The Vancouver Warriors won’t have the luxury of playing at Rogers Arena for most of the next two months, but maybe that’s a good thing? With a chance of dropping to an NLL-worst 0-4 on their home floor, the Warriors will have Saturday night’s contest to avoid that futile beginning.
Adding another loss to their overall record would send the Warriors to 1-6 on the year. If that were to happen, it would only be the third time in franchise history to start a season with that record or worse (2012 and 2018).
The team’s play of late isn’t reflected in their record and they are continuing to improve game after game. When their West Division rivals, the Colorado Mammoth, enter Rogers Arena in a couple nights, the Warriors defensive coach Clayton Richardson knows the team has to play 60 minutes of consistently strong defence.
“If anyone were to go back and watch the last three game we’ve played,” said Richardson. “I would say two to three of those quarters of each of those three games, we played defensively sound lacrosse and we’ve had a lot of success.”
“Where we’ve had errors is in transition, or not communicating on certain positions of the floor when teams are attacking. When we would make a mistake in those three games in those quarters we weren’t playing well, and they would capitalize on our mistakes.”
Regardless of the outcome of the match, there will be an unusual sight on the benches. As former teammates who were also on the same coaching staff for a few years as late as last season, Warriors head coach Chris Gill and Mammoth head coach Pat Coyle will square off for the first time as head coaches.
“It will feel a little different going against [Coyle]” said Gill. “But, you if you asked him, he’d probably say the same thing: It won’t be about us, it will be about our players.”
It will also likely be a special night for defensemen Ian Hawksbee who will crack the NLL’s all-time top-10 list of loose balls scooped up if he just collects two balls off the floor. He will pass Phil Sanderson who finished his career with 1266 LBs after a long career split between the Albany Attack, two stints with the Toronto Rock and the Buffalo Bandits.
This current three-game home stand hasn’t produced the wins needed to climb up the standings, but that isn’t discouraging Gill and his staff from trying to finish this final game at Rogers Arena before a two game home stand with a victory.
“We’re going to keep building,” said Gill. “This is a divisional game, a home game, the final game of the home stand. We want to keep building and get this win.”
The contest will take place on Saturday, January 26th at 10:00 pm EST and will be featured on B/R Live.