fbpx

#FaceOffWeekend is This Weekend! Schedule

×
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
Powered By
MGM Logo
Scores / Schedule
Stories/Op-Ed

Is Christian Del Bianco The NLL’s Best Goaltender?

In an NLL Finals series that mirrored the intensity, suspense, thrill (and thankfully not gore) of an episode of Game of Thrones, Calgary Roughnecks goaltender Christian Del Bianco was able to bolster his claim to the throne as the league’s best goaltender as he out-battled Matt Vinc and the Buffalo Bandits en route to an NLL Cup.

As the adage goes, “To be the best, you have to beat the best,” and Del Bianco did just that in consecutive games while facing the six-time (potentially seven) Goaltender of the Year in Vinc. Much like a video game, Del Bianco needed to defeat the likes of other “bosses” before tackling the NLL’s supreme challenger. Before Vinc, Del Bianco had performances more masterful than Frank Scigliano and Dillon Ward who were across the floor in-between pipes: quite the list of goaltenders to outplay.

Long-dubbed as “The NLL’s best up-and-coming goaltender,” Del Bianco’s NLL Playoffs run was one for the ages. Del Bianco posted a 8.71 goals against average (GAA) and an .838 Save Percentage (SV%) throughout the playoffs, a rare performance among goaltenders who played at least three games in the postseason.

Included in those epic numbers are back-to-back games in which he allowed only four and seven goals versus the Colorado Mammoth and Bandits, respectively. During the matchup against the Mammoth, Del Bianco stopped 29 shots and shutout the visitors in the opening 30 minutes before surrendering a measly four goals in the second half and finishing with 47 saves. It was arguably the greatest NLL Playoffs performance in league history. To follow that with another epic outing on the road in “Banditland” and one of the toughest arenas to visit in the NLL in KeyBank Center against the league’s most potent offence was mind-boggling.

And while not his best game, in the most consequential game of his young career, Del Bianco made clutch save after clutch save to earn his team the most coveted trophy in the game.

Throughout the year, and especially during Game 2 of the NLL Finals, when the Roughnecks’ young goaltender was not in top-form, head coach Curt Malawsky and his tight knit staff’s confidence in Del Bianco never wavered because they have always known what he’s capable of since he entered the league.

“From day one, we haven’t worried about Christian,” said Malawsky. “I say that because we have one hundred percent trust in Christian and he proved why he earned that this year.”

Before the post-season began, Del Bianco showed flashes of his brilliance, allowing only five goals against twice and surrendering less than ten goals on five other occasions. Those efforts, including the stretch of games in the post-season, brought on deep admiration from veteran teammates such as Rhys Duch who has played with and against some of the NLL’s most feared goaltenders over the last decade.

“Del Bianco is a great goalie, and he’ll be a great goalie in this league,” said Duch. “But what he did during that final stretch of games – it’s tough to remember any goalie in the history of the league who put together a run like that.”

It may be expected for teammates to support each other like this, but it’s not always the case. It’s even harder to win over top-tier veteran players such as Duch and Curtis Dickson. Yet, Dickson, too is impressed with what Del Bianco has accomplished at his age.

“You don’t see that often when a player at his age steps up, and they have an impact that he did,” said Dickson. “To see the strides that he made this season, especially during the second half of the season, he was obviously a huge reason for why we got to where we did.”

With only two years under his belt as the starting goaltender, the Coquitlam native has already totaled 16 games in which he has played 45 minutes and allowed single-digit goals against. Del Bianco has also racked up 22 performances of at least 40 saves.

At the same point in his career, a young Matt Vinc had only five games in which he allowed less than ten goals in 45 minutes and six games with 40 or more saves. If Del Bianco were to continue at his current rate, he will statistically obliterate what one of the greatest goaltenders in NLL history has accomplished.

When a goaltender can produce results the way Del Bianco has, and then improve each year that he’s been a starter, as well as in the post-season, it gives his teammates confidence that they can rely on their man between the pipes.

Jesse King is new to the Roughnecks organization and he knows how much easier it makes his job in this new system. Having played with a skilled goaltender like Mike Poulin in Georgia for the Swarm, King appreciates having a reliable man in net.

“When you’ve got a guy like Christian who is stopping the opportunities that you’re trying to limit as a defence, you have the utmost confidence in a guy like that,” said King. “It allows you to settle in, relax and play your role better because you have that trust and confidence in one another,”

Del Bianco’s teammates greatly respect what he’s done at such a young age in this league and believe he can achieve even greater heights. Outside of the Roughnecks organization, the feel-ing is mutual, which is something to be feared considering a goaltender isn’t expected to hit his prime until his mid-20’s.

He has achieved as much as he has because of his ability to rebound after allowing a goal and process quickly to make in-game adjustments, his dedication in practice and his raw talent. These are treasured gifts we’ve seen him hone since Junior-A lacrosse with the Coquitlam Jr. Adanacs.

He has matured and improved every season and has now shown the world that even on the toughest stage in box lacrosse, he is the one to beat.

NLL