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What to Expect: Week 11

Friday, February 11

Colorado Mammoth (5-1) at Calgary Roughnecks (1-4) – 9:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca

The Mammoth are in an odd period of their schedule, in the midst of three straight home and home games against Western Conference opponents. They swept the Warriors and defeated the Roughnecks in Week 10 at the Loud House in Denver behind Connor Robinson’s first career sock trick (and the first for Colorado since 2017 at home). The Mammoth are quietly tied for first in the West, only behind in the tie-breaker with San Diego as of now and are third in the NLL overall standings. Ryan Lee recorded zero goals last week, but tallied nine assists to bring his total to 29 through six games, on pace to set the record at 87 this season. The Mammoth sport the leagues best penalty kill at 80%, but are second to last on the powerplay at 30%. The Roughnecks held a 10-7 lead in the third quarter and then were shutout the remainder of the game, losing 14-10. Roughnecks leading goal scorer, Curtis Dickson was a late scratch for the Roughnecks last week and would love to have his production back on the floor, although the struggle for the team remains their backend where they allow a league worst, 14 goals per game.

Saskatchewan Rush (2-4) at Vancouver Warriors (3-3) – 10:30pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca

If the season ended today, the Warriors would clinch the third seed in the Western Conference and the Rush would be eliminated from the playoffs. These teams have faced each other one other time earlier this season with the Rush winning in Vancouver 10-9 on December 17. With a Rush win this week, they would clinch the tiebreaker on the season and if Vancouver wins, the tiebreaker will be decided by their following matchup on April 9 in Saskatoon. Leading scorer for the Rush, Mark Matthews led the team with a hat trick in their last matchup. Mike Messenger played a critical role in transition scoring two goals and recording one assist. For Vancouver, Keegan Bal recorded a team high six points (4g, 2a), but only three Warriors were able to put the ball past Adam Shute. Should both teams feature healthy lineups, expect another competitive Alterna Cup match.

Saturday, February 12

Buffalo Bandits (6-0) at Toronto Rock (4-3) – 5:00pm ET – ESPN+/Sports Interaction Game of the Week on TSN

The first Eastern Conference game of the weekend, and the Sports Interaction Game of the Week on TSN, is between the first place Bandits and the Rock currently sitting in third in the East. Last time we watched this duo on January 8th, the Bandits won 12-6 in a scrappy game that saw 78 penalty minutes total, 50 of which came in the fourth quarter. Toronto was missing both Dan Dawson and Tom Schreiber and are excited to have them back in the lineup to produce more scoring opportunities. The Bandits are the lone undefeated team at 6-0 going into Week 11, coming off an 11-8 win over Rochester. Buffalo is a league best +23 in goal differential this season, including outscoring their opponents by 15 in the first quarter and 13 in the third quarter. Toronto moved up to third in the East after their 14-7 win last weekend in Philadelphia, allowing zero goals in the second half of the game. Former 6th round pick for the Rock, Dan Craig, is on pace to set career highs in goals, assists and points with 13 goals, 20 assists and 33 points through seven games played.

New York Riptide (1-6) at Georgia Swarm (3-5) – 6:00pm ET – ESPNEWS/TSN.ca

The NLL is back on ESPNEWS featuring the Georgia Swarm and the New York Riptide for their second game against each other this season. In terms of some of the best offensive talent in the league, this game will feature it. Georgia’s Lyle Thompson and Shayne Jackson as well as New York’s Callum Crawford and Jeff Teat are all in the top 15 in scoring this season. In their last matchup on December 12, the Swarm asserted their dominance over Riptide and won 14-10 behind Thompson’s 10 points (5g, 5a). Teat was out of their last matchup. Last weekend, the Swarm split a home and home series with the FireWolves, the home teams coming out victorious. Halifax bested the Riptide last weekend 13-10. Crawford returned to MVP caliber play with six points (4g, 2a), but the other pieces of the Riptide offense were not contributing as much as they’d like. The Riptide’s goalie, Steven Orleman, was drafted by the Swarm in the 2018 NLL Entry Draft with the 16th overall selection and spent the 2018-19 and 2019-20 season as a member of their practice squad. As a rookie, he has played 336 minutes and has a .754 save percentage. He will soon be climbing up the rookie goalie records for minutes played and saves.

Albany FireWolves (4-3) at Rochester Knighthawks (2-5) – 7:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca

As mentioned, the FireWolves split the home and home with the Swarm. Albany hit the road first to Georgia on Friday. Despite five back-to-back goals by Resetarits, Watkinson, Kitchen, and two from Benesch, the FireWolves lost by just one goal (14-13). After a quick travel turnaround, both teams faced off again on Saturday. The FireWolves entered this game looking for revenge and came out on top to win 13-11 at their home arena. Joe Resetarits was named Player of the Week with his 19 points across the two games (7g, 12a). Those games were the first time the FireWolves scored more than 10 goals all season. The FireWolves are back on the road this weekend in Rochester. This will be Rochester’s first game at Blue Cross Arena since January 21. There were fireworks the last time these two teams met in December where the Knighthawks dominated the FireWolves 16-7. That was the last win for the Knighthawks who are on a four game skid after starting the season 2-1. In that last game, Holden Cattoni recorded nine points (4g, 5a) and Rylan Hartley showed brilliance during his time in net, saving 32 of 36 shots. Be on the lookout for the goalies, we all remember what happened last time these two played.

San Diego Seals (5-1) at Panther City Lacrosse Club (1-6) – 8:30pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca

Panther City returns to Dickies Arena for the first time since December 17, an 8-7 loss versus the Mammoth. During their four game road trip, they secured their franchises first ever victory against New York on January 15. The week prior, they played the Seals in San Diego and lost 15-12. In that matchup, Panther City had a -1 goal differential in each of the first three quarters and had an even score with the Seals in the fourth frame. In the teams last two games, they have shown some expansion team struggles but for the majority of the season have proved they can compete with anyone. San Diego played their previous matchup with PCLC with Chris Origlieri in net, recording his first start and win of his young career, saving 29 of 41 shots. He did not play amazing, but gave his team a chance to win which is all you can ask in those spot starts. The three Seals leading goal scorers led the team this game, with Dobbie recording five goals and both Berg and Staats having three. Jeremy Noble tallied six assists in the contest.

Sunday, February 13

Philadelphia Wings (5-4) at Halifax Thunderbirds (4-1) – 1:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca

Originally scheduled for February 12, the Wings and Thunderbirds will face one another in the Sunday matchup. Although this will be a home game for Halifax, it won’t be going down at The Nest. Due to Covid restrictions in Nova Scotia, the game will be at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton again. Regardless of where this game takes place, it will be an exciting one as it’s the first Wings/Thunderbirds matchup of the season. Two of the league’s faceoff leaders will go head-to-head. Wings’ Trevor Baptiste, who is first overall in the league in faceoff wins, has a win percentage of 70%, and Thunderbirds’ Jake Withers, who is fifth overall in faceoff wins, has a win percentage of 66.4%. The Wings have yet to win a game against a team with a winning record despite their winning record, beating Rochester and New York twice each and another win versus Georgia. Six of their remaining nine games are against teams with winning records, including two against undefeated Buffalo and one against the 5-1 Seals in San Diego. Despite the schedule challenges for the Thunderbirds, their confidence is growing each game and as their team gets healthy. Warren Hill is a candidate for Goaltender of the Year with a 4-1 record, a.809 save percentage and 9.26 goals against average.