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Game Previews

What to Expect: Week 13

All games can be seen on ESPN+ and TSN+

Fri. Feb. 24

Panther City (6-4) at Mammoth (4-5) – 9pm ET

Week 13 takes us to the Mile High City in a rematch from last week between these two teams. How quickly tides can turn as Panther City sits in the fourth spot in the West while Colorado sits at fifth, currently outside of the playoff picture. The boys from Fort Worth have won four of five games while the reverse is true for the Mammoth.

These two have split their first two matchups against each other with this weekend deciding the season series. This could play a major factor come the end of the season standings with two teams on the verge of the playoffs.

Panther City is the real deal for anyone not paying attention to their team this year. Out the front gate you have Jonathan Donville and Will Malcom as one of the best duos in the league, in addition to Callum Crawford, Phil Caputo, Patrick Dodds and Mathieu Gautier. In transition, Josh Medeiros has been one of the best in the NLL all season as well as Tony Malcom. While not the flashiest of teams, they get the job done and grind out their opponents. Defensively, they rank fourth in the NLL in goals allowed at 10.30 with Nick Damude getting stronger each game in net. He is third in the NLL with a 9.76 goals against average and a .800 save percentage which is third among goalies with at least 100 saves.

While the Mammoth have been plagued with injuries, their two leading scorers in Eli McLaughlin and Connor Robinson did play in their game last weekend with just Rhys Duch sitting out. Scoring goals has been the challenge for this team, averaging a league worst 9.33 per game. While the defense and goaltending are above the league average, the transition game has been severely limited and only suffers more with Joey Cupido out for the season. Only four goals have been scored by players playing out the back gate all season for this team and only three players have 10+ goals scored on the season (tied with Georgia and Philadelphia for lowest number of players).

Despite allowing three of the first four goals, Panther City had their way with the Mammoth the remainder of the game, outscoring them in every quarter including a 5-1 second quarter. Donville and Crawford had identical stat lines with seven points (3g, 4a) while Damude saved 39 of 46 shots. Eli McLaughlin was the only one seeing success for the Mammoth, scoring a hattrick of his own, otherwise a lot to forget about for Colorado as they try to find the magic formula. Dillon Ward saved 40 of 52 shots. Maybe home cooking is what Colorado needs, as they are 3-1 at the Loud House on the season.

Roughnecks (7-3) at Desert Dogs (3-5) – 10:30pm ET

Friday’s doubleheader concludes in Sin City with the surging Roughnecks taking on the surging Desert Dogs for their first ever matchup.

Calgary comes into this game winning five of their last six to sit at second in the West and in close contention for the top seed. Last weekend, they put a beating on the Vancouver Warriors, 14-9 the final. Vancouver would use a four-goal run to take the lead in the second quarter but by the half, the Roughnecks would retake the lead and never look back, outscoring their opponent 7-3 in the second half. The Currier’s combined for seven points (two goals each) while Zach did most of his damage in the defensive zone with 13 loose balls, four blocked shots and three caused turnovers. Christian Del Bianco had another 50+ save game and another assist to add to his impressive total.

Their opponent has now won three of their last four in the expansion Desert Dogs. Last week they travelled East for the first time to take on the Albany FireWolves who they beat 12-10. In a back-and-forth game saw Las Vegas shut out the FireWolves in the fourth quarter and scoring four of their own. This team is playing much more disciplined than in their first few games, only surrendering 10 penalty minutes (of which Albany scored on all four opportunities) while converting on their own two power play opportunities. Nine players scored goals for the Desert Dogs and on the defensive end they blocked nine shots and caused 16 turnovers.

While not eliminated from playoff contention, now is the time for the Desert Dogs to make a run at contention. Nine of their final 10 games are against West Conference opponents, with all but one (Vancouver) ahead of them in the standings.

Sat. Feb. 25

Riptide (2-7) at Knighthawks (7-2) – 7pm ET

Saturday starts with a battle of teams from the same expansion year. While the trajectory of each team is heading in different directions, there is lots of talent to watch across the board.

The Riptide played last week in Halifax in a tightly contested game that saw some streaks and back and forth scoring. Jeff Teat added another socktrick to his season total of goals which leads the NLL at 34 in nine games played. Not just a goal scoring threat, he is tied for third in the NLL in assists at 40 and on pace for 148 points this season. Outside of him though, there has not been enough contributions from the rest of the offense. On the defensive end they have looked better but similarly, just not enough to see the wins come through, still allowing an average of 14.89 goals against which is second to last.

The Knighthawks come in off a bye week where they could do nothing but watch as their three-way tie for first in the East move them to third as both the Rock and Bandits won their matchups. With both those teams on a bye, now is Rochester’s chance to gain even footing again. Their last game out saw the Knighthawks get back in the win column against the Thunderbirds after losing their previous two games. Connor Fields added eight more points to his season total (4g, 4a) and while leading 16-9 with just under six minutes remaining, they allowed Halifax to score five goals in those minutes to make it a 16-14 finale.

In their first matchup this season, the Knighthawks took the 11-8 win on January 15 on Long Island. Holden Cattoni, Ryan Smith and Connor Fields did the bulk of the damage for Rochester, combining for eight goals. Jeff Teat was held without a goal but contributed with five assists. Despite the loss, Steve Orleman had one of his better games, saving 40 of 51 shots.

FireWolves (2-6) at Swarm (0-7) – 7pm ET

Is this the week the Swarm get their first win of the season against the FireWolves who have lost four straight? Despite having two more wins than the Swarm, the stats are fairly similar between these two clubs. For a team that is built around their defense, Albany is 12th in the NLL allowing 12.88 goals per game while scoring just 10.38 per game, also 12th in the NLL. Georgia sits at 13th in goals allowed and 14th in goals scored per game. Georgia is the least penalized team per game and have a league best 63% power play record.

Albany lost a close game to the Desert Dogs last weekend, 12-10, being outscored 4-0 in the final frame. The offense has spread the ball around with the likes of Kiernan McArdle, Tanner Thomson, Connor Kelly, Ethan Walker, John Piatelli, and Hiana Thompson but could not get enough goals against the hungry Vegas team. In fact, no other players tallied a point for the team. A positive for the FireWolves was they capitalized on all four of their power play opportunities, going 4-4 on the man up.

Despite the result last week, Georgia has been competitive in most of their games this season, only losing by five or more goals three times. A nine-goal run from the third and into the fourth quarter sealed the game for the Rock last weekend by a 16-7 final. In their matchup two weeks ago against the Rock, they lost by just one in an 11-10 final.

Something will give have to give this weekend. The Swarm got a win over these Albany FireWolves on March 19 of last season by a score of 15-12, the last time they played. Lyle Thompson had nine points (5g, 4a) including four straight for the Swarm and Craig Wende played about half of the game in relief of Mike Poulin and saved 22 of 27 shots. For Albany, Jackson Nishimura had two goals. These two teams will see each other again in Week 14 but next time in Albany.

Warriors (1-9) at Rush (5-3) – 8pm ET – Game of the Week on TSN

The Week 13 finale takes us to Saskatoon for the Game of the Week on TSN between the Warriors and Rush for their second meeting this season.

The Warriors have lost five straight and played another half of good lacrosse and half a game of bad lacrosse last week. They held a one goal lead with under 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter but surrendered the last two to give Calgary the one-goal lead again. The second half saw the Warriors score just three goals. The combination of Kyle Killen and Keegan Bal (40+ goal scorers from last season) combined for just one goal and four assists. Adam Charalambides scored a hattrick and helped with 14 loose ball recoveries. Aaron Bold got the start in net and went with the tide of the team with 21 saves in the first half and only 12 in the second half.

The Rush finally got revenge on the Seals after their fourth quarter collapse earlier in the season. This time, they got out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back, ending with a 16-11 win. Mark Matthews and Robert Church looked like themselves with six goals between the two but the help came in transition as Matt Beers, Mike Messenger, Jerrett Smith, Jake Boudreau, and Holden Garlent all contributed with goals (Boudreau with three). While not his best performance in net, Alex Buque held the Seals to a relatively quiet night, with only Dane Dobbie and Curtis Dickson recording multiple goals.

Last time out, the Rush took the 14-8 win over Vancouver. Despite trailing 6-5 at the half, the Rush would outscore Vancouver 9-2 in the second half, including eight in the fourth quarter. 10 different Rush players found the back of the net, including Kyle Rubisch out the back door who added 11 loose balls, and both a caused turnover and blocked shot. Reid Bowering for Vancouver scooped up 18 loose balls with a blocked shot and five caused turnovers.

NLL