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Game Previews

What to Expect: Week 7

All games are available on ESPN+ and TSN+

Fri. Jan. 13

FireWolves (1-2) at Thunderbirds (3-1) – 6:30pm ET – TSN Game of the Week

Week 7 starts off Friday night with Game of the Week on TSN. These two opponents matched up last week with the Thunderbirds coming away with the win by a score of 14-11. In one of the close matchups from last week, each team traded quarter successes but eventually saw Halifax pull away with in the fourth, outscoring the FireWolves 5-2 including the final four goals to secure the three-goal win. Expect another close game going back and forth, the largest lead of last week was just three goals when Eric Fannell scored the final goal of the game.

After winning their first game against the Bandits, the FireWolves schedule has been tough, playing the undefeated Knighthawks and the surging Thunderbirds on back-to-back weeks. The team can compete with anyone and does it through an offense that moves the ball fast, their work in transition, and stout defense and goaltending. The team had 10 different players record a point and Justin Geddie played his heart out after Doug Jamieson was a late addition to the Physically Unable to Perform List, saving 61 of 75 shots on net including a 21 save fourth quarter.

The Thunderbirds continue their hot offense with another game 14 goals, lowering their season average to a whopping 16.25 goals scored per game. Randy Staats may have a case for comeback player of the year, most improved player of the year, and MVP votes as he leads the league with 33 points in four games played, on pace for 148.5 as of now. The cherry on top being the scrap he got into as well.

Rush (2-1) at Mammoth (2-1) – 9pm ET

The second half of the Friday night doubleheader takes us back to Colorado with the Mammoth taking on the Rush for the second time this year. In Week 1, the Rush dominated the Mammoth at home with a final score of 18-6. If the Rush win the game, they will take the early season tiebreaker with the third and final matchup being on April 22.

The Rush come in off a bye week in Week 6 but won the final game of the 2022 calendar year against Panther City with a score of 11-9. The Rush scored the first three goals and would not relinquish the lead the remainder of the game. Nine different players scored their 11 goals while the defense held PCLC to just 47 shots on goal. If it wasn’t for a huge comeback in their game against the Seals, this Rush team could be 3-0 and leading the conference, but as a whole, look much improved to last season.

The Mammoth are coming in off a come from behind win last week against the Roughnecks as they celebrated their championship from last season and will look for redemption from their Week 1 blowout. Last week, Connor Robinson got his season on track, scoring five goals in their win. Rhys Duch has fit in nicely with this group, recording five points last week, including his 1,000th career point which came on the first Mammoth goal of the game. Zed Williams was inactive for the game due to an illness.

Sat. Jan. 14

Thunderbirds (TBD) at Rock (2-2) – 7pm ET

Saturday’s busy schedule showcases two of the top teams in the East from early season predictions. The Thunderbirds will come in after playing the previous night which could determine who plays in net and who is active for their matchup against the Rock given the quick turnaround.

The Rock got a huge win last weekend against the Riptide. Despite allowing the first three goals of the game, they would use a dominating second and third quarter, including a nine-goal run, to take the game 15-7. The offense came alive with nine players scoring a goal and peppering the Riptide goaltenders with 71 shots on goal.

Halifax took two of three regular season matchups, but the Rock defeated the Thunderbirds in the first round of the playoffs, 14-13 in overtime. Challen Rogers got the game winning goal, but the team got contributions from Tom Schreiber with a hattrick and Brad Kri with two assists, five loose ball recoveries and five caused turnovers. For the Thunderbirds, Cody Jamieson had five points and Jake Withers dominated the faceoffs, winning 21 of 31.

Panther City (2-3) at Wings (2-1) – 7pm ET

The Wings and Panther City continue their non-conference games this week after Philadelphia defeated Las Vegas and PCLC fell to Rochester. These two have seen each other before, in Panther City’s first ever game last year. The Wings would tie the game in the fourth and win 23 seconds into the extra period from a Matt Rambo goal.

After starting the season 2-0 and two well rounded wins against the Desert Dogs, Panther City has dropped three straight. Outside of the final score, Panther City would look to compete with Rochester, winning 50% of faceoffs and having virtually the same number of shots on goals and success on the powerplay. However, the final score read 17-9 with no moral victories. Jonathan Donville is proving why he was a number one overall pick with six points last week. Cam MacLeod would come in to relieve Nick Damude in the first quarter but would struggle himself, saving just 29 of 41 shots.

After a bad loss in Week 1, the Wings have won two straight and are finding a rhythm. The Wings exploded offensively in the third, scoring six goals. Joe Resetarits had another great game with nine points while Ben McIntosh had five goals. While they didn’t put tons of shots on net, they took advantage of the powerplay, scoring three times on four opportunities.

Swarm (0-3) at Bandits (3-1) – 7:30pm ET

These two teams played each other last week and will see each other again. In an emotional game in Georgia, with Buffalo Bills player, Damar Hamlin on their minds, the Bandits cruised to an 18-9 victory.

The struggle for the Swarm was their defense and goaltending. Craig Wende and Brett Dobson combined for 37 saves on 55 shots. Dobson played the majority of the game and was thrown into one of the hottest fires for a rookie goaltender to try and compete against.

Brandon Robinson for the Bandits had one, if not the best game of his career with five goals on just seven shots. Tehoka Nanticoke, Kyle Buchanan, and Josh Byrne also each had three or more goals each.

Seals (4-0) at Roughnecks (2-2) – 9pm ET

The Seals have their perfect record on the line to a solid Roughnecks team who wants to redeem themselves for their two straight losses. The first loss was against these Seals on December 30 by a score of 17-14. Early in the fourth quarter of that game, the Roughnecks found themselves trailing 17-9 but scored five straight to make it a competitive game. Expect them to come out firing to prevent having to make that kind of comeback effort. Dane Dobbie, Wes Berg, and Curtis Dickson combined for 11 goals and 25 points for the Seals. This is two of three matchups this season so if the Seals win, they will hold any potential tiebreaker to the Roughnecks.

Last Week, the Seals defeated the winless Warriors, 16-11. Chris Origlieri got the start in net and did enough to win the game, saving 37 of 48 shots. The usual suspects carried the brunt of the offense but a total of 13 players recorded a point.

The Roughnecks lost a close contest to the defending champion, Colorado Mammoth last weekend by a score of 9-8. By many accounts, the Roughnecks dominated the game but ran into a hot Dillon Ward who saved multiple fastbreak and breakaway opportunities which would have swung momentum dramatically. Zach Currier performed like we would expect with 15 loose ball recoveries and three caused turnovers.

Desert Dogs (0-3) at Warriors (0-4) – 10pm ET

Good news for one of these two teams is they will get their first win of the 2022-23 season. The bad news is for whoever loses is they fall further behind in the standings in a competitive West Conference. They will take each other on in the following week on January 20.

After a lethargic home opener only scoring three goals, the Desert Dogs bounced back but not enough to take down the Wings in Week 6. From the third to fourth quarters, the Wings outscored the Desert Dogs 8-2 and the team ran out of steam. Landon Kells got another start in net, saving 24 of 38 shots as he continues his development as an everyday goalie in the NLL.

The Warriors had their highest scoring output of the season with 11 goals against the Seals. Outside of allowing six of eight goals at one point during the game, the team had its best performance of the season. In net, Aden Walsh got the start and saved 27 of 42 shots after the team released Steve Fryer. Reid Bowering did his best with 20 loose ball recoveries, two caused turnovers, and three points on the night. The Warriors were one of two teams to part with their general manager this week. It will be interesting to see how the team reacts knowing everyone is on the hot seat.

Sun. Jan. 15

Knighthawks (4-0) at Riptide (0-3) – 3pm ET

For the first time this season, we have Sunday lacrosse! The East leading Knighthawks take on their expansion partners from the 2019-20 season in the New York Riptide to close Week 7. Last season, the Riptide took two of three from the Knighthawks. In their last game, New York dominated with a 15-7 score line.

The Knighthawks have been the feel-good story of the season, already matching their win total from the 2021-22 season in their first four games (and almost doubling their franchises total wins). To add, they have done it against tough competition with two playoff teams from last season in the Rock and FireWolves, and a Georgia and Panther City team that were close to spots in the playoffs as well.

Everything has been working for this team. Their offense is one of the highest scoring at 14.25 per game and defensively, they are allowing just 10 goals per game. Much like an individual game, sometimes streaks can abruptly end, how long can the Knighthawks set the pace for the remainder of the East and play at this level?

For the Riptide, their production has decreased in all three games so far this season, scoring just seven goals against the Rock last week which led to the decision to part ways with general manager, Jim Veltman. Jeff Teat was held goalless and with just two assists. For a team we expected to be able to compete in high scoring games, it is a bit of a concern. On the backend, they are allowing a league worst 16.67 goals per game which could be inflated given the teams they have played. For a team that had high expectations coming into the season for competing for a playoff spot, it may be now or never with how competitive the East is.