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WK
1
Fri, Dec 2
FINAL
Philadelphia
8
Halifax
18
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Vancouver
8
Toronto
19
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
San Diego
15
New York
14
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Albany
11
Buffalo
10
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Rochester
16
Georgia
11
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Colorado
6
Saskatchewan
18
WK
2
Fri, Dec 9
20:30:00
Las Vegas
Panther City
Fri, Dec 9
22:00:00
Saskatchewan
San Diego
Sat, Dec 10
19:00:00
Toronto
Rochester
Sat, Dec 10
21:30:00
Vancouver
Calgary
WK
3
Fri, Dec 16
22:00:00
Calgary
Vancouver
Fri, Dec 16
22:30:00
Panther City
Las Vegas
Sat, Dec 17
19:00:00
Buffalo
Toronto
Sat, Dec 17
19:00:00
Rochester
Albany
Sat, Dec 17
19:00:00
Philadelphia
Georgia
Sat, Dec 17
19:30:00
Halifax
New York
Sat, Dec 17
20:00:00
Colorado
Panther City
WK
5
Fri, Dec 30
19:30:00
Halifax
Buffalo
Fri, Dec 30
21:00:00
San Diego
Calgary
Sat, Dec 31
21:00:00
Panther City
Saskatchewan
WK
6
Fri, Jan 6
22:30:00
Philadelphia
Las Vegas
Sat, Jan 7
19:00:00
Panther City
Rochester
Sat, Jan 7
19:00:00
Halifax
Albany
Sat, Jan 7
19:00:00
Buffalo
Georgia
Sat, Jan 7
19:30:00
Toronto
New York
Sat, Jan 7
22:00:00
Calgary
Colorado
Sat, Jan 7
22:00:00
Vancouver
San Diego
WK
7
Fri, Jan 13
18:30:00
Albany
Halifax
Fri, Jan 13
21:00:00
Saskatchewan
Colorado
Sat, Jan 14
19:00:00
Halifax
Toronto
Sat, Jan 14
19:00:00
Panther City
Philadelphia
Sat, Jan 14
19:30:00
Georgia
Buffalo
Sat, Jan 14
21:00:00
San Diego
Calgary
Sat, Jan 14
22:00:00
Las Vegas
Vancouver
Sun, Jan 15
15:00:00
Rochester
New York
WK
8
Fri, Jan 20
19:30:00
Buffalo
Rochester
Fri, Jan 20
22:30:00
Vancouver
Las Vegas
Sat, Jan 21
19:00:00
New York
Albany
Sat, Jan 21
19:00:00
Toronto
Philadelphia
WK
9
Fri, Jan 27
18:00:00
Rochester
Halifax
Fri, Jan 27
19:00:00
Buffalo
Philadelphia
Sat, Jan 28
19:30:00
Buffalo
New York
Sat, Jan 28
20:30:00
Las Vegas
Saskatchewan
Sat, Jan 28
21:00:00
Toronto
Calgary
Sat, Jan 28
21:00:00
San Diego
Colorado
Sat, Jan 28
22:00:00
Panther City
Vancouver
WK
10
Fri, Feb 3
21:00:00
Georgia
Colorado
Sat, Feb 4
18:00:00
Calgary
Halifax
Sat, Feb 4
19:00:00
New York
Toronto
Sat, Feb 4
19:00:00
Albany
Philadelphia
Sat, Feb 4
19:30:00
Rochester
Buffalo
Sat, Feb 4
22:00:00
Panther City
San Diego
Sat, Feb 4
22:00:00
Saskatchewan
Vancouver
Sat, Feb 4
22:30:00
Colorado
Las Vegas
WK
11
Fri, Feb 10
19:30:00
Toronto
Georgia
Fri, Feb 10
21:00:00
Saskatchewan
Calgary
Sat, Feb 11
19:00:00
Halifax
Rochester
Sat, Feb 11
19:30:00
Albany
New York
Sat, Feb 11
20:00:00
Vancouver
Panther City
Sat, Feb 11
21:00:00
Colorado
Calgary
WK
12
Fri, Feb 17
22:00:00
Saskatchewan
San Diego
Fri, Feb 17
22:00:00
Calgary
Vancouver
Sat, Feb 18
19:00:00
Georgia
Toronto
Sat, Feb 18
19:00:00
Las Vegas
Albany
Sat, Feb 18
19:30:00
Philadelphia
Buffalo
Sat, Feb 18
20:00:00
Colorado
Panther City
Sun, Feb 19
13:00:00
New York
Halifax
WK
13
Fri, Feb 24
21:00:00
Panther City
Colorado
Fri, Feb 24
22:30:00
Calgary
Las Vegas
Sat, Feb 25
19:00:00
New York
Rochester
Sat, Feb 25
19:00:00
Albany
Georgia
Sat, Feb 25
20:00:00
Vancouver
Saskatchewan
WK
14
Fri, Mar 3
18:30:00
Buffalo
Halifax
Sat, Mar 4
11:30:00
New York
Philadelphia
Sat, Mar 4
16:00:00
Las Vegas
San Diego
Sat, Mar 4
19:00:00
Rochester
Toronto
Sat, Mar 4
19:00:00
Georgia
Albany
Sat, Mar 4
20:00:00
Saskatchewan
Panther City
Mon, Mar 6
19:00:00
Toronto
Philadelphia
WK
15
Fri, Mar 10
19:30:00
Halifax
Buffalo
Fri, Mar 10
21:00:00
Calgary
Colorado
Sat, Mar 11
19:00:00
Albany
Toronto
Sat, Mar 11
19:30:00
Philadelphia
New York
Sat, Mar 11
20:30:00
San Diego
Saskatchewan
Sat, Mar 11
22:30:00
Vancouver
Las Vegas
Sun, Mar 12
16:00:00
Rochester
Georgia
WK
16
Fri, Mar 17
21:00:00
Saskatchewan
Calgary
Fri, Mar 17
22:00:00
San Diego
Vancouver
Sat, Mar 18
11:00:00
Georgia
Philadelphia
Sat, Mar 18
18:00:00
Toronto
Halifax
Sat, Mar 18
19:30:00
Albany
New York
Sat, Mar 18
19:30:00
Colorado
Buffalo
Sat, Mar 18
20:00:00
Las Vegas
Panther City
Sun, Mar 19
15:00:00
Philadelphia
Rochester
WK
17
Fri, Mar 24
20:30:00
San Diego
Panther City
Sat, Mar 25
19:00:00
Toronto
Albany
Sat, Mar 25
19:00:00
Halifax
Philadelphia
Sat, Mar 25
19:30:00
Georgia
New York
Sat, Mar 25
21:30:00
Calgary
Saskatchewan
Sat, Mar 25
22:00:00
Buffalo
San Diego
Sat, Mar 25
22:00:00
Colorado
Vancouver
Sat, Mar 25
22:30:00
Rochester
Las Vegas
WK
18
Fri, Mar 31
20:00:00
New York
Georgia
Fri, Mar 31
21:00:00
Las Vegas
Colorado
Fri, Mar 31
22:00:00
Calgary
San Diego
Sat, Apr 1
19:00:00
Buffalo
Toronto
Sat, Apr 1
20:00:00
Albany
Panther City
Sat, Apr 1
21:30:00
Vancouver
Saskatchewan
Sun, Apr 2
13:00:00
Georgia
Halifax
Sun, Apr 2
18:00:00
Rochester
Philadelphia
WK
19
Sat, Apr 8
19:00:00
Albany
Rochester
Sat, Apr 8
19:00:00
Saskatchewan
Georgia
Sat, Apr 8
21:00:00
Panther City
Calgary
Sat, Apr 8
21:00:00
Vancouver
Colorado
Sat, Apr 8
22:30:00
San Diego
Las Vegas
WK
20
Fri, Apr 14
21:00:00
Las Vegas
Calgary
Fri, Apr 14
21:00:00
San Diego
Colorado
Sat, Apr 15
19:00:00
Philadelphia
Toronto
Sat, Apr 15
19:00:00
Georgia
Albany
Sat, Apr 15
19:30:00
New York
Buffalo
Sat, Apr 15
21:30:00
Halifax
Saskatchewan
Sat, Apr 15
22:00:00
Panther City
Vancouver
WK
21
Fri, Apr 21
20:30:00
Calgary
Panther City
Sat, Apr 22
18:00:00
New York
Halifax
Sat, Apr 22
19:00:00
Georgia
Rochester
Sat, Apr 22
20:00:00
Toronto
Buffalo
Sat, Apr 22
21:30:00
Colorado
Saskatchewan
Sat, Apr 22
22:00:00
Las Vegas
San Diego
Sun, Apr 23
15:00:00
Philadelphia
Albany
WK
22
Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
Philadelphia
Rochester
Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
Buffalo
Albany
Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
Halifax
Georgia
Sat, Apr 29
22:00:00
Colorado
San Diego
Sat, Apr 29
22:00:00
New York
Vancouver
Sat, Apr 29
22:30:00
Saskatchewan
Las Vegas
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Off To The Races: Rock Vs. Black Wolves

The Toronto Rock (12-4) might be welcoming legendary captain Colin Doyle back into the lineup as the team’s trek toward a first-place finish in the East Division continues on Friday against the New England Black Wolves (4-9), who are fighting to stay in the playoff race, at Air Canada Centre at 7:30 p.m. ET. Watch on NLL LIVE in the U.S. and TSN GO in Canada.

According to TorontoRock.com, the long-time Rock forward Doyle was added to the active roster on Wednesday afternoon, marking Friday night as potentially his first game since the 2014 playoff loss to Buffalo on May 3.

“He looked very good in practice last night [Tuesday], he took full contact,” said Rock head coach John Lovell.

The Doyle injury, suffered during the offseason, looked sure to leave a gapping hole in the Toronto offence, but the Rock persevered and found compensation with the successes of Rob Hellyer (86 points) and Brett Hickey (41 goals) this season. But that solace was partly taken away on March 21 when Hellyer fell to injury against the Edmonton Rush. It was a sudden exit of 86 points from the Rock lineup.

Cue the acquisition of Kevin Crowley ahead of the trade deadline. The deal sent league all-star and multi 100-point man Garrett Billings to New England in the blockbuster one-for-one trade.  For two weeks, Toronto carried a conventional six-man offense including Stephan Leblanc, Kasey Beirnes, Kevin Ross, Josh Sanderson, Crowley and Hickey. As Doyle prepares to make his long-awaited return, the Rock are faced with the decision of whether or not to carry seven guys on the offensive front. Doing so would leave just nine guys on the backend, an unconventional lineup approach not at all explored by Toronto this season.

“If that’s what we end up doing, we can do it,” said Rock owner and general manager Jamie Dawick after last Friday night’s win over the Stealth. “We’re typically a six [forwards] and 10 [defenders] team, so I imagine we’ll go seven and nine for a least a game.”

Whatever the case may be on Friday, Toronto’s only focus will be a potential first place finish and the obstacle standing in the way – in this case the floundering New England Blackwolves. The Rock are in the midst of a trench war with the Edmonton Rush (10-5) and the Rochester Knighthawks (10-4) for that first place overall spot, a position which awards the holder with a first-round post-season bye and home floor advantage throughout the playoffs.

“Mathematically, we still have a chance to get first place…so we just got to take care of business ourselves,” said Lovell. “We’re expecting a tough game because New England is fighting for similar things, they are trying to get into the playoffs.”

While there are a number of possible scenarios to which a first place position could be earned, Toronto’s best chance is to win their last two remaining games (both against New England) to give them a 14-4 regular season record. If done, the Rock would fend of a surging Edmonton Rush team who cannot finish better than 13 wins. Rochester however, could still leap-frog the Rock as the they hold the tiebreaker should the two teams finish with identical 14-4 records.

Lovell preaches the mantra of self-awareness and nothing else ahead of the final steps of battle. The second-year coach looks only within the confines to which the Rock can control. The Rock’s successes this season can be attributed to a well-balanced lacrosse game, a good offense (12.8 goals per game), a better defense (10.37 goals against average) and nearly the league’s best goaltending (third at a combined .790 save percentage).

A big pat on the back has to go to coach Lovell, who has successfully managed a two-goalie system in Toronto. Perhaps not by design (Miller started the Rock’s first three games), Miller and Rose have shared the load almost equally over the second half of the season. Sharing identical 6-2 records thus far, Rock and Miller each have turned away 250 shots this year.

“It’s been different for me, but it’s something that most teams don’t have the luxury of. It’s something new and it’s something quite advantageous,” said Rock goalie Brandon Miller. “The two goalie system is probably a good reason why we’ve been so successful.”

For the Black Wolves, the team hopes to use the game as a springboard in their push for the playoffs. In the team’s previous game against the Rock on February 20, the Black Wolves lost 13-12 in overtime. With their postseason hopes slowly fading, the pack will look to bounce back from a tough loss to the Stealth and get a much needed win against the Rock.

“It is a disappointing loss,” said Black Wolves head coach Blane Harrison. “Last weekend, we thought we were good enough to win that game. Other than face offs, we loose-balled them, we outshot them, and we got good quality shots. Unfortunately, we couldn’t finish and that was the determining factor in the game. Otherwise, it was a game that I thought we played well enough to win, but we didn’t and that’s the bottom line. The final score is the only metric that matters.”

During their Week 8 matchup, the Black Wolves outshot the Rock by almost ten shots on goal, and picked up 77 loose-balls. The production continued in face-offs, with the pack taking 21 of the 29 face-offs in the game. However, the Black Wolves’ defense could not hold up, allowing the Rock to score 5 goals in the fourth quarter tying the score at 12.

“That was a solid game for us,” Harrison said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t hold onto a lead and we let it get away from us in overtime. We’ll look at the lineup; there are a couple of things we’ve got to tweak up. I did like the shot production. I think Brett Hull once said that he doesn’t care if he scores, just as long as his chances are there he’ll shoot his way out of it. I feel the same way here.”

“We’ve got to continue to generate our chances. Start burying them. Shoot our way out of our offensive slump, and then have our defense hold serve. Then we’ll give ourselves a pretty good chance to be competitive,” added Harrison.

A player that has started to generate more shots for the Black Wolves since his debut is rookie forward Mark Cockerton. Cockerton averages about 6.5 shots on goal per game, hitting the back of the net at least once each game. He also averages about 2 assists a game, helping his teammates to get more shot opportunities. Though he started the 2015 season late due to an injury, Cockerton continues to work on improving in all aspects of the game.

“I just feel like I’m trying to get better each week,” Cockerton said. “At the beginning of the year, I was playing a lot of field lacrosse, just trying to get in the mode of box lacrosse again. I feel like every week in practice, I’m trying to go as hard as I can, and just trying to get better each and every practice. Really come back into the fold of box lacrosse and finishing.”

“The speed of the game is a lot different, but I’ve made a lot of progress. The coaches do a great job and I’ve been following them a lot. I really like to play with Garrett Billings; he really opens it up for the lefties. He’s faster and I feel like that’s going to help me out a lot too,” noted Cockerton.

The Black Wolves are fighting to earn the third and final playoff spot in the East Division and the real battle comes in their final games of the season. Each opponent in their next matchups are East teams, and with the pack’s dreams of the postseason dangling by a thread, they will need to win out in order to guarantee themselves a playoff spot. It all starts with their Friday night rematch in Toronto.

“We do have five games left, and mathematically we’re still in it,” Harrison said. “It can be, in totality, a pretty daunting challenge. We’re going to have to go into these next five games playing one shift at a time, and give our best effort to give ourselves a chance.”

“We have five games left, and mathematically we have got to win them all,” added Cockerton. “We’re still in it, we play Buffalo two more times, so if we can get those wins we’re right there, we’re right back in it. We have a big one this weekend at Toronto, against the number one team in the league right now. We’ve got to come to play and get that win first and foremost and move on from there.”

By Justin Millerson (@RockBeatToronto) and Alyssa McLaughlin (@BlackWolvesBeat) for NLL.com. Photo by Graig Abel.

NLL