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What to Expect: Week 3

All games are available on ESPN+ and TSN‘s digital properties, TSN.ca and the TSN App.

Fri. December 16

Roughnecks (1-0) at Warriors (0-2) – 10pm ET – Game of the Week on TSN

Kicking off Week 3 is a rematch of last week’s Game of the Week on TSN between the Roughnecks and Warriors. This time around, the Warriors will be the hosts. Last week, the Roughnecks took the victory 11-9.

While still early in the season, this almost feels like a must win for the Warriors. They do not want to be the first team to reach three losses on the season and the potential tiebreaker with the Roughnecks. While not on the winning end, there was drastic improvements from Week 1. The Warriors would never lead in this game but would show the resilience needed from a contending team to claw their way in this game. The Roughnecks on the other hand would be glad to take the tiebreaker against their conference rival in only two games.

For a full preview of this game, click here.

Panther City (1-0) at Desert Dogs (0-1) – 10:30pm ET – ESPN2

In another home and home series, the Las Vegas Desert Dogs will make their much-anticipated home debut at Michelob ULTRA Arena. To add to the excitement is the fact they will be featured on ESPN2 in front of a wide audience.

While so much work was going on behind the scenes which you can read more about here, the team was finally able to play a NLL lacrosse game that counted last week against the same Panther City team they will play this weekend. While not the result they wanted, they played a competitive game, falling 11-13.

There were sparks right away as John Wagner scored the first goal in franchise history just 22 seconds into the opening faceoff. At the half, the game would be tied. Panther City would use a six goal third quarter to take the edge in the game.

This is the second of three meetings between these two teams this season. Las Vegas will try to avoid losing the tiebreaker this early in the season. Panther City was able to secure their first win in game five of their inaugural campaign. Can the Desert Dogs top that mark?

Sat. December 17

Bandits (0-1) at Rock (1-1) – 7pm ET

In a much-anticipated rematch of last season’s East Conference Final will set off the start of Saturday’s action with a bang. While fan bases for both teams are scratching their heads wondering how they each already have a loss when last season they combined for nine losses for all the 2021-22 regular season.

The Bandits lost their first game in Week 1 to the Albany FireWolves by a score of 10-11. The Bandits outshot Albany 55-38 but was unable to defeat Doug Jamieson for most of the night. Tehoka Nanticoke scored three goals and last season’s MVP in Dhane Smith had five assists on the night.

The Rock looked dominant in Week 1 against Vancouver but fell back to Earth last week against Rochester. The scoring dropped from 18 goals in Week 1 to just seven last week. The Rock fell early in the game but was unable to mount a comeback. Stephen Keogh was a bright spot with a hattrick on the night but otherwise the offense struggled to beat the Knighthawks defense and Rylan Hartley in net.

In the regular season, the Rock took two of three from the Bandits including the regular season finale which meant nothing more than bragging rights. In the post season, the Bandits took both games from the Rock in the final seconds of each game. In the first game the Rock just missed out on the tying goal at the end of regular after hitting a post with under 10 seconds remaining. In Game 2, it looked like they had the tying goal but was after the expiration of the game clock. For two of the favorites in the East, they each need a win to stay on track for what is only four guaranteed playoff spots in the conference.

Knighthawks (2-0) at FireWolves (1-0) – 7pm ET

In what is a sneaky good game on the weekend showcases two of the New York teams with undefeated records on the line. Rochester has turned some heads with their 2-0 start to the season (after a 4-14 record last year) and taking on Albany who, after changing their whole offense, was able to control the game against Buffalo in Week 1.

For Rochester a big change is with the addition of Connor Fields who is leading the league in points after two weeks at 17. Thomas Hoggarth is top five in the league with six goals in two games. Rylan Hartley has 96 saves on 114 shots in two games (.842 save percentage).

Albany came in and had the biggest upset in Week 1 by defeating the Bandits. They played the type of lacrosse we expected them to. The defense was fast and the ball was moving quickly in the offensive end. Scoring was done by committee with four players with two goals. Tanner Thomson led the team with six points. Doug Jamieson was spectacular in net, recording 10 or more saves in each quarter.

Last season the Knighthawks won both their matchups against the FireWolves. In the last matchup the Knighthawks took the win at home with a score of 15-13. Will we get to see another viral moment from these teams?

Wings (0-1) at Swarm (0-1) – 7pm ET

The Wings and Swarm come into this week after a bye in Week 2. One team will get their season back on track with a win and if it is anything like their last handful of matchups, we will have another great game on our hands. The last three matchups have been decided in overtime and the two games prior to were decided by one goal.

For the visiting Wings, they lost in Week 1 to the Thunderbirds by a score of 18-8. Goaltender Zach Higgins had a night to forget, saving 12 shots on 21 attempts on net. On the other end, the offense had a tough time getting shots on net and getting them past Warren Hill. Blaze Riorden was the only one who could find consistency to do so, scoring five of the teams eight goals. Joe Resetarits in his team debut recorded just two points on the night with two assists.

The Swarm come in off a loss in Week 1 to the Knighthawks by a score of 16-11. Georgia would actually be leading at the half 9-6 but were outscored 10-2 in the second half. Jeremy Thompson felt at home in a Swarm uniform, scoring two goals, adding an assist, scooping 13 loose balls and winning almost 78% of his faceoff attempts. This team still has a lot of young pieces like Ryan Lanchbury and Andrew Kew or new faces to the lineup and will take some time to gel. Craig Wende got the start in net, saving just under 74% of shots seen.

Thunderbirds (1-0) at Riptide (0-1) – 7:30pm ET

Another critical early season matchup continues a busy night in the NLL on Saturday. Halifax comes in off a bye when they may not have wanted one, after winning their opening matchup by a score of 18-8. The offense was clicking on all cylinders which you can read more about here. Their new additions in Ryan Benesch and Randy Staats fit right into the lineup, combining for 14 points on the night.

The Riptide lost a nail biter to the Seals in Week 1. Down five at one point in the fourth, the team put up a ferocious comeback but fell just short of tying the game at the end of regulation. While no loss feels good, the team has to have confidence in taking one of the favorites to win the championship to the brink. Steven Orleman had a very solid rookie campaign last season and looks to take the next step in his career as the number one goalie for this balanced Riptide team.

Last season the Thunderbirds took both regular season matchups against the Riptide. In the most recent game, the Thunderbirds won 16-13 behind an eight-point performance from Austin Shanks and a seven-point performance by Clarke Petterson.

Mammoth (0-1) at Panther City (TBD) – 8pm ET

Week 3 ends with the Mammoth taking on Panther City, which will be PC’s second game of the weekend. It is crazy to think that depending on the outcomes, Panther City could be alone in first in the conference at 3-0 after a slow start in their inaugural campaign last year.

The Mammoth on the other hand would like to get back on track to defend their title. In Week 1 against the Rush, nothing seemed to go right. The team would lose 18-6, the lowest scoring output of the season so far for any team. The offense struggled but was still missing key pieces in Ryan Lee, Chris Wardle, and Tyson Gibson who may all be out again this weekend. To add depth to their righties, they signed veteran Rhys Duch to help create more scoring opportunities.

Last season Panther City saw success against the Mammoth, winning two of three matchups. In their latest game on March 26, Panther City took the low scoring victory of 10-6. Former Mammoth, Will Malcom, had five points on the night along with Patrick Dodds to lead both teams. Both goaltenders had successful nights, but Nick Damude would prevail, saving 41 of 47 shots for Panther City.

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