Preview the Three Stars of NLL Week 9 on IL Indoor below as Stephen Stamp breaks down some of the best player performances from around the National Lacrosse League as the regular season schedule enters the second half with three Week 10 games on Saturday night.
“Keeping up with the Joneses was a particularly difficult task in the National Lacrosse League in Week 9,” Stamp writes. “Adam Jones was unusually quiet through three quarters of Colorado’s comeback win over Vancouver. We all know what he did in the fourth quarter, though. Mitch Jones is another lefty who excelled with the Orangeville Northmen (just for one year in his case, although that was enough to be part of a Northmen Minto Cup title). Mitch, however, is making his way in the NLL as a transition player and he probably just had the best transition game of the season to lead Buffalo to a crazy win over Saskatchewan. To see more about the weekend of the Joneses and the rest of the NLL’s standouts from Week 9, scroll on down.”
Adam Jones, Colorado Mammoth
6 goals, 1 assist
What a difficult week for picking the IL Indoor 3 Stars. There were loads of excellent performances but nobody running away from the pack. Even Adam Jones wasn’t a slam dunk here. But the drama pushes him over the top. Five straight goals, three of them within 27 seconds and one with less than two seconds to play to win the game 11-10. That is quite a flurry to finish. You could throw a blanket over the space on the floor from which Jones scored the first five of his goals; he’s some kind of shooter and that lefty shooter spot is clearly his favourite launching point.
Mitch Jones, Buffalo Bandits
5 goals, 1 assist
How often do you score five goals including the overtime winner and not even top the list of players with your last name for the week? Mitch Jones had a breakout night as the Bandits stunned the Rush by almost doubling the average number of goals they allow per game. If you didn’t get to see the game and were thinking from his output that Jones must have been shifted up to forward, think again. Jones scored his goals in transition and he wasn’t just leaking out all night long; he played a pretty solid defensive game. Jones will probably find himself going out the front door at some point in his career but for now D first is his key to sticking in the lineup and he’s showing that he’s up to the challenge.
Kasey Beirnes (Toronto): 6g. 1a. Beirnes was great for the Rock; his sock trick just didn’t have the drama of the Joneses’ performances, given that it came in a 17-6 blowout. He pointed out post-game that it was the equipment guy’s fault that he didn’t have 7 goals, for giving him size 10 and a half shoes instead of 10s. Yes, Beirnes was joking about the goal he had called back because his toes were on the crease line, but he was that far from adding another tally…Jordan Hall (New England): 3g, 6a, 10LB. There was plenty of glory to be shared among the Black Wolves and we’ll see some of Hall’s teammates further down this list, but Hall appears first because he achieved his hat trick on just three shots on goal (he also missed the net twice, but that’s still not a lot of total shots). He’s starting to be just the player the franchise hoped they were getting back when they traded for him a few weeks ago…Kyle Rubisch (Saskatchewan): 1a, 20LB, 9CTO. Yes, Saskatchewan gave up 19 goals but on many of them the team’s defenders were just racing onto the floor, chasing Bandits transition players and forwards who had the jump on them coming off the bench. Rubisch did what we’ve gotten used to from him when the Rush D is in place: dominate…Jesse King (Georgia): 4g,6a. I gave King serious consideration to be one of the 3 Stars. This may have been the best performance of what has been an excellent rookie season. It also moved him within a point of teammate Randy Staats for the rookie scoring lead…Rob Hellyer (Toronto): 3g, 8a. Hellyer wasn’t even picked as one of the 3 Stars in Toronto’s win over Rochester. Understandable given the numbers some teammates posted, but Hellyer was sensational again for the Rock and is the fulcrum of that offence…Nick Rose (Toronto): 52/58, .897 save percentage. Rose got lots of attention last week because he played well and scored a goalie goal. But he was head and shoulders above last week’s performance this time around. Rose faced a lot of shots but didn’t appear to be heavily tested; attribute that to solid defence by the guys in front of him but also excellent positioning by Rose. And he sure did come through with a few spectacular saves when he had to…Callum Crawford (Colorado): 1g, 5a. Everybody knew Adam Jones had the hot hand, so getting the ball to him with the final seconds ticking down was no easy feat. Crawford made his best of a handful of assists in the game when he ran around for most of the final possession before dishing to Jones for the last-second dagger…Shawn Evans (New England): 3g, 7a, 11LB. When Evans was traded to New England, everyone said he would help the team but obviously he wouldn’t put up 130 points again. Well, Evans is 9 points ahead of where he was after seven games last year and he’s on pace for 134 this season. His output for the last five games (45 points, 9 per game) is actually higher than Dhane Smith’s season average…Dhane Smith (Buffalo): 4g, 4a. You’re really having a season when you can score 8 points and it just seems like another game. Smith will be more excited about Buffalo’s big win than his addition to his league-leading total, though…Alexis Buque (Colorado): 11/13, .846 save percentage. The own-goal that wasn’t and Jones’ clutch sock trick overshadowed an outstanding relief appearance from Buque…Tyler Digby (Calgary): 3g, 3a. Digby is fitting in nicely with the Roughnecks and continuing to show surprising athleticism for his size…Kedoh Hill (Buffalo): 1g, 4a, 9LB, 3CTO. Much like Jones, Hill’s playing time depends on his performance in his own end first. He had flashes of excellence there and helped out on the score sheet as well…Tyler Richards (Vancouver): 47/58, .810 save percentage. Rhys Duch and Logan Schuss each had 3 goals and 3 assists, but nothing in the tough loss to Colorado could have been more promising for Stealth fans than the return to his old form of the franchise’s top goalie…Josh Sanderson (Toronto): 3g, 4a. Sanderson was on his passing game right out of the gate on his return from the PUP list, but him finding his…