Selecting the top three player performances from a half dozen National Lacrosse League games is no easy task, but Stephen Stamp was up to the challenge with his Three Stars of NLL Week 11 on IL Indoor. Find preview below and click the link to see which players had the biggest impact over the weekend.
“Some weekends, the IL Indoor National Lacrosse League 3 Stars just seem to pick themselves,” Stamp writes. “Others, like this past weekend, I have to sift through scads of performances that could earn one of the top three spots among all the league’s players. Week 11 saw plenty of players step up, including a pair of first-game players who were knocking at the door of the 3 Stars. Jeremy Noble made his long-awaited debut and managed to upstage the spectacular start produced by under-the-radar Edmonton Rush rookie Tyler Melnyk. While Noble has long been expected to make an impact in the league once he arrived, Melnyk’s 4-goal effort in his first time in an NLL lineup was much more of a surprise. Good for both of them making good in their first games. Keep it up and one day you’ll find yourselves among the anointed three.”
Mark Matthews, Edmonton Rush
4 goals, 5 assists
Much as Noble may have stolen some of Melnyk’s thunder by having such a big debut game the night after Melnyk got his big break and took advantage of it, Melnyk did much the same to Matthews on Saturday. It’s a great story that the Albertan worked his way to the NLL, playing with Langley in the WLA after a standout career with the RMLL’s Jr A Calgary Mountaineers and eventually earning an active roster spot only to cash in with 4 goals. But Matthews matched those 4 goals and added 5 assists to lead the Edmonton destruction of Vancouver. He and Adam Jones are the only NLL players averaging over 3 goals per game (28 goals in 9 games each).
Rob Hellyer, Toronto Rock
5 goals, 9 assists
Could easily have repeated as the first star. You watch Hellyer play and keep thinking he’s got to come back to earth at some point, because the numbers he’s putting up are such a huge leap in his production from his first three years in the NLL in particular, and even on the strong season he had in 2014. While his production may slow down at some point, his success is no fluke, though. Hellyer makes good shooting decisions and is accurate when he does pull the trigger, he has outstanding floor vision and he passes exceptionally well. All the ingredients for a long and successful career.
Matt Vinc (Rochester): 41 saves, .854 save percentage. Vinc moved into the league lead in save percentage with his stellar performance. While there are serious competitors, a fifth goalie of the year award in the last six seasons is certainly not out of the question…Adam Jones(Colorado): 4g, 1a. Jones has been scoring from everywhere this year: he even included a Drew Westervelt-esque dunk goal Sunday night…Chris Corbeil (Edmonton): 2g, 6LB, 5CTO. Second highest caused turnover total of the weekend (behind teammate John Lintz), scooped some loosies and potted a pair of goals…Kedoh Hill (Buffalo): 5g, 2a. Made up for taking a bad penalty in a big way with his natural hat trick in Buffalo’s win over Toronto…Jeremy Noble (Colorado): 2g, 5a. Certainly didn’t look like he hadn’t played box lacrosse since last July as he made his debut with Colorado…Tyler Melnyk (Edmonton): 4g, 1a. Great underdog story: Melnyk spent half the season on the practice squad after being taken 19th overall by the Rush in last year’s draft. He clearly spent the time getting ready to play because he burst onto the scene Saturday night…Mark Steenhuis (Buffalo): 2g, 10a. Known for his creative and flamboyant goal scoring, Steenhuis reminded everyone over the weekend that when he’s on his game he can be a tremendous playmaker…Stephan Leblanc (Toronto): 2g, 9a. Typically understated but critical contribution to the Rock…Dillon Ward (Colorado): 41 saves, .837 save percentage. The score didn’t reflect how close Sunday night’s game in Denver was, largely because Ward made huge saves such as…