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Ten Things to Know for Week 16: ‘The March To May’ Continues With Seven Games

NLL Season Hits Final Six-Week Stretch; NLL Game of the Week on TSN Doubleheader Saturday Highlights Action

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, pushes further into the “March to May” with six weeks to go in the regular season. This Friday and Saturday, it’s a full schedule of seven contests, including an NLL Game of the Week on TSN doubleheader on Saturday, the first of which is the marquee matchup of the current league leader Toronto Rock (11-2) visiting the defending champion Buffalo Bandits (6-6) (7 p.m., TSN3, ESPN+).

Here are 10 things to know about the NLL entering Week 16:

  • Standing Zone: Last week’s game’s may have tightened the single-table standings even more, making the NLL playoff scenario gurus work a few extra hours in figuring out playoff clinches and scenarios: 10 teams are within two games between third and 12th place, and the battle for the eighth and final playoff spot sees five teams within 1 ½ games of the slot, currently tenuously held by New York at 6-7.

  • Deadline Doings: Have a hard time keeping up with all the player movement though Tuesday’s NLL trade deadline? So did we, so we let NLL.com’s Adam Levi sort it all out in this feature.

  • We’re No. 1… and No. 4… and No. 4: ESPN SportsCenter loved three NLL plays most of all, with Chris Cloutier (Kitchener, Ont.) going behind the back getting the No. 1 nod on Saturday night, this insane interception, deke and goal by Jesse King (Victoria, B.C.) ruling at No. 4 on Friday and Panther City’s Ryan Sheridan (Victoria, B.C.) checking in at No. 4 on Sunday in its Plays of the Day segments.

  • Metric Fields: In his relentless pursuit of the stories behind the numbers, NLL.com’s Cooper Perkins wondered how Rochester’s Connor Fields (East Amherst, N.Y.) could be leading the league in points per game and be on pace to break the NLL single-season points record of 137 set by Buffalo’s Dhane Smith (Kitchener, Ont.) in 2016. In this week’s LAXMetrics powered by NLL, Perkins explores whether Fields can keep up the pace.

  • Withers Lets Loose: Goals, assists, and goals against average get a lot of the statistical attention around here, but often it’s the plays before those flashier numbers that win games. Enter Halifax defender Jake Withers (Peterborough, Ont.), whose 214 loose ball recoveries are a full 82 more than his nearest competitor in the category, San Diego’s Trevor Baptiste (Denville, N.J.). And causing turnovers? That’s a much tighter race, with Vancouver’s Ryan Dilks (Edmonton, Alb.) with 29 just two better than Toronto’s Mitch de Snoo (Oshawa, Ont.)

  • Zeroing In: The Albany FireWolves and Vancouver Warriors battle of defenses was a historic one: they combined for a scoreless first quarter, the first time neither team failed to dent the net in the first period in nearly a decade; the last time it happened was 3/23/14, when Buffalo and Minnesota were 0-0 after one.

  • Rocky Top: A win over last year’s runner up Colorado Mammoth further solidified the Toronto Rock’s status as the No. 1 team in NLL.com’s Adam Levi’s Power Rankings for the fourth straight week. San Diego hops back over Albany in a switch of the No. 3 and No. 4 positions, with Georgia moving up to No. 4 and Halifax lurking at No. 5.

  • Luck of the Irish: Hurling may be the ball-and-stick game of choice in Ireland, but in North America this weekend, St. Patrick’s Day themes rule NLL arenas, with six of the seven games hosting nights celebrating the primary patron saint of the Emerald isle:

    • Halifax Thunderbirds hosting Panther City (Friday, 7:30 p.m. AT); Calgary entertaining San Diego (Friday, 7 p.m. MT), Vancouver taking on Las Vegas (Friday, 7 p.m. PT); Albany vs. Rochester (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET); Buffalo vs. Toronto (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET); and Saskatchewan vs. New York (Saturday, 8:30 p.m. CT). Erin go Bragh!

    • Though we’re sure that Georgia fans love St. Patrick’s Day as well, the Swarm look to expand lacrosse’s reach on “Grow the Game Night” vs. Philadelphia (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)

  • NLL Players reaching milestones last week included:

    • Panther City forward Phil Caputo (Brampton, Ont.) now has 101 goals after scoring two vs. Philadelphia

    • Philadelphia forward Ben McIntosh (Port Coquilam, B.C.) now has 300 goals after netting three vs. Panther City

    • Rochester forward Ryan Smith (Burlington, Ont.) now has 104 goals and 104 assists for 208 points after a five-goal, five-assist performance vs. Albany

    • Toronto forward Dan Craig (Shelburne, Ont) now has 301 points after collecting a goal and two assists vs. Colorado

    • Toronto goaltender Nick Rose (Orangeville, Ont.) now has 6360 saves, passing Dallas Eliuk for fifth all-time with 6360

  • Player achievements within reach this week are:

    • Albany forward Marshall Powless (Six Nations, Ont.) needs three points to reach 100

    • Buffalo defenseman Paul Dawson (Oakville, Ont.) needs four points to reach 100

    • Buffalo forward Chase Fraser (Vancouver) needs nine points to reach 200

    • Colorado defenseman Paul Dawson (Oakville, Ont.) needs four points to reach 100

    • Colorado forward Tyson Gibson (Maple, Ont.) needs four assists to reach 100

    • Colorado forward Connor Robinson (New Westminster, B.C.) needs three goals to reach 100; and one point to reach 200

    • Georgia forward Shayne Jackson (Bowmanville, Ont.) needs one assist to reach 500

    • Georgia defenseman/transition player Jeremy Thompson (Akwesasne, Ont.) needs two assists to reach 100

    • Halifax forward Ryan Benesch (Elmira, Ont.) needs one game played to pass Josh Sanderson for seventh on the all-time list with 269; and six goals to pass Dan Dawson for fourth on the all-time list with 552

    • Las Vegas forward Zack Greer (Whitby, Ont.) needs one assist to reach 300

    • Las Vegas forward Casey Jackson (Victoria, B.C.) needs five points to reach 200

    • Las Vegas goaltender Landon Kells (Fergus, Ont.) needs 22 saves to reach 1000

    • New York forward Connor Kearnan (Courtice, Ont.) needs two goals to reach 100

    • New York forward Kiel Matisz (Stony Creek, Ont.) needs seven goals to reach 200

    • New York forward Jeff Teat (Brampton, Ont.) needs one assist to reach 200

    • Panther City forward Callum Crawford (Ottawa, Ont.) needs four assists to pass John Grant Jr. for sixth on the all-time list with 779

    • Philadelphia forward Joe Resetarits (Hamburg, N.Y.) needs three goals to reach 300

    • San Diego forward Curtis Dickson (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) needs two goals to pass Colin Doyle for seventh all-time with 528; and one point to become the 16th player to reach 1000

    • San Diego defenseman/transition player Jesse Gamble (Rockwood, Ont.) needs five points to reach 100

    • San Diego forward Kyle Jackson (Sarnia, Ont.) needs four points to reach 300

    • Saskatchewan forward Ryan Keenan (Oshawa, Ont.) needs three points to reach 400

    • Toronto forward Chris Boushy (Oakville, Ont.) needs three points to reach 200

    • Toronto goaltender Nick Rose (Orangeville, Ont.) needs one win to pass Bob Watson for third all-time with 106

    • Vancouver forward Keegan Bal (Coquitlam, B.C.) needs seven points to reach 400

    • Vancouver forward Kevin Crowley (New Westminster, B.C.) needs nine assists to reach 500

    • Vancouver forward Kyle Killen (Caven, Ont.) needs three points to reach 200

    • Vancouver coach Curt Malawsky needs one win to pass Les Bartley for seventh all-time with 94 coaching wins

Schedule – Week 16 (All Times Eastern)

Friday

  • Panther City Lacrosse Club (6-6) at Halifax Thunderbirds (7-6), 6:30 p.m., ESPN+, TSN+ (Dalladay, Gregoire, M. Jenner)
  • San Diego Seals (9-4) at Calgary Roughnecks (5-7), 9 p.m., ESPN+, TSN+ (Farhall, Ballantine, McDonald)
  • Las Vegas Desert Dogs (4-8) at Vancouver Warriors (3-9), 10 p.m., ESPN+, TSN+, Silver Sports SEN (Elliott, Challoner, Chand)

Saturday

  • Rochester Knighthawks (5-6) at Albany FireWolves (10-3), 7 p.m., NLL Saturday Showcase, ESPN+, TSN+, My4 (Glasheen, Bahl, Onorato)
  • Toronto Rock (11-2) at Buffalo Bandits (6-6), 7 p.m., NLL Game of the Week on TSN, TSN3, ESPN+ (Abbott, Gregoire, Docking)

  • Philadelphia Wings (4-7) at Georgia Swarm (8-6), 7:30 p.m., ESPN+, TSN+, Peachtree Sports (Mooneyham, Hanover, Hoffman)

  • New York Riptide (6-7) at Saskatchewan Rush (4-6), 9:30 p.m., NLL Game of the Week on TSN, TSN3, ESPN+ (T. Jenner, Challoner, Chand)

NLL