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What to Expect: Week 9

Updated 1.28.22 

Saturday, January 29

Rochester Knighthawks (2-3) at Toronto Rock (2-3) – 7:00pm ET – ESPN+/Sports Interaction Game of the Week on TSN2

The Rochester Knighthawks are on the road again this weekend in Toronto for the Sports Interaction Game of the Week, which will kick off a jampacked Saturday night starting at 7:00PM ET. Although there are no fans allowed in the FirstOntario Centre due to COVID restrictions, this game will be anything but quiet with some Dawson on Dawson battles. Both the Knighthawks and the Rock are in a four way tie in the Eastern Conference standings with a 2-3 record. The Knighthawks are looking to recover after a tough Week 8, where they lost both their matchups. Evans of the Knighthawks needs one goal to pass Josh Sanderson for ninth on the all-time goals list with 450. Even after the tough weekend, Rylan Hartley is still 3rd in the NLL in save percentage for goalies who have played more than one game at .806 but has a 10.85 goals allowed average to show for it (which is better than Evan Kirk’s numbers in his two games). As for Toronto, they lost a heartbreaker to Halifax in overtime in their last game out. Nick Rose was pulled from the game and rookie Troy Holowchuck came in and played great lacrosse. Transition player Challen Rogers recorded a casual nine points on the night and is third on the team with 18 for the season.

Philadelphia Wings (4-3) at Georgia Swarm (2-3) – 7:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca

The Philadelphia Wings and the Georgia Swarm also start at 7:00pm ET Saturday night. Both teams emerged victorious over Rochester last week, with Georgia taking the Friday win and Philadelphia taking the win on Saturday before the Wings fell on Sunday to the Riptide in their doubleheader weekend. This matchup features the league’s top  four points leaders: Kevin Crowley leading the way at 39 points, followed by Lyle Thompson of the Swarm and Matt Rambo at 32, Corey Small sits fourth with 30. Six Wings players are already past the 20-point mark on the season. This is Georgia’s second home game of the season and can guarantee they want to get one for the home crowd. This will also be only the Wings second road game.

Halifax Thunderbirds (3-0) at Albany FireWolves (2-2) – 8:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca

The undefeated Halifax Thunderbirds will be leaving The Nest this weekend to take on the Albany FireWolves. Last time the Thunderbirds took to the turf on January 15, rookie Connor Watson had a memorable debut with 5 points (2g, 3a). Fellow Thunderbird Austin Shanks chipped in with 5 goals and 3 assists, earning the NLL Player of the Week. Ryan Benesch appears to be fitting in just right with the FireWolves’, helping lead them to a two-game winning streak since arriving. Doug Jamieson also seems to have found his groove, saving 69 of his last 82 shots (.841 save percentage). The issue for the FireWolves is on the other end, where they sit in last place at 8.75 goals per game, almost a full goal behind the next worse team.

Panther City Lacrosse Club (1-4) at Saskatchewan Rush (1-4) – 8:30pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca

Not many would have expected that heading into Week 9 that the Rush and Panther City would have the same record yet here we are. Panther City is riding a high after claiming their franchises first career victory two weeks ago against the New York Riptide in one of the longest games in NLL history, going over 10 minutes into overtime. Patrick Dodds sealed the win for PCLC and is leading the league for rookie scorers at 20 points (7g, 13a). Fellow rookies Taite Cattoni and Nathan Grenon have contributed to Panther City’s offense with 10 and 7 points respectively. Saskatchewan will need to find its offense as they are second to last in goals scored at 9.4 goals per game. Josh Currier who was acquired via trade in the offseason, has only tallied 3 points in five games played. For the Rush to win, they will need contributions from outside their top three scorers of Matthews, Church, and Keenan.

Vancouver Warriors (2-2) at Colorado Mammoth (3-1) – 9:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca

For both the Warriors and Mammoth, their last game out was against each other in a wild game on January 7 in Vancouver, with the Mammoth taking the win 18-15 in Vancouver. The Warriors were quick to chase Dillon Ward out of net, scoring 7 goals in the first 4:35 of the game (Ward allowing 5 of those). The Mammoth were able to keep their composure and just chip away at the Warriors lead which was 9-2 at the end of the first quarter. The Mammoth would outscore the Warriors 8-3 in the second quarter and then 8-3 in the second half. Ryan Lee was named first star of the game with 12 points (2g, 10a). Connor Robinson had his first big game in a Mammoth uniform, tallying 8 points (4g, 4a). Rookie Sam LeClair in his second career game recorded his second hattrick. For the Warriors, Mitch Jones recorded 9 points (2g, 7a) and Kyle Killen got revenge on his former team, going for 7 points (4g, 3a).

Calgary Roughnecks (1-2) at San Diego Seals (4-1) – 10:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca

Who will stand between the pipes for the Seals this week? In their last three games, the Seals have started three different goalies, including two rookies, and were able to remain victorious in all three games behind Frank Scigliano, Chris Origlieri, and Justin Geddie. The Roughnecks last game was their loss to San Diego on December 17, 17-12 at home. Dane Dobbie made himself at home, scoring 7 goals on the night. Offense was easy flowing but only five Seals scored their 17 goals. Dobbie was visibly hurt in their last game in Saskatchewan on January 14 but still had two goals. Jeremy Noble is returning to form so many saw in the early stages of his career, with 19 assists in four games. Curtis Dickson was doing Superman things, recording 7 points in their last matchup (5g, 2a) and will need some assistance to beat the Seals. The game was all but decided at halftime with the Seals leading the Roughnecks 10-2. Crazy stat to think about, Christian Del Bianco is last among goalies with over 100 minutes played in both save percentage (.730) and goals allowed average (14.33). Lots of lacrosse left to play for the Riggers to get back on track.

Sunday, January 30

Buffalo Bandits (4-0) at New York Riptide (1-4) – 1:00pm ET- ESPN+/TSN.ca

The New York Riptide brought home their first win of the season last weekend, beating the Wings on the road. The Riptide able to capitalize on a strong 3rd quarter to hold off Philadelphia. Callum Crawford is one goal short of becoming the 16th player in league history to reach 400 goals in his career. Jeff Teat had another stellar performance with one goal and six assists and is now second in rookie scoring with 19 points through three games played. Connor Kearnan seemed to be the biggest beneficiary of the ball distribution last week with four goals on the night. You are usually doing something right if you lead the league in goals for and goals against, which the Bandits are doing. The Bandits’ offense brings their talent to each and every game, and their tallied points can prove it. In their last game against the Swarm, 13 different players earned at least one point. Although the Bandits have a stellar record, the now victorious Riptide looking to put an end to that streak. No team is invincible, but the Bandits are looking close to it right now. This will be another test on the road which they have only done once so far this season.