Which National Lacrosse League players stood out this past weekend? IL Indoor’s Stephen Stamp presents the Three Stars of NLL Week 15 which included several historic performances from some of the league’s very best pros. How to decide between a historic night and all-time single-season record? Find preview below and head over to Inside Lacrosse for the complete list.
“It’s a conundrum when choosing the IL Indoor National Lacrosse League 3 Stars to decide between a massive performance on the one hand and an excellent performance that sets an all-time record on the other hand,” Stamp writes. “This week that conundrum pits Brett Hickey and Shawn Evans against each other. The pair each had big weekends. Hickey set the Toronto Rock record for most goals in a game with 7 and added 4 assists. So he put up an 11-point weekend in just one game (production in one game versus two is another issue I weight weekly). Evans had a good game Friday night, when he scored three times and added an assist to help Calgary get a much-needed win over Edmonton. Then Saturday, he was a brilliant setup man, earning 7 assists to go with 1 goal and, of course, break John Grant Jr’s single-season scoring record.
“I went back and forth, but in the end Hickey winds up on top because his was the best performance of this week, and Evans lands in the top three for the combination of a very good weekend and posting the historic season number, which will grow over the final two weeks of the schedule.”
Brett Hickey, Toronto Rock
7 goals, 4 assists
Hickey was truly spectacular Friday night. His first goal came on a sidearm rip that rose to the top corner and almost blasted through the mesh; man, that kid shoots hard. He later bounced a shot off the turf well in front of the crease that also nestled into a top corner. He scored on a dive reaching around the goalie. He scored cutting to the net when he had to receive the pass, get the shot off and avoid the crease in a bang-bang play that showed his excellent hands. Hickey also made some lovely passes when the defence got out tight on him showing his game is evolving to make him a threat in multiple ways. He’s also a great kid. Who isn’t pulling for him to hit the 50-goal mark, other than New England, the team Toronto plays in their final two games?
Shawn Evans, Calgary Roughnecks
4 goals, 8 assists
Evans left himself plenty of work to do Saturday night when he scored “only” 4 points Friday night, equalling his lowest output of the season, if he wanted to break the season scoring record in 16 games. No problem, as it turned out. As he has done so often, Evans put on a passing clinic in racking up 7 assists. Five of them came in the second half, including three in the fourth quarter as Calgary tried to fight back into the game. Don’t expect him to slow down any in the Roughnecks’ final two games of the season; Calgary desperately needs wins to get into the playoffs and while Evans enjoys setting records, he’s really more motivated by winning, and scoring goals and setting up his teammates are the primary ways he helps his team win.
Ryan Benesch (Buffalo): 4g, 3a. He does it every week for the Bandits. Benesch can score from anywhere and will go anywhere to score…Curtis Dickson (Calgary): 7g, 2a. The toughest player to guard one on one in the NLL, Dickson leads the league with 46 goals, though Benesch sits just two back with a game in hand…Stephen Keogh (Rochester): 4g. Keogh has responded the best way he could to a season that has been a struggle and the potential threat to his roster spot posed by the acquisition of Joe Resetarits: he’s stepped up his game…Shayne Jackson(Minnesota): 5g, 1a. With Callum Crawford and Jordan MacIntosh out, everyone knows Jackson had to drive the Minnesota offense, but he broke through defensive pressure to give the Swarm a chance…Kevin Crowley (Toronto): 3g, 3a. Looked far more comfortable in the Toronto offence after having a chance to practice with the team…Mark Matthews (Edmonton): 5g, 4a. Don’t forget Matthews lurking in the hunt for the goal-scoring title; he has 43 with three games to play…Dane Dobbie (Calgary): 6g, 4a. Such a dangerous weapon when teammates spring him into the open…Dhane Smith (Buffalo): 2g, 5a. Matched Benesch’s 7 points to lead the Bandits to the verge of clinching a playoff berth…Nick Rose (Toronto): 42/49, .857 save percentage. Can a guy who only plays half his team’s games be the goalie of the year? If Rose keeps putting up…
Click here for Third Star and honorable mentions from Three Stars of NLL Week 15 by Stephen Stamp on IL Indoor.