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Game Winners and Grand Performances Saturate Week 17

The Rush Run Out Of Gas In Georgia 

After the Saskatchewan Rush fell 14-11 to New York in Uniondale on Saturday night, they had no time to waste. Courtesy of an odd quirk in the schedule, their next game was Sunday at 5:30 in Georgia. The men from Saskatoon managed three hours of sleep, a 2.5-hour flight to Atlanta, three more hours of sleep, and then it was game time. Running on a combination of adrenaline and fumes, the Rush held the Swarm scoreless in the first half, hitting the Gas South Arena locker room with a 4-0 lead at the break. Three of those scores were delivered by Robert Church, who finished the game with four goals and two assists.

Come the second half, it was the rested Swarm that decided to crank it into gear, outscoring the staggered Rush 9-3, crossing the finish line the proud owners of a 9-7 win. Lyle Thompson and Andrew Kew posted identical three-goal, two-assist performances, with the suburban Atlanta guys connecting on the game’s final five goals.

The overtired Rush only dispensed 37 shots at Swarm goalie Brett Dobson, compared to Georgia’s 52 attempts on net. Saskatchewan’s wild schedule continues on Thursday when the group pays a visit to the Philadelphia Wings.

 

The Seals are Playoff Bound

Saturday night’s final game played out two miles from the shore of the Pacific Ocean with the San Diego Seals hosting the Las Vegas Desert Dogs at Pechanga Arena. The competition was decided in overtime – the fourth of the weekend – when San Diego goalie Christopher Origlieri hit a streaking Tre Leclaire for the game-winner, sending the Seals to the postseason in the wake of their 10-9 comeback win.

Leclaire pocketed three goals and three assists, while Wesley Berg acquired two scores and six helpers. To go along with his game-clinching assist, Origlieri put his body in front of 40 of the 49 shots that headed his direction.

The fellas from Sin City hit the jackpot early pulling the lever for a 5-1 lead after the first quarter. San Diego then clawed their way back, turning what looked to be a blowout, into a see-saw second half. A Dane Dobbie goal, midway through the fourth, gave the Seals their very first lead, with the Desert Dogs tying the game 1:20 later off the stick of Dylan Watson.

Rob Hellyer and Zack Greer both scored twice for the Desert Dogs in a game in which Las Vegas squandered a wonderful opportunity to take down their closest geographical rival. 

 

A Tale of Two Halves in Denver

11,133 fans collectively made Saturday night plans at Denver’s Ball Arena, with the great lacrosse fans of Colorado heading home happy after watching their beloved Mammoth easily defeat the visiting Rochester Knighthawks 13-7. Rochester led the festivities 5-3 at half, but Mammoth coach Pat Coyle must have given one heck of a halftime speech because the 2022 NLL champs were firing on all cylinders in the third quarter, procuring the first six goals out of the dressing room, three of those from the crowd-pleasing efforts of Eli McLaughlin. All told, the Mammoth outscored Rochester 10-2 in the final 30 minutes, flipping a two-goal halftime deficit into an easy six-goal conquest. McLaughlin and Zed Williams scored four goals apiece, with the pair combining for seven helpers.

Connor Fields’ outstanding season did not skip a beat, as the former Seal, Bandit and (very briefly) Desert Dog added three goals and one assist to his ever-growing lacrosse resume. Ryan Lanchbury scored the first two tallies of the game, to go along with his three assists. 

Eli McLaughlin with a diving shot and goal in the 3rd quarter. Rochester Knighthawks at Colorado Mammoth from Ball Arena on 3/23/24. (Photo: John Harrison)

 

Keegan Bal Scores Eight Goals!

This is not a misprint! Warriors’ star Keegan Bal recorded eight goals and five assists in Vancouver’s 21-12 thrashing of the Philadelphia Wings at Wells Fargo Center. Remarkably, Bal entered halftime with only one goal. That quickly changed in the third quarter when the Coquitlam, BC native tallied an astonishing five goals, establishing an NLL season high for a quarter. He added two more in the fourth to cap a night that also included five helpers. Bal and the Warriors must really enjoy a good cheesesteak: during the franchise’s previous visit to America’s birthplace in 2019, Bal notched 14 total points, with Vancouver putting 19 goals on the scoreboard.

Riley Loewen added three goals and seven assists, with Ryan Martel securing four scores and three helpers. Warriors’ defender Brayden Laity etched his first career goal as part of his team’s epic evening.

On the Philly side, former Warrior Mitch Jones posted a big night against his old team, finishing with four goals and six assists. Holden Cattoni contributed a hat trick, while Joe Resetarits scored two including his 300th career goal.

 

The Rock’s Magical Season Continues 

FirstOntario Centre was the setting for a theatrical matchup between the hometown Toronto Rock and the highly talented Halifax Thunderbirds. 9,588 fans made their way to downtown Hamilton for what turned out to be a memorable 9-8 overtime win by the 12-win Rock. Halifax jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, with each team subsequently trading sequences of three consecutive scores, resulting in a 7-3 Thunderbirds advantage midway through the third.

From there, the best team in the league showed exactly why they have been so successful this season, producing five of the next six goals, eventually forcing the game into overtime thanks to a Tom Schreiber otherworldly behind-the-back goal with just 58 seconds remaining in the game. With momentum very much on their side, Toronto won the game in OT courtesy of the great Mark Matthews. The aforementioned Schreiber and Matthews obtained two goals each in the game, as did teammate Dan Craig.

Ryan Benesch scratched out three goals and two assists for Halifax, but the Thunderbirds visit to Ontario proved to be a journey filled with tremendous disappointment. 

 

Jeff Teat Is Exceptionally Good At Lacrosse 

Saturday night, in the shadow of New York City, Riptide superstar Jeff Teat once again displayed why many consider him to be the very best lacrosse player in the world. The Cornell alum showcased a spectacular four-goal, nine-assist parade, leading the Long Islanders to a 14-11 triumph over the Saskatchewan Rush.

Teat either scored or assisted on all but one of the Riptide’s 14 goals. It is impossible to be more impactful than the Brampton, Ontario native was on this occasion. Not to be outdone, teammates Taggart Clark and Stephen Keogh also found themselves in the hat trick column, with Connor Kearnan and Larson Sundown combining for an impressive 10 assists. New York scored three in the second quarter, advancing their lead to 7-3. Saskatchewan fought back in the second half, cutting the NY lead to 10-9 before back-to-back goals by Keogh dashed the Rush’s quest for a comeback, with the Riptide cruising to the three-goal victory. 

Saskatchewan’s dynamic duo of Robert Church and Ryan Keenan continued to play well, with the pair combining for seven scores and three helpers, though it was not enough to make up for the greatness of Mr. Teat.

 

The Bandits First Visit to Texas Ended in Disappointment 

Week 17 flew out of the gates deep in the heart of Texas, where the defending champion Buffalo Bandits made their first-ever trip to Dickies Arena for a matchup with the Panther City Lacrosse Club. This game featured several unusual scenarios including the PCLC pairing of Ty Thompson and Dylan Hutchison connecting on their first goals of the season, while goalie Nick Damude scored a full-field goal of his own in the waning seconds of the first quarter. It was the third score of the 25-year-old keeper’s career. The contest also witnessed Bandits’ superstar Josh Byrne blasting three first quarter goals, en route to a five-goal, two-assist performance. The British Columbia native is now the proud owner of 42 lamp lighters on the season.

This highly-dramatic affair appeared to be leaning Buffalo’s way after Tehoka Nanticoke gave the champs an 11-10 lead with 53 seconds left. But when all appeared to be lost, Callum Crawford tied the game at 11, with a mere 20 seconds remaining. The 39-year-old’s clutch score was even more impressive considering this was his first game back after missing time with a leg injury. Then, 1:32 into OT, Jonathan Donville scored his third of the night, awarding the game to the home club. Donville’s amazing exploits were only exceeded by Will Malcom and his four-score, three-helper exhibition. Post-Friday, both teams possess 7-7 records for the season.

 

The Roughnecks Hold Off the Hard Charging FireWolves

Friday’s second game took flight at the Scotiabank Saddledome in downtown Calgary, with the 10-win Albany FireWolves trekking west for a battle with the Roughnecks. Calgary jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before the visitors succeeded on four-straight first quarter scores. Remarkably, Albany followed its dynamite first 15 minutes with a scoreless second stanza, heading to halftime down 5-4. Fast-forwarding to the fourth, it was the Alberta franchise that was unable to muster a goal, watching the guys from New York’s state capital flip a 9-7 deficit into a 9-9 count, leading to the second overtime game of the evening. Come the fifth quarter, Calgary took the opportunity to turn the tables, with Tanner Cook securing the game-winner for the resilient home club. Talk about a roller coaster! 

Tyler Pace totaled six points (four goals, two assists) for the victors, while Tye Kurtz assembled a hat trick for the thwarted FireWolves. Christian Del Bianco and Doug Jamieson shone between the pipes, each making a slew of stellar saves, amid stopping 46 and 45 shots respectively. 

NLL