Preview the Three Stars of NLL Week 17 below as Stephen Stamp from IL Indoor breaks down the top player performances from the four National Lacrosse League games this past weekend. With the playoffs just two weeks away as the schedule heads into the Week 18 finale, teams need their stars to shine the brightest this time of year as they vie for the right to hoist the Champion’s Cup.
“What a weekend for the Buffalo Bandits,” Stamp writes. “They officially clinched a berth in the 2015 National Lacrosse League playoffs, but that really felt like a formality going into the weekend. They did something more important, which was to pull together all facets of their game and build momentum heading into the post-season. You think Rochester and Toronto didn’t notice that the Bandits put up 37 goals while only allowing 18? Admittedly, it was against a pair of teams with nine wins between them, but it’s not good news for anyone they’ll meet in May that Mark Steenuis, Ryan Benesch and Dhane Smith are all firing on all cylinders and Anthony Cosmo is looking as sharp as he has in years. With the weekend they had, can the Bandits earn the rare IL Indoor NLL 3 Stars sweep?”
Ryan Benesch, Buffalo Bandits
8 goals, 9 assists
With his big weekend, Benny cracked the 100-point plateau for the first time, exceeding his previous career high of 95 when he led the league in goals and points. He’s led a Bandits offence that has grown very dangerous this year, trailing only Edmonton and Toronto in goals scored. His willingness, even eagerness, to go to the middle of the floor is the catalyst that opens up space for the rest of the Bandits.
Cody Jamieson, Rochester Knighthawks
3 goals, 7 assists
Jammer gets in the way of the sweep, edging out Coz for the third star. From the time he scored 20 seconds in through assists on the Knighthawks final two goals late in the fourth quarter, Jamieson put his stamp on Rochester’s 14-6 domination of New England. While he’s flirting with missing the league’s top 10 in scoring for the first time since his rookie season of 2011 (he’s currently 11th, tied with Steenhuis and just one point back of Curtis Dickson), Jamieson is heating up at the right time for a Knighthawks team that always seems to hit its stride come playoff time.
Anthony Cosmo (Buffalo): 85/103, .825 save percentage. Cosmo has matched his 2009 career high of nine wins. Now he’ll want to improve on the surprisingly low number of career playoff wins he has: just three, including two last year…Robert Church (Edmonton): 3g, 4a. Church has quietly asserted himself as one of the top offensive players in the league in his sophomore season. He’s in the top 10 in goals (37), assists (55) and points (92)…Angus Goodleaf (Rochester): 32/38, .842 save percentage. It was Goodleaf’s first start, but he certainly didn’t show any rust as he shut down the Black Wolves…Dhane Smith (Buffalo): 53g, 13a. Smith is five points shy of matching the 103 he scored in his first two seasons combined…Jordan McIntosh (Minnesota): 3g, 3a. JMac notches his first 6-point game of the season…Kyle Rubisch (Edmonton): 1a, 8LB, 4CTO. Rubisch may not be playing at the insanely high level he set for himself the last few years, but he’s still one of the best defenders in the league…Logan Schuss (Vancouver): 2g, 4a. Already has more assists in six games with Vancouver (21) than he had in nine games with Minnesota (18)…Miles Thompson (Minnesota): 3g, 2a. Thompson’s numbers compare quite well with Curtis Dickson’s from his rookie season: 26/33/59 vs 33/19/52. It bodes well for his…