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Dan Coates, Ryland Rees and Thomas McConvey Are Joining Forces Behind the Bench Full Story

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What to Expect: Week 21

All games can be seen on ESPN+ and TSN+

* Clinched playoff berth

Friday, Apr. 21

Roughnecks* (12-5) at Panther City* (10-7) – 8:30pm ET

All four playoff spots in the West Conference have been taken, including spots by Calgary and Panther City who could likely see each other in the Quarterfinals in a few weeks.

Calgary comes in off a convincing win at home over the Desert Dogs in front of 12,998 fans last weekend. Las Vegas was able to keep the game within reach until Calgary used a four-goal run from the third and fourth quarters to stretch their lead to five in the last frame. Many players stepped up including Jeff Cornwall who had a goal, an assist, three blocked shots, six loose balls, and two caused turnovers. This game will end the Roughnecks regular season who will be on a bye in Week 22 before the playoffs begin. A bittersweet thing when this team has won nine of their last 11 to take a break right before the playoffs.

Panther City clinched their franchises first ever playoff berth last weekend in their win over Vancouver. Nick Damude stood tall, saving 45 of 53 shots and allowing just one Warriors goal in the fourth. A close game throughout saw Panther City tie the game and take the lead in less than 30 seconds of time late in the fourth quarter thanks to goals from Matt Hossack and Josh Medeiros. Another team effort from Panther City who had seven goal scorers on their nine goals.

These two saw each other just a couple of weeks ago with Calgary getting the dominant 12-5 win at home. A four-goal run in the second stretched their lead to 6-1. Jesse King finished with six points (3g, 3a) while Christian Del Bianco saved 32 of 37 shots.

Saturday, Apr. 22

Riptide (4-12) at Thunderbirds (8-8) – 6pm ET – Game of the Week on TSN

The Game of the Week on TSN takes us to the Nest to see the Riptide take on a Thunderbirds team on the brink of the playoffs.

New York almost pulled off the upset of the weekend in Buffalo, falling in overtime, 11-10. The game was back and forth all night. Unfortunately for Riptide fans, they allowed the game tying goal with under 30 seconds remaining in regulation and then surrendered the game winner to Josh Byrne. Cameron Dunkerley went toe-to-toe with Matt Vinc, saving 47 of 58 shots on the evening. Jeff Teat became the first player this season to hit the 50-goal mark (and first in the NLL since Kevin Crowley in 2018) and still has a three point lead on Dhane Smith for the league lead at 122 on the season.

Halifax got a crucial win last weekend at Saskatchewan to keep pace for the fourth spot in the East Conference, now winning three of their last four. A 9-2 fourth quarter was the difference in this game as the Thunderbirds came into the quarter trailing 9-6. Randy Staats scored all three of his goals in the fourth. Clarke Petterson and Ryan Benesch each added four goals for Halifax. Jake Withers was welcomed back by his teammates and went 30/31 on faceoffs.

Halifax has taken both matchups from the Riptide this season, the first being a 20-11 drumming on December 17 and a 13-12 win on February 19. Jeff Teat had nine points (6g, 3a), trying to will his team to the win. Halifax had a more balanced approach, with five players having two or more goals.

Swarm (8-8) at Knighthawks (9-7) – 7pm ET

A compelling matchup with huge playoff implications takes place shortly after the Game of the Week gets going.

The Swarm are the hottest team in the league, winning their last six games. In Albany last week, they kept their momentum going with a 15-6 thrashing of the FireWolves. Georgia would lead 5-0 after one and 9-2 at the half. Brett Dobson had another masterful performance, saving 36 of 40 shots in his 54 minutes. Ryan Lanchbury had the best game of his young career, recording seven points (3g, 4a), earning him Rookie of the Week Honors.

Rochester on the other hand comes in off a much-needed bye week after dropping their last four games. What was once seemingly an easy path to clinch a playoff berth has now been put in major jeopardy in the last two weeks of the season. Luckily, they can put all that to rest with just one more win. Last game out was against the FireWolves, where they lost 14-12 at home. It was a close game throughout but was not enough to spur the win. Connor Fields had 10 points (2g, 8a) while Rylan Hartley has looked vulnerable in recent weeks. In that game against Albany, he saved 37 of 51 shots.

Positive news for the Knighthawks is they do hold the tiebreaker over the Swarm, taking both of their earlier season matchups, but will want to make it a clean sweep. Their last game saw an offensive showcase on March 12, with a 19-18 final. Another game of runs saw Georgia trailing 18-13 late in the fourth before scoring five of the last six to make it a one goal game. Eight players had at least a hattrick, with Seth Oakes, Shayne Jackson, and Connor Fields all tied for the lead with five goals each.

Rock* (13-4) at Bandits* (12-4) – 8pm ET – ESPNU

The NLL is back on ESPNU again with the top team in the East heading to second place and a hostile environment in Buffalo, especially after their game a few weeks ago. First place in the East is on the line.

Toronto kept rolling with their 12-7 win over Philadelphia last weekend. Outscoring the Wings 5-1 in the second quarter gave the Rock momentum the rest of the way. Tom Schreiber had eight points (3g, 5a) while the ageless Dan Dawson had a hattrick in front of over 10,000 Rock supporters. Nick Rose had another great performance, saving 35 of 42 shots and only allowing two goals to players not named Mitch Jones.

In the race for the top of the East, the Bandits got a huge win over New York in front of over 16,000 in Banditland and on the always special, Tucket Out Lymphoma Night. It was a tight game throughout, with each team only being able to amass a two-goal lead. With just 29 seconds left in regulation, Dhane Smith scored the tying goal, one of three on the night and 11 points for the reigning MVP. Josh Byrne would score the game winner in overtime, just over three minutes into the extra frame.

Each team has taken a game from each other this regular season with this game deciding who gets first place in the East. Last time out was probably the best performance from Toronto all season, but also the worst for Buffalo with an 18-7 final on April 1. The Rock scored seven straight off the first whistle and would continue to pressure the Bandits throughout. Corey Small had 10 points (5g, 5a) while Nick Rose saved 39 of 46 shots. We will see if any bad blood spills over as that game ended on multiple fights with the likes of Billy Hostrawser, Bryce Sweeting, Greg Downing, Adam Bomberry, Brad McCulley and Stephen Keogh all getting into scraps.

Mammoth* (9-7) at Rush (6-10) – 9:30pm ET

The defending champions are back in the postseason after some mid-season struggles which ends the Rush’s chances to play in May.

The Mammoth defeated the Seals 15-14 in a wild game in Colorado. It was a game dictated by runs and swings in momentum. The Seals scored seven of the first 10 goals and almost another which was overturned after a Pat Coyle challenge. This led to Colorado scoring 10 of the next 12 goals to take a 13-9 lead. The Seals answered back with five of their own before Colorado scored the last two. A total off 11 powerplay goals were scored between the two teams. Transition played a big role for the Mammoth with Josh Sullivan and John Lintz scoring their first goals of the season. A physical game saw multiple scuffles and a rare fight between Zed Williams and Brodie Merrill. Now getting healthy, this team is playing its best lacrosse at the right time.

Saskatchewan as mentioned is now eliminated from playoff contention after their loss to Halifax last weekend by a 15-11 final. The Rush held a 9-6 lead entering the fourth but allowed nine goals to Halifax in the final 15. A lot of questions will hit this Rush team once the offseason starts but they still have two games to end the season on a high note. Alex Buque was pulled early in the first for Eric Penney who had the net the remainder of the game. Clark Walter had three points while Holden Garlent had a goal, an assist, three loose balls and three caused turnovers.

The Mammoth now are jockeying for position with Panther City to see who plays San Diego or Calgary in the first round given they cannot climb up to the second seed in the West. The season series is split between these two teams with the Mammoth taking the last game on January 13. Another tight game throughout saw the biggest lead all night of just two. Rhys Duch, who was on the Mammoth for this game, scored the game winner in overtime, but now suits up for the Rush. That was his lone goal of the night but contributed with six assists.

Desert Dogs (5-11) at Seals (12-4) – 10pm ET

A busy Saturday concludes with Las Vegas heading to San Diego to take on the Seals.

The Desert Dogs were no match for the Roughnecks last week, falling 12-7. It was difficult for the Desert Dogs to put together any sustainable runs through the game to gain momentum. Jacob Ruest had three goals while Jack Hannah had two, now with 29 on the season to lead all rookies. Joel Watson got the start in net, saving 35 of 47 on the night.

San Diego had a rough loss in Colorado, 15-14. An early lead then led to a four-goal deficit which credit to the Seals, they competed throughout. Wes Berg had a socktrick along with three assists and 10 loose balls. The Seals scored on seven of their eight powerplay opportunities. With the final possession of regulation, Austin Staats had a shot ring off the post to end the game. Late penalties could have done the Seals in as Brodie Merrill was called for a five-minute major and a game misconduct with under 10 minutes remaining.

Last time out between these two was on April 8 with the Seals taking the 14-10 win. The game was tied at the half 7-7, but San Diego’s talent and experience took them to the win in the second half. Curtis Dickson, Austin Staats and Wes Berg each had hattricks for San Diego while former Seal, Zack Greer, had a team high three for Las Vegas.

Sunday, Apr. 23

Wings (7-9) at FireWolves (3-13) – 3pm ET

Sunday lacrosse is back between the desperate Wings and the Albany FireWolves, who we have seen already play spoiler once in the last couple of weeks.

With the crossover playoff spot in the West no longer in play, the Wings now need to keep pace with the Swarm and Thunderbirds for the last spot in the East and some additional help. Last week was a blow to their chances with their 12-7 loss at Toronto. Outside of Mitch Jones, the offense was only able to muster two goals. Zach Higgins and the defense did all they could to limit this potent Rock team to just 12, with Higgins saving 53 of 65 shots seen.

Albany in the final weeks of the season has played multiple teams on the fringe of the playoffs, defeating the Knighthawks before losing to the Swarm last weekend. A 9-2 halftime lead was just too much in their 15-6 final. Marshall Powless had four points (2g, 2a) to lead the team.

These two have seen each other once this season with the Wings taking the 13-5 win on February 4. Albany would be held scoreless for almost 45 minutes of game time from the first quarter to the fourth quarter. Zach Higgins played fantastic, saving 43 of 48 on the night while Joe Resetarits powered the offense with eight points (4g, 4a).

Playoff Scenarios

    • The Buffalo Bandits:
      • Can clinch first place in the East Conference with a win vs Toronto on Saturday
      • Can clinch the first overall seed in the playoffs with a win vs Toronto on Saturday AND a San Diego loss vs Las Vegas AND a Calgary loss at Panther City
    • The Philadelphia Wings will be eliminated from playoff consideration with a loss vs Albany OR a Rochester win vs Georgia AND a Halifax win vs New York:
    • The Rochester Knighthawks can clinch a playoff berth with a win vs. Georgia on Saturday OR a Halifax loss vs. New York AND Philadelphia loss at Albany
    • The San Diego Seals can clinch first place in the West Conference with a win vs. Las Vegas on Saturday OR a Calgary loss at Panther City
    • The Toronto Rock:
      • Can clinch first place in the East Conference with a win at Buffalo on Saturday
      • Can clinch the first overall seed in the playoffs with a win at Buffalo on Saturday AND San Diego loss vs. Las Vegas
NLL