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

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What to Expect: Week 22

Saturday, April 30

Philadelphia Wings (8-9) at Georgia Swarm (9-8) – 7:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca

Two undecided spots in the Chase for the Championship remain. This matchup between the Wings and Swarm will settle at least one of the two spots. We are in for a doozy as these two teams have matched up twice already this season, both games finished in overtime. The first game, on January 8th, could not have been a more equal fight. Each run of goals was matched, and the game carried a close-kept score. While Georgia never actually led, they were able to tie the game seven times. In the final second of play, Swarm’s Brendan Bomberry netted the 11th goal to tie the game and push the game into an extra frame. Wings’ Blaze Riorden was the first to find the net, and he scored the game-winning goal 15 seconds into overtime.

For the second time around, on January 29th, the game wasn’t kept as close in score and was a tale of two halves. The Swarm put the game in motion with a four-goal run before allowing the Wings to find the back of the net.  The half ended at 6-2 with the Swarm in the lead. The Wings would outscore the Swarm 5-1 in the second half. The one Swarm goal, again, tied things up with just under five minutes until the final whistle. Brett Hickey was the first to net a goal and secured the win for the Wings.

The pressure is on for both teams, as they both need this win to guarantee their spot in the playoffs. All Georgia needs to clinch their playoff berth is this win over Philadelphia. Should the Wings lose, they will be eliminated

Halifax Thunderbirds* (10-7) at Rochester Knighthawks (4-13) – 7:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca

The Knighthawks are closing out their season in an at-home matchup against the Thunderbirds this Saturday. The Knighthawks are back in the win column after eight straight losses with their huge 15-7 victory against the Roughnecks last Friday. Although their season will end this week, they are looking to end it on a high, and that means defeating Conference rival Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds have clinched their spot in the Chase for the Championship, and now this game will determine their positioning as the third or fourth East Conference seed. The Thunderbirds got back into the win column against the Riptide last week as they try to get out of their late season funk going into the playoffs.

While the Knighthawks will be disappointed finishing last in the East, there are some bright spots and things to remember on their season. The team played almost half their season with their third string goalie in Joel Watson, who grew in confidence as the season progressed. Ryan Smith as a rookie looks like the real deal, currently second in rookie goals at 33 and leading the team. With all the injuries and other games missed, many of their younger players got real exposure to the NLL and allowed them to progress quicker than if they had not seen game action. While many players may be competing for a job for next season in this game, there are glimpses of greatness in this team as shown in their game against Calgary last week.

Both teams last saw one another on April 1st at the Nest in Halifax. The first quarter began with both teams working defensively, and the frame only saw one goal by Mitch Ogilvie, putting the Knighthawks up by one. The Thunderbirds started the second quarter differently scoring two goals in the first three minutes. Turner Evans fired back with back-to-back goals, creating a 3-2 lead for the Knighthawks. That lead wouldn’t last long before two more goals got past Joel Watson. The half ended with a 5-4 lead for the Thunderbirds. The third quarter saw equal goals, each team adding another two to their boards. The fourth quarter belonged to the Thunderbirds who were able to pull away and win the game 11-7.

New York Riptide (6-11) at Albany FireWolves (8-9) – 7:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca

The FireWolves are still competing for a spot in the Chase for the Championship. The easy answer for the FireWolves is if they win, they’re in. Judging by the last time these two teams faced off on March 26th, the FireWolves may have a tough contest ahead of them after losing 15-6. Albany would actually end the first quarter with the lead. Things went south for the FireWolves in the second quarter as the Riptide went on a six-goal run from the second quarter to the third quarter. Reilly O’Connor put an end to the run, but the Riptide answered back with another two. Ryan Benesch finished the quarter out with a powerplay goal. Like the second quarter, the fourth was all action by the Riptide. With four more goals, the Riptide claimed the 15-6 victory.

New York has been eliminated from the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be trying to end their season with another blowout win against the FireWolves. While the narrative around this team this season was their record did not match their talent level, they have closed the season looking like the team we expected to see throughout. Jeff Teat is arguably one of the top players in the league as a rookie, Callum Crawford still can play at an elite level and Steven Orleman looks to be their goalie of the future. When healthy, this offense is one of the most potent in the NLL and their backend is getting more cohesive each game.

Toronto Rock* (12-5) at Buffalo Bandits* (14-3) – 7:30pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca

Toronto and Buffalo have clinched the top two seeds in the East Conference and the NLL. Buffalo is the number one seed for the East Conference, followed by Toronto as number two. These two teams will be using this game as a potential tune up to what could be the East Conference finals matchup. The Rock and Bandits have gone head-to-head twice already this season, and both teams capitalized on their home-turf advantage by securing a win.

In the first game, on January 8th in Banditland, the Bandits owned the first quarter scoring all three of the frame’s goals. The half would end in a closely contested game at 5-4 with Buffalo in the lead. The Rock offense went cold only scoring two goals in the second half, one in each quarter, while the Bandits added seven to their lead with the assistance of some powerplay opportunities. The game ended in a 12-6 victory for Buffalo with the two teams playing physical at the end and showcasing why this is such a heated rivalry.

The teams met again, this time on February 12th at FirstOntario Centre. Hungry for revenge, the Rock set the pace in the first quarter with the first goal of the game and three straight to end the frame. The Bandits had one goal under their belts as they moved into the second quarter. Each team enjoyed a run in the second frame. The Bandits went for three goals, before Reid Reinholdt started the four-goal run for the Rock in the final five minutes of the half. Action was low in the third, and the Bandits attempted to shorten the Rock’s lead by adding two more. The Bandits were able to tie the score in the fourth but then allowed three straight by the Rock to put the game out of reach.

Saskatchewan Rush (7-10) at Panther City Lacrosse Club (7-10) – 8:30pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca

While this game will have no impact on the playoff race, there is still a lot of pride for both of these teams to finish their seasons on a high note. It is expected to be Jeff Shattler’s last game in the NLL as he announced this would be his last season prior to the season starting. The 2011 MVP and former 1st round draft pick from the 2005 Entry Draft has accumulated over 350 goals in his career and almost 900 points in his 16 seasons. He is a two-time champion (2009 and 2018) and will go down as one of the best and most respected players in league history.

While the season did not go the Rush’s way, they have turned the narrative around in recent weeks, winning three straight games since announcing their coaching change. The offseason will raise lots of questions given the number of aging players and unrestricted free agents the team has from their dynasty run as well as the result from this season. Will this be the last game in a Rush uniform for players like Kyle Rubisch, Ryan Dilks, Chris Corbeil, Mark Matthews and Robert Church? On the other side of the floor for the Rush, they will have to make some decisions in net. The team started the season with Adam Shute in net, signed veteran Eric Penney to take the role midway through the season, signed former first round pick and Saskatchewan native Laine Hruska, and have Cameron Dunkerley on the roster. With Las Vegas expansion coming this summer, the Rush could lose one of their potential starting goalies for next season.

While Panther City will not make the playoffs, they have turned a lot of heads in the NLL in their first season in play as a franchise. The team plays with all out effort in every game and has a group of young players that will continue to develop together. If it were not for Jeff Teat, Patrick Dodds could have been the easy choice for best rookie out the front door this season. Will Malcom has taken large strides in his second year in the NLL and the midseason signings of street free agents Dean Fairall and Cam Milligan prove there is still so much talent available for teams to get better. The teams defense improved over the season and they have two goaltenders to grow around in Nick Damude and Kevin Orleman. It will be a competitive camp next year when you add in they expect to get Randy Staats back from injury and their number one overall pick from the 2021 Entry Draft in Jonathan Donville joining the roster.

Colorado Mammoth* (10-7) at Calgary Roughnecks* (9-8) – 9:00pm ET – ESPN+/Sports Interaction Game of the Week on TSN

The Sports Interaction Game of the Week on TSN could help decide the regular season champions of the West Conference. Coming into this game, the Roughnecks had a 15-7 setback last week against the Knighthawks in a surprising defeat given Calgary was on a five game win streak heading into the game. Their win streak was enough to get them a spot in the playoffs but now they want to be able to play in front of the Rough House for at least the first round of the playoffs. Colorado was on a bye in Week 21 but did lose their last game out against the Rush by a 9-8 final.

A pretty simple scenario, whoever wins this game will get a home playoff game. Should Colorado win, they will be the top seed in the West. Each team has a win so far against the other, with both games happening in early February. The home team won both games if that is any indicator for this weekend. In the Mammoth’s win on February 5, Connor Robinson recorded his first career sock trick while Ryan Lee had nine assists on the night in their 14-10 victory. The Mammoth scored the last seven of the game including shutting the Roughnecks out in the fourth quarter.

In the Roughnecks win on February 11, Jesse King led the offense with six points (2g, 4a) while Zach Currier was everywhere with two goals, 14 loose balls, a blocked shot, and five caused turnovers. Flipping the script, the Roughnecks scored the final four goals of the game and shut the Mammoth out in the fourth quarter to end the game with a 9-7 win.

San Diego Seals* (9-8) at Vancouver Warriors (6-11) – 10:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca

The Seals season continued to slide with their sixth straight loss last weekend against the Rush. Luckily for the Seals, their play earlier in the season was good enough to ensure they made the playoffs but now they are at risk of losing a home playoff game which seemed like an almost certainty at the beginning of March. Simple scenario for San Diego, win and they will get that home playoff game. If they lose, they will need some help from Colorado to defeat Calgary.

In their way for a victory is the Vancouver Warriors who are eliminated from playoff contention. Despite being eliminated from the playoffs, Vancouver has played San Diego well this season, winning both of their matchups. The first win was the first game of the season where Alex Buque saved 53 of 60 shots, Mitch Jones scored five goals and Keegan Bal had six points (1g, 5a). The Seals battled tough, Dane Dobbie had five points (1g, 4a) in his first game in the purple and gold but lost the game 8-7.

Their second game on March 25 saw the Warriors come away with a 14-12 victory. Four players for Vancouver had at least five points, led by Bal and Logan Schuss with eight each (2g, 6a). Kyle Killen scored four goals and rookie Reid Bowering totaled one assist, 16 loose balls, three blocked shots and four caused turnovers. Dobbie once again led the Seals with eight points (4g, 4a), Jeremy Noble contributed with five assists and Austin Staats totaled four points (2g, 2a).

The Warriors saw their season slide in the last month as well, losing eight of their last nine to take them from third in the West to sixth. One wonders what would have happened should Mitch Jones have not gotten injured earlier in the season and if Tyrell Hamer-Jackson was able to finish the season. Kyle Killen returned to his rookie year self in his first year with the Warriors, scoring 41 goals heading into the final weekend. Keegan Bal should be on superstar watch in years ahead, leading the team with 95 points and 45 goals. With five points, he will be the first player from the franchise to record 100 points in a season since Corey Small in 2017. Rookies Adam Charalambides and Reid Bowering made huge impacts for their team. Bowering looks like a force to be reckoned with for years to come. The same question around the Rush will impact the Warriors this offseason in net. Their two goalies had streaks of brilliance and then disbelief with both Alex Buque and Steve Fryer. Fryer has the better goals against average and save percentage, but Buque has the majority of the minutes and a 5-7 win-loss record.

*Clinched playoff berth

Playoff Scenarios


Can clinch an East Conference playoff berth with:

  1. Win vs. New York AND Georgia loss vs. Philadelphia

Can clinch a Wildcard playoff berth with:

  1. Philadelphia loss at Georgia

Can be eliminated from playoff consideration with:

  1. Loss vs. New York AND Philadelphia win at Georgia


Can clinch the West Conference regular season title with:

  1. Win vs. Colorado AND San Diego loss at Vancouver

Can clinch a Quarterfinal home game with:

  1. Win vs. Colorado


Can clinch the West Conference regular season title with:

  1. Win at Calgary

Can clinch a Quarterfinal home game with:

  1. San Diego loss at Vancouver


Can clinch an East Conference playoff berth with:

  1. Win vs. Philadelphia

Can clinch a Wildcard playoff berth with:

  1. Loss vs. Philadelphia AND Albany loss vs. New York

Can be eliminated from playoff consideration with:

  1. Loss vs. Philadelphia AND Albany win vs. New York


Can clinch an East Conference playoff berth with:

  1. Win at Georgia AND Albany loss vs. New York

Can clinch a Wildcard playoff berth with:

  1. Win at Georgia AND Albany win vs. New York

Can be eliminated from playoff consideration with:

  1. Loss at Georgia


Can clinch the West Conference regular season title with:

  1. Win at Vancouver AND Colorado loss at Calgary

Can clinch a Quarterfinal home game with:

  1. Win at Vancouver, OR
  2. Calgary loss vs. Colorado