Week 7 Features Bitter Rivals, Old Friends and Crazy Weather
January 14, 2024By: Jon Rapoport
Albany is The Class of the NLL Right Now
The unstoppable Albany FireWolves continued their early season dominance, moving to 6-0 in the wake of a 12-8 celebration over the high-performing Georgia Swarm as freezing temperatures battered the Southern US. The final score wasn’t indicative of Albany’s utter dominance throughout, with the club from New York’s capital cruising to a 10-3 third quarter lead, turning the highly anticipated matchup into a walk in the park for Glenn Clark’s juggernaut. Nine players entered the goal scoring column for Albany, with Ethan Walker netting two and rookie sensation Alex Simmons scoring one, to go along with four assists.
For the suburban Atlanta side of the equation, the great Lyle Thompson came to play as usual, tallying a hat trick and one assist. Brendan Bomberry added two goals, with Shayne Jackson assisting on four of the Swarm’s scores. Despite the disappointing loss, Georgia remains in a strong position with a 4-2 record.
The FireWolves quest for 7-0 comes in the name of a January 20 home game against the San Diego Seals.
You Could Cut the Tension With a Knife in Rochester
With snow falling and wind speeds as high as 50 MPH raging outside of downtown Rochester’s Blue Cross Arena, two teams separated by just 74 miles had it out in a game where tempers flared and ample goals were scored. The Bandits and Knighthawks battle featured multiple first quarter fights, 37 combined penalty minutes, all culminating in a 15-13 Buffalo victory.
The Bandits finally took control of the largely seesaw affair when scoring five consecutive fourth quarter goals, flipping a two-score deficit to a 15-12 lead, of which the defending champs would never relinquish. Josh Byrne lit the lamp on three occasions, including two consecutive fourth quarter efforts that sealed things for the visitors. Chris Cloutier added three goals and two assists, with the Knighthawks Ryan Smith collecting nine points (five goals, four assists) in bitter cold defeat.
Matt Vinc won his 150th career game, becoming the first player in NLL league history to do so.
8,167 hardy Western New Yorkers braved the elements to watch these archrivals play a highly entertaining game.
Byrnzy goes back-to-back to give the Bandits a 14-12 lead over Rochester in the 4th
Seals’ Grueling Weekend Schedule Culminates in Glory
With below-zero windchills turning the Colorado landscape into a temporary Ice Age, the squad from San Diego conquered Ball Arena, easily defeating the hometown Mammoth 12-8. Austin Staats opened the festivities with three consecutive first-quarter goals. The Seals grew this initial 3-0 advantage into a scenario that never saw the 2022 champs come closer than three goals. In his season debut, Mac O’Keefe scored two goals for the boys from sunny San Diego, with Wes Berg adding one goal and six assists to the effort. The Seals successfully righted the ship 24 hours after leaving Las Vegas with a 10-8 defeat.
From the Colorado perspective, aside from Eli McLaughlin’s three-goal, three-assist and Connor Robinson’s two-goal, three-assist performance, the Mammoth were as flat as a pancake in this one. The outcome of the contest was never really in doubt.
Credit to the 9,652 hardy souls that dredged through the mile-high freezer to watch this matchup of Western rivals in person.
WHAT A START FOR, STAATS!
83 comes out on FIRE, scoring 3 in a row to kick things off in Colorado.
Panther City spent a relatively balmy MLK weekend in the Big Apple, galloping back to Texas with an impressive 14-12 triumph over the New York Riptide. PCLC’s Jonathan Donville set the pace for the three-year-old franchise when collecting a first quarter hat trick. Callum Crawford added a three-goal and three-assist parade, with 2022 fifth overall pick Jason Knox notching four goals of his own. Upon taking a 7-6 third quarter lead, PCLC put the pedal to the medal and left the Riptide in the dust.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, New York all-world forward Jeff Teat had a tremendous night, adding four goals and two assists to his resume, including a sweet behind-the-back helper to Larson Sundown.
Teater with the slick BTB pass, Larson Sundown the finish 😮
Curt Malawsky Took Center Stage in Roughnecks at Warriors Matchup
With an Artic Outflow circling British Columbia, longtime Roughnecks player/coach/executive Curt Malawsky welcomed his former team to Rogers Arena, with the first-year Warriors coach/general manager taking on Calgary in a game filled with palpable emotion and mutual respect. When the final horn sounded, it was the Roughnecks coming away with an impressive 14-7 victory. Tanner Cook was downright superb, collecting five goals and two assists, with Jesse King adding three goals and three assists to the cause. Not to be outdone, Josh Currier founds his way into a hat trick, while reigning MVP goaltender Christian Del Bianco resisted 48 of 55 shots in his direction.
Malawsky’s Warriors struggled as the game progressed, entering halftime down 10-4, courtesy of a Jeff Cornwall goal with one-second remaining in the first half. Vancouver could never close the six-goal margin, as Shane Simpson and the aforementioned Cook added the two final goals, allowing new Calgary coach Josh Sanderson the opportunity to claim victory in this Western Canada clash.
8,600 fans took on Mother Nature to be a part of this one.
Rush at Wings Cancelled Due to Weather
As a result of the horrific weather sweeping across much of Canada and the US, many Rush players were unable to safely travel to Philadelphia, forcing the NLL to cancel the scheduled Saturday night game. A makeup date has yet to be announced.
The Rock Remain Unbeaten
While the incredible play of the undefeated Albany FireWolves has garnered much of the lacrosse world’s attention, there is a perennially high-performing team in Ontario that is also playing some great lacrosse, though their successes have been occurring somewhat under the radar.
The six-time league champion Toronto Rock advanced to 4-0 on the season, thanks to an 11-9 victory over the Halifax Thunderbirds at Scotiabank Centre in front of nearly 9,000 fans. Corey Small scored on four occasions for Toronto, with Challen Rogers posting two goals and three assists. The Rock scored five of the first six goals, jumping out to 5-1 first quarter lead.
Randy Staats served as Halifax’s best player on this night, taking care of three goals and three assists. Ryan Terefenko scored twice, but it simply was not the Thunderbirds time to shine.
The Rock look to extend their unbeaten season next Saturday night, when Lyle Thompson and the Georgia Swarm trek up to Hamilton for a battle of four-win teams.
Seals Kick Off Demanding Weekend Of Games
The San Diego Seals’ weekend plans included a Friday night stop in Las Vegas, followed by a Saturday night adventure 750 miles due east in Denver. The rare road back-to-back began with the Seals going down to the Desert Dogs 10-8. Wesley Berg put his best foot forward for San Diego, tallying four goals and two assists, including two consecutive fourth quarter scores. Kyle Jackson found the back of the net three times, with Dane Dobbie notching one goal. After those three, the normally very deep Seals’ roster was nowhere to be found. A quiet night was shared by many.
The marquee performer for the Sin City squad was the great Jack Hannah, as he posted six total points, including four goals and two assists. Hannah’s three consecutive second quarter scores served as the launching pad of the Desert Dogs separation from their closest geographical rival. Zack Greer penciled in eight total points, while teammate Rob Hellyer was on the hook for five total points.
The Desert Dogs are off next weekend, while the Seals visit the still undefeated FireWolves.
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