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Game Previews

What to Expect: Week 11

All games can be seen on ESPN+ and TSN+

Fri. Feb. 10

Rock (6-2) at Swarm (0-5) – 7:30pm ET

Week 11 marks the halfway point of the NLL season (by date) and starts on Friday with the Rock going to Georgia to take on the Swarm.

Last weekend, the Rock put up the highest goal total by any team this season with their 22-14 win over the Riptide. They would score no less then four goals in a given quarter and was efficient on the powerplay, scoring on all three opportunities. Tom Schreiber recorded an astonishing 15 points (3g, 12a), two off the all-time record set by Mark Steenhuis. Six different Rock players had multi-goal games including Latrell Harris with a hattrick from the other end of the floor.

The Swarm are finally getting into the groove of playing games on a regular basis, with no more byes the remainder of the season. Last week in Colorado, the Swarm fell 13-10. The Mammoth held momentum through most of the game except in the third quarter where the Swarm would outscore the Mammoth 3-1 and take the lead for about four minutes of action. Seth Oakes totaled a hattrick including a wicked, blind BTB at the net. Andrew Kew had a team high eight points. Rookie Brett Dobson had a productive game in net, saving 38 of 50 shots seen as he continues to build experience.

These two opponents will be well acquainted with each other, playing a home and home over the next two weeks and their only matchups during the regular season. Last season the teams split their two matchups. On April 1, the Rock took the 13-9 victory at Gas South Arena. Tom Schreiber had a seven-point game (4g, 3a) and saw good contributions from the back door with Latrell Harris scoring a goal and Brad Kri scoring two goals. The same with the Swarm with Jordan MacIntosh recording a hattrick and two assists.

Rush (4-2) at Roughnecks (4-3) – 9pm ET – Game of the Week on TSN

Friday’s slate ends with the Game of the Week on TSN between the second place Saskatchewan Rush going to Calgary to take on the fourth place Roughnecks in this season’s first Battle of the Prairies contest.

The Rush played a competitive game with the Warriors but delivered the final chokeslam in the fourth quarter, outscoring Vancouver 8-2 after entering the frame tied. While no forwards blew up the stat sheet, 12 different Rush players tallied a point. The story was on the backend with Alex Buque shutting down his former team, saving 44 of 52 shots.

The Roughnecks may have had an even more satisfying win last weekend, stealing a road win in Halifax by a 12-11 OT final. The Riggers used a four-goal run from the third and fourth to tie the game. Jeff Cornwall scored a brilliant goal with one second remaining in the third quarter and Dan Taylor scored with 18 second remaining in the fourth to tie the game. Jeff Cornwall would seal the win just nine seconds into OT. The transition and goaltending helped get the win for the Roughnecks. Zach Currier and Jeff Cornwall combined for five goals. Christian Del Bianco added another two assists to his season total and saved 54 of 65 shots on the night.

Last season the Roughnecks swept the three games over the Rush. The last time out on March 26 saw the Roughnecks take the 8-6 win in a defensive battle. Mark Matthews scored four of the six goals for the Rush who were shutout for a period of over 30 minutes between the first and fourth quarters. Calgary was able to take advantage of the Rush penalties, going five for 11 on the man-up opportunities.

Sat. Feb. 11

Thunderbirds (4-4) at Knighthawks (6-2) – 7pm ET

Saturday begins with two teams who are looking for redemption and to keep their playoff positioning. Halifax is currently fourth in the East and Rochester sits at second.

Halifax lost a heartbreaker in overtime to the Roughnecks last weekend. The last goal scored for Halifax gave them an 11-7 lead with under 20 minutes remaining in regulation. Nine players scored their 11 goals, only Randy Staats and Clarke Petterson managed to score multiple times. Jake Withers looked almost unstoppable at the faceoff dot, winning 23 of 26, scooping 23 loose balls, recording a goal and an assist on the night. Unfortunately, the pressure from the Roughnecks got them the loose ball off the draw in overtime and Jeff Cornwall took the break to the net to bury the game winner right at the start of OT.

The Knighthawks dropped a battle against their rival, the Buffalo Bandits. Despite going on a five-goal run in the first and second quarters, Buffalo answered back with six, led by Dhane Smith who scored two and assisted on another goal in the run. Ryan Smith would answer back but Buffalo would go on another four-goal run to extend their lead to 11-6. Connor Fields and Smith each contributed a hattrick but the team was just outmatched in the end. Rylan Hartley saved 42 of 55 shots.

Despite starting the season 6-0, the Knighthawks have dropped their last two. The first loss came at the hands of these Thunderbirds who walloped Rochester, 17-7 on January 27. Other than allowing two of the first three goals, Halifax would hold the momentum through most of the game, including an 8-1 fourth quarter. Warren Hill saved 43 of 50 shots for Halifax in the victory. This is the last meeting between these two and if Halifax wins, they will clinch the season tiebreaker over Rochester.

FireWolves (2-4) at Riptide (1-6) – 7:30pm ET

Both the FireWolves and Riptide come into Week 11 off disappointing performances and eight goal defeats.

For Albany, their offense was almost non-existent in their loss to Philadelphia. Through three quarters, the FireWolves mustered just one goal in the first quarter. They would muster four in the fourth but when entering the frame down 9-1 and seeing the deficit grow to 11-1 midway through the quarter, it was too little too late.

For the Riptide, they had the opposite issue with the defense and goaltending allowing 22 goals to the Rock but did score 14. Both goaltenders struggled in Steve Orleman and Gowah Abrams, combining for 39 saves on 61 shots. Both other goaltenders on the roster for New York in Kevin Orleman and Will Johnston have been on the Injury Report for the last few weeks.

The Riptide picked up their one win of the season against this Albany team on January 21 by a final of 16-10. New York used a 9-1 run to start the game and propel them to the win. Jeff Teat had 12 points (7g, 5a) for New York and Connor Kelly led Albany with six points (2g, 4a).

Warriors (1-7) at Panther City (4-4) – 8pm ET

The Warriors played three quarters of competitive lacrosse before allowing eight goals in the fourth quarter against the Rush last weekend. Heading into the fourth tied, the teams traded goals before Saskatchewan went on a six-goal run. The Warriors traded their leading scorer last week and saw another scorer go down with injury leaving Vancouver in a tough position with their offense. On the defensive side, the team showed improvements and signed veteran goaltender Aaron Bold to aid in the development in Aden Walsh and take minutes if needed.

Panther City with their loss last week dropped them to fifth place in the competitive West. A close matchup with San Diego saw them fall 12-10 against the West leading Seals. Jonathan Donville is quietly having a wonderful rookie season and added seven more points to his total. He sits tied for eighth in points at 42 and is fourth in the NLL in assists at 32. His rookie teammate, Mathieu Gautier scored four for Panther City in their loss.

These two saw each other a couple of weeks ago with Panther City walloping Vancouver, 20-7. Panther City would score 15 by the half and not allow the Warriors back into the fold. Will Malcom and Donville combined for 25 points for Panther City. Vancouver scored the first three goals but would allow 12 of the next 13.

Mammoth (4-3) at Roughnecks (TBD) – 9pm ET

The weekend ends with an old rivalry game between the Mammoth and Roughnecks, with the Riggers playing their second home game of the weekend. So despite having to play twice, they do not have to worry about travelling after game one.

Colorado comes in off their own doubleheader weekend where they split their games. In game one at home, the Mammoth used a strong fourth quarter to win their game against the Swarm. Four players scored six or more points and to the relief of all Mammoth fans, Dillon Ward was activated from the injured reserve and played both games. The second game was not as successful, allowing rookie Jack Hannah to record a socktrick. Injuries continue to plague the Mammoth as Joey Cupido suffered an injury during the first game and was placed on the injured reserve list prior to game two.

The Mammoth and Roughnecks always play entertaining games and that was the case on January 7 with the Mammoth taking the 9-8 win. Connor Robinson returned to his form from last season with five goals for the Mammoth. Jesse King led the Roughnecks with five points, but the battle always comes down to the netminders in Christian Del Bianco and Dillon Ward. Ward bested Del Bianco, saving 49 of 57 shots last game out.

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