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What to Expect: Week 14

Friday, March 4

Rochester Knighthawks (3-6) at Georgia Swarm (4-6) – 7:30pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca
The Knighthawks are heading down to Georgia to face the Swarm on Friday for their second matchup of the season. The last Knighthawks and Swarm faceoff took place on January 21st and ended with a 12-8 victory for the Swarm. The Swarm came out of the gates quick and scored the first three goals before the Knighthawks were able to find the back of the net. The Swarm led after the first 5-1 and maintained their lead for the entirety of the game, taking them to victory.

Both teams will be entering Week #14 coming off losses. The Swarm fell to the Thunderbirds 15-10 on February 19. They held a one-goal lead for a short time in the first quarter, and from then on, they struggled to keep up. Jordan MacIntosh led the team in points with six (1g, 5a), with his one goal being a behind-the-back finish. Goalie Craig Wende came in for relief of Mike Poulin, playing just under 38 minutes and saving 27 of 34 shots. As for the Knighthawks, they lost 14-8 to the Bandits last weekend. The score was kept close in the first half, ending the second quarter 5-4 in favor of the Bandits. Unfortunately for the Knighthawks, the Bandits took control of the second half. The Knighthawks placed 60 shots on goal, but only eight made it past Matt Vinc.
Calgary Roughnecks (3-5) at San Diego Seals (6-2) – 10:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca
The Roughnecks are making their second appearance at Pechanga Arena in San Diego this Friday. This will be the third and final time the Seals and Roughnecks go head-to-head this season. Both prior games were won by the Seals. The two teams matched up for the first time on December 17th in Calgary. The Roughnecks kickstarted the game with a goal by Dan Taylor but the Seals immediately took control by scoring seven straight. The Seals maintained this lead for the remainder of the game, leading them to win 17-12 led by Dane Dobbie’s return to Calgary, putting up a season high seven goals. Their second matchup started off a bit differently where the Roughnecks established a 6-2 in the first quarter. The Seals crawled back in the second quarter to end the half down 9-8. The Seals shutout the Roughnecks in the fourth quarter to lead them to the 13-10 victory.

The Roughnecks earned themselves a bye week after a doubleheader weekend back in Week #12 where they played against the Warriors on February 18th, and Panther City two days later on the 20th. Despite four goals by Curtis Dickson on Friday, the Warriors won 11-10 in their first contest. The Roughnecks were able to redeem themselves on Sunday against Panther City when 10 different players found the back of the net. The Roughnecks went on to win 13-12 over Panther City.

The Seals lost their six-game win streak to the FireWolves last weekend losing 13-12. Wes Berg and Austin Staats each had four goals on the night. Two of Berg’s goals and one of Staat’s were scored on power plays. The Seals struggled to keep up with faceoff star, Joe Nardella, only allowing the Seals to win control of five faceoffs. Dane Dobbie was held to a quite two assist night.
Saturday, March 5
Vancouver Warriors (5-4) at Halifax Thunderbirds (7-1) – 6:00pm ET – ESPN+/Sports Interaction Game of the Week on TSN
For this week’s Sport Interaction Game of the Week on TSN, the Warriors are on the road again to take on the Eastern Conference’s Halifax Thunderbirds. This will be the first time Vancouver has travelled to the Nest since Halifax relocated. Vancouver lost a close game to Panther City last weekend. In the first three quarters, the Warriors only scored one goal in each, unable to figure out Nick Damude. Saving all the action for the final fifteen minutes, seven goals were tallied by the Warriors. Despite a furious comeback scoring seven in the fourth, the Warriors ultimately lost 11-10. Both Keegan Bal and Kyle Killen chalked up hattricks for themselves. Steve Fryer started in net for the Warriors for the second straight game but was removed in the third quarter after appearing to be injured on a diving play by a Panther City forward. Fryer was keeping the game as close as he could, saving 13 of 17 shots. Alex Buque came off the injured list and came in relief for the remainder of the game.

Just as their name suggests, the Thunderbirds brought the thunder defeat the reeling Wings. The Thunderbirds retained their lead from the get-go and through the final whistle, 10-8. Goalie Warren Hill saved 52 of 60 shots, one of the best performances of the week and tacked on to his amazing season with a .811 save percentage and 9.05 goals against average. The Thunderbirds are 5-0 at home and will be looking to add to that streak this weekend.
New York Riptide (2-7) at Toronto Rock (6-4) – 7:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca
Last weekend marked the first ever Riptide and Rock matchup since the Riptide’s expansion. Tom Schreiber of the Rock started the game off by putting two in the net, but it wasn’t long until Riptide’s Connor Kearnan and Damon Edwards scored goals to tie the score at 2-2. The second quarter continued with both teams attempting to one-up each other but led to a back-and-forth affair. The half ended at 8-7 with the Riptide still leading by one. The third quarter followed a similar pattern where both teams netted three goals, and the Riptide maintained their one-goal lead heading into the last frame. The Riptide started the fourth with two goals, taking them to a three-goal lead, which was quickly lost with three straight goals by the Rock in a span of 2:09. Tom Schreiber completed his hattrick, and Rob Hellyer and Reid Reinholdt followed with two of their own to tie the game, leaving just under four minutes left. Riptide Rookie Jeff Teat scored his fourth of the night and game-winning goal, allowing the Riptide to claim their second victory of the season. Goalie Riley Hutchcraft of the Rock stepped in for Nick Rose in the third and saved 12 of 15 shots he saw. Orleman for the Riptide saved 39 of 52 shots.

The Riptide and the Rock will play again for the second weekend in a row this Saturday. The Rock will certainly be entering this game with a vengeance since the Riptide put an end to their four-game win streak and jeopardized their position towards the top of the Eastern Conference. Different from the first game, this matchup will take place on the Rock’s home turf at FirstOntario Centre where they are 4-1 this season. Should Dan Dawson play, he will tie John Tavares for the most games played in NLL history and should he record six assists, will surpass Tavares as the all-time leader in assists.
Buffalo Bandits (8-1) at Albany FireWolves (5-6) – 7:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca
It hasn’t been long since the FireWolves and Bandits last saw one another in Banditland on February 18. It was an offbeat game for both sides of the turf. In a crazy stat line, goals were only scored in one net through the entire game, with each team trading scoreless quarters. Albany scored in the first and third quarters and Buffalo scored in the second and fourth quarters on their way to a 13-8 victory.

The Bandits won 14-8 last weekend against the Knighthawks. Rookie Tehoka Nanticoke continues to impress and is now tied for most goals by a rookie (Jeff Teat). Max Adler made a memorable debut to the league scoring his first NLL goal on a penalty shot of all things. After their hiccup against the Rock, the Bandits are happy to be back on a two-game winning streak. Judging by the outstanding performance from Matt Vinc, saving 52 shots on goal last weekend, it’s going to take a strong and cohesive offence to break through him. The FireWolves might just be the ones to do it, especially with the Ryan Benesch (21g, 34a), Joe Resetarits (27g, 37a), and Andrew Kew (20g, 16a) and a stingy defense. Only two players are in the top five of the NLL in both goals and assist this season, Ryan Lee of the Mammoth and Albany’s Joe Resetarits.
Saskatchewan Rush (3-6) at Panther City Lacrosse Club (2-8) – 8:30pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca
Despite both the Rush and Panther City playing in heart-stopping games last weekend, they both came out on top with one goal victories in surprising upsets. The Rush played against the Mammoth and after a tough 60 minutes, the game went into overtime. Robert Church had himself a night and scored his fifth goal to win the game for the Rush deep into overtime. Mike Messenger was a force to be reckoned with this game, recovering 17 loose balls, causing four turnovers and winning 22 of 23 faceoffs. Despite only scoring 10 goals, they peppered Dillon Ward with 72 shots on goal.

Panther City played the Warriors last weekend and won by a hair in the final frame and recorded the team’s first ever home victory at Dickies Arena. Rookie Patrick Dodds scored the game-winner, his second game-deciding goal of the season, with just under a minute to spare before the final whistle. Dodds places second on the rookie leaderboards for 38 points this season after a seven-point performance (3g, 4a), trailing only Jeff Teat.

Panther City is looking to keep their winning momentum in front of their home faithful and some revenge after the last time they faced off against the Rush on January 29th in Saskatoon. The Rush topped Panther City by nine goals, ending with a final score of 16-7. This was the best output for the Rush offense this season led by Jeff Shattler and Ryan Keenan each with seven points (4g, 3a and 1g, 6a respectively), Mark Matthews with six points (2g, 4a), and Dan Lintner with four (2g, 2a). Kevin Orleman was chased within the first five minutes, allowing five goals on six shots. Both teams sit at the bottom of the Western Conference, but with a win will pull right behind Calgary for the fourth and potential final spot for the playoffs.