Which National Lacrosse League pros came up big in NLL Week 12 which featured three games this past weekend? Preview the Three Stars of the Week by Stephen Stamp on IL Indoor below and click through the link for the full story.
“I seriously considered an all-goalie ticket in this week’s National Lacrosse League 3 Stars, which would have made David Kirk and other aficionados of the fine art of tending the twine very happy,” Stamp writes. “In the end, I settled on the most impressive of the trio as my top honouree along with a couple of forwards who were part of the offensive explosion in Vancouver, one of whom just wouldn’t give up and the other of whom returned to the form that originally made him one of the best players in the game.”
Matt Vinc, Rochester Knighthawks
53/57, .930 save percentage
Here are the goals that beat Matt Vinc in Rochester’s 11-4 win over Georgia, whose offence has been one of the most potent in the league all season. 1. Joel White picks off a pass, breaks out in transition and after looking like he’d pass until the last second picks the corner over Vinc’s shoulder. 2. Chad Tutton on a faceoff breakaway buries a perfect twister top corner. 3. Lyle Thompson fends off a defender’s check and puts a perfect twister over the shoulder for a power play goal. 4. Tutton makes a ridiculous reverse spin, drive, dive and tuck play to slip the ball past Vinc’s far leg.
In other words, it took highlight-reel plays to beat the Knighthawks goalie. He stopped everything else. Every save you expect him to make, he made. That rarely happens, because the shooters at this level are so good and so deceptive, there’ll usually be at least a couple every game that goalie’s think they should have had. Vinc may well think he should have stopped one or more of the four that beat him, but nobody else is putting any of them on him.
Rhys Duch, Vancouver Stealth
6 goals, 5 assists
In a game where 40 goals are scored, there are going to be plenty of big offensive numbers flashing around the score sheet and they can be blinding. I know the Stealth lost and were embarrassed defensively. I also know that Duch did everything he could to try to help them keep pace in the shootout at the LEC. Duch scored from outside, he scored inside. He soared, he spun, he found the open man at the right moment. Saturday’s game was Duch at his best, both in terms of the skill set and the drive to compete that he showed.
Zack Greer (Saskatchewan): 5g. 6a. He was named the first star of the game from which I’ve drawn two of my stars for the week and he easily could have been the top guy here, as well. I just felt the players I chose had an even greater overall impact for their teams. Greer moved into a tie for fifth in the league in goals and has games in hand on everyone ahead of him…Mike Poulin (Calgary): 48/57, .842 save percentage. Poulin is the goalie of the year to this point in the season; he’s had help from a defence that is playing better and better, but he’s helped them at least as much as they’ve helped him. Poulin leads the NLL in goals against average and save percentage. He was at his quick and agile best Saturday, both in stopping shots and pouncing on rebounds to eliminate second chance possessions…Tyler Carlson (Saskatchewan): 16/19, .842 save percentage. Picking a goalie in a 24-16 game may seem strange but with Rush starter Aaron Bold barely stopping half the shots he faced, Vancouver was hanging around and looking like they just might pull one out. Carlson changed the entire tenor of the game when he stepped between the pipes…Joe Walters (Rochester): 3g, 3a. For the second straight week, one of the Knighthawks’ complementary players led the way. Walters almost matched Georgia’s entire offensive output of four goals and four assists…Curtis Dickson (Calgary): 3g, 5a. Has inherited the mantle of offensive leader from Shawn Evans; he does it in a different way but Dickson is very effective at making the Roughnecks O click…Joel McCready (Vancouver): 5g, 3a. How do you valuate a 5-goal night when on four of the goals your immediate reaction is that the goalie should have made the save. Not to pile on Bold, but it really wasn’t his night and nowhere was that more evident than on some of McCready’s outside shot goals. That’s not McCready’s fault, though, and he combined his usual workmanlike effort with the smarts to keep on shooting when it was working and then to pass off when Saskatchewan aggressively challenged his shot…Callum Crawford (Colorado): 3g, 3a. He’s got the reachback crossover crease jump (he seldom actually dives—staying upright seems to leave him with more options) shot refined to near perfection…Mark Matthews (Saskatchewan): 2g, 8a. Jake Elliott and Shaun Springett wondered on the Stealth webcast how Matthews could be left out of the game’s 3 Stars. I thought the selectors did an excellent job, actually, recognizing Knight’s effort, but Matthews did a fine…
Click here for the Third Star and full list of Honorable Mentions on Stephen Stamp’s Three Stars of Week 12 on IL Indoor. Photo by Garrett James.