanted from his team after a lackluster season-opener in Week 1.
“We made huge improvements in our [defense],” Gill said. “But, offensively is where I was really frustrated two weeks ago and [this week] the guys bought in. We had some really good looks. I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get more goals because we really felt that we should’ve, but the boys battled hard and played as a five-man unit instead of a one or two-man unit. When that’s happening, they’re having fun; we’re all happy about that.
It was day and night for the Warriors offense in their second game compared to their first. This time around, secondary scorers Keegan Bal and Jordan McBride combined for six goals and six assists compared to two goals and one assist in Week 1 to go along with Mitch Jones four goal and five assist game and Logan Schuss’ pair of goals and assists.
14 goals of production is far from a given for any team in the NLL, but more often than not, it’s enough to get your team a win, and that’s what it did tonight. The target of 14 goals also boded well for the Warriors last season. They won all three of their games when they scored at least a baker’s dozen plus one.
It wasn’t just an offensive showing on Saturday night for the Warriors. Their defense, particularly from their captain Matt Beers, was very impressive. Led by Beers’ physicality, the Warriors were able to disrupt the young Riptide offense.
The Riptide did manage to keep the game close throughout, but despite a six-point effort from Connor Kelly, a five-point showing from former Warriors forward Dan Lomas and four points each from rookie Travis Longboat and veteran Tyler Digby, the Riptide couldn’t overpower their opponents.
Even with the strong outing from the Warriors this week, Beers isn’t letting this one win get to his or his teammates’ heads. He believes there’s still work to be done.
“There’s a lot of improvement,” Beers said. “We did some good things, [but] we also did a lot of things we need to clean up. We’re going to have our work cut out for us against San Diego [Seals], but, it’s building blocks for the rest of the season.”
The Warriors now have another bye week before the play against Seals on Dec. 29th to finish off the calendar year. With all the positives that came out of this game, the hope will be, as Beers said, to carry the positives over to the last game of this early season three-game home-stand.
The players will get some time off work for the holidays over the next couple of weeks, but the coaching staff isn’t going to allow their guys to slack off when the getting is good.
“These guys aren’t going to be taking their foot off the gas,” Gill said. “Their going to be working through the week. It’s going to be fun.”