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Joey Res vs Captain America in Tonight’s Critical Game of the Week on TSN

Captain America plays a starring role at the centre of the Canadian lacrosse universe.

But this week Toronto Rock forward Tom Schreiber welcomes another American superstar scorer, Philadelphia Wings veteran Joe Resetarits, to FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton for Saturday’s NLL Game of the Week on TSN (7 pm ET; TSN4/ESPN+).

“No one has benefited more from the American tag than me,” says Schreiber. “I don’t think [Joey Res has] had the same advantage. He’s a superstar in this league and deserves a ton of respect.”

Schreiber and Resetarits were the only two American players in league history to record 100 or more points in a season, now adding Connor Fields to the exclusive club with his season in Rochester.

Resetarits, who started playing in the NLL in 2013 with Calgary, was the first to accomplish the feat, notching 100 in 2018 with Rochester. He then upped the ante by netting 111 points last season with Albany.

Schreiber joined Resetarits this season after scoring nine points against Buffalo on April 1. He’s currently sitting at 104 to lead the Rock.

“Joey Res was one of the few American forwards in the league when I started playing and he certainly played a role in showing that Americans can do it,” Schreiber, who started in the NLL with Toronto in 2017, says. “I hope to have a similar impact on the next generation of American born players.

“Box lacrosse is certainly on the rise in the U.S. More and more young players are stepping inside the box and it has been great to see the progress over the last few years.”

Resetarits is equally as effusive. “It’s really special being able to be in such a club,” he says. “I think having two, now three, Americans in the mix speaks to lacrosse gaining footing in the States and being one of the fastest growing sports in the country. It only goes up from here.

“I think it demonstrates to keep at it, to keep putting in the hard work and to keep pursuing your goals and your dreams. There is no time like the present to go after what you want. The future of the game and the opportunities for U.S. players is bright.”

The Rock’s future includes the 2023 NLL playoffs. Toronto at 12-4 has already locked down a postseason spot, a Quarterfinals home game, and are looking for home-field advantage through the remainder of the postseaosn.

The Wings, meanwhile, are 7-8 and in a logjam with Georgia and Halifax for the fourth and final East Conference playoff berth. Philadelphia played last week, beating Rochester with Resetarits scoring the OT winner, while Toronto had a bye after a big win over rival Buffalo.

“It was huge to grab a win in our last game in front of the home crowd in Philly, and to do it in overtime gave us an even bigger boost as we head into the final few games,” says Resetarits, who has 93 points for the Wings in his first season with the team. “We have been fighting for the playoffs since the season began, and to put ourselves into a situation where we control our own destiny is something that certainly fuels our fire.”

Philadelphia will be trying to keep the momentum going against the Rock.

“We need to continue to rely on our offensive skill set,” Resetarits says. “We have one of the most skilled forward groups in the league and I think we’ve shown that throughout the season. It’s up to us on the offensive side of the ball to put up the scoring we need to win.

“Scoring early and often is always an important thing to do, especially against a team like Toronto. Leads against them can evaporate quickly, so we need to play a full [game] to grab the win.”

Schreiber and the Rock will similarly try to counteract the Wings. “We are focused on the little things,” he says. “Offensively, we are looking to limit transition and take high-quality shots from high-percentage spots on the floor.”

Toronto and Philadelphia have played twice already this season with both games at Wells Fargo Center. The Rock easily won the first game 14-5 on Jan. 21, while the Wings held on in a tight one last time out 11-10 on March 6.

“There are always things to take away from previous matchups,” says Schreiber. “Philly is a dangerous team on all sides of the floor and we need to limit their strengths and take advantage of our opportunities.”

Resetarits knows how important Saturday’s contest is to Philly and their faithful.

“We all agree in that locker room that we are a much better team today than we were in January, and that shows in the way we played against them in March,” he says.

“This group, and our fans, are hungry for a playoff run and this game at Toronto is just the next hurdle on our way towards achieving that goal. We’re focused on continuing to play our brand of lacrosse, and that last Toronto game is certainly a good example of what the outcome can be if we stick to it.”

Joey Res and Captain America, two of the NLL’s biggest stars and heroes in both the U.S. and Canada.

“Like anyone else,” says Schreiber, “we’re two guys doing what we can to help our teams to be successful.”