Friday, January 4
Riptide (1-5) at Thunderbirds (3-1) – 7:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca
This game is the rescheduled game originally from January 8. The Riptide and the Thunderbirds will finally go head-to-head this Friday at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, ON and kick off another action-packed weekend for the NLL. Due to COVID restrictions in Nova Scotia, the Thunderbirds were able to reschedule in Hamilton and play in an empty venue. Both teams experienced heartbreaking losses last week. Halifax left Albany last weekend with their first loss of the season, scoring a season low six goals. New York fell short to Buffalo in a gut-wrenching overtime loss, 18-17. A few weeks ago, many would have easily picked the Thunderbirds but with all the circumstances and recent performances, this could be an interesting matchup. Halifax is hoping to have their points leader, Clarke Petterson (8g, 10a), back on the active roster to lead their offense this Friday. Jeff Teat for the Riptide was named Rookie of the Week for his performance last weekend with 12 points (3g, 9a). Teat is averaging 7.75 points per game through his four first games, on pace for 124 if he plays in the teams remaining 12 games which would blow the rookie record away should he come anywhere close. The Riptide hope not to see an overtime game where they are 0-3 on extra time.
FireWolves (3-2) at Swarm (2-4) – 7:30pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca
The Albany FireWolves are on a hot streak winning their past three games after an 0-2 start. The FireWolves have gone on their three-game win streak through the power of their defense and goaltending, having scored 10+ goals one time this season. The FireWolves average the lowest amount of goals scored per game, but also allow the lowest number of goals. Goalie Doug Jamieson is a force to be reckoned with after only letting 6 of the 52 shots on goal past him last weekend. Jamieson boasts a 9.02 goals against average, which is second best in the league behind Frank Scigiliano. Six FireWolves were able to score throughout the game, and Charlie Kitchen netted two goals which lead the FireWolves to victory. Last weekend Georgia slowly lost their momentum facing Philadelphia, losing a 6-2 halftime lead in an 8-7 defeat. For the Swarm to remain in contention, they will need to start by securing their first home victory this weekend.
Saturday, January 5
Swarm (TBD) at FireWolves (TBD) – 7:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca
If you thought you had enough of these two teams on Friday, think again because they will play against one another for the second time this weekend on Saturday but this time in Albany. Hopefully this double header will serve as a redemption game for whichever team loses on Friday. The FireWolves are 2-1 in their home at MVP Arena whereas the Swarm are 2-2 on the road having defeated the Knighthawks and Riptide earlier this season. Georgia has struggled in the second half of games this season. They sport a +9 in the first two quarters, but a -8 in the second half, not including overtime.
Knighthawks (2-4) at Bandits (5-0) – 7:30pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca
Whenever the Knighthawks and Bandits play, there is going to be a battle. Last weekend, the New York Riptide gave the Buffalo Bandits a run for their money in a wild game. A matchup between the first place and last place teams in the league left everyone on the edge of their seats. After 17 goals from both sides of the arena, Chris Cloutier scored a power play goal just over a minute into overtime, allowing the Bandits to maintain their undefeated status. The Bandits lead the league in scoring at 14 goals per game, led by Dhane Smith, who is on pace for a 2016-like season where he set the NLL record for points in a season with 137. The Rochester Knighthawks will enter Week 10 on a three-game losing streak after a 2-1 start. Knighthawks’ Shawn Evans is anticipated to pass Josh Sanderson for ninth on the all-time goals list at 450 with just one goal this weekend. This will be the second time these teams face each other this season. In Week 2, each team had a quarter with no goals in the first half and were tied 6-6 heading into the fourth. The Bandits would outscore the Knighthawks 6-2 in the final frame behind Connor Fields solid fourth quarter with three of his six points.
Rock (3-3) at Wings (5-3) – 8:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca
The Wings will host their seventh home game of the season as they welcome the Rock, who have played their last two games at home in front of no fans. The Rock won their previous matchup against the Wings this season on December 18, 12-9 in Hamilton. Rob Hellyer was named first star of the game with three goals and three assists. Tom Schreiber recorded a sock trick last weekend against Rochester and was not active for the first matchup against the Wings. The Rock won the last matchup against the Wings after a strong six goal run from the second to third quarter to give them the lead that would not relinquish the remainder of the game. Matt Rambo tried his best to keep the Wings in the game, recording seven points, (1g, 6a). This will be another great matchup at the faceoff circle with TD Ierlan taking on Trevor Baptiste. The Wings have played in three overtime games this season and feel most comfortable in those games, winning all three of those matchups. Four of their five wins this season have been decided by two or less.
Roughnecks (1-3) at Mammoth (4-1) – 9:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca
The longstanding rivalry between the Roughnecks and Mammoth will get a new chapter as this will be the first matchup of these two Western Conference foes this season. This is the Mammoth’s annual Lacrosse Out Cancer game, which has led to some instant classics in 2014 and 2016 against the Roughnecks. The Mammoth are on a three game win streak after beating Vancouver in their last two games. The Roughnecks are still on a slide after losing their last two games to the Seals, those games being a difficult six weeks apart. They now enter a stretch with consistent games being played. Ryan Lee is making a strong case for team, if not league MVP this season with 34 points through five games played for what has traditionally been a low scoring offense in Colorado. Dillon Ward meanwhile is back on track and is leading the NLL in save percentage at .818, among goalies with at least 100 minutes played. For Calgary, only two players have crossed the 10 point mark and on the backend, Christian Del Bianco has been struggling with a 14.02 goals allowed average and a .720 save percentage.
Panther City (1-5) at Warriors (2-3) – 10:00pm ET – ESPN+/Sports Interaction Game of the Week on TSN
Panther City and Vancouver will cap off a seven game weekend in the Sports Interaction Game of the Week on TSN. These two teams faced off earlier in the season on December 10 with the Warriors taking the victory, 14-8. Panther City actually outshot the Warriors 55-42 but Alex Buque was solid in net and was named first star of the game with 47 saves on 55 shots. Rookie Reid Bowering recorded a hattrick for the Warriors while Logan Schuss who was inactive the last game in Colorado had a game high of seven points (1g, 6a). It appears the Warriors will be without their star forward and leading scorer, Mitch Jones, who suffered an injury prior to their game against the Mammoth last week. For Panther City, Mike Triolo had a team high five points (2g, 3a). The Warriors are on a three game losing streak after starting off 2-0. Meanwhile for Panther City, if they want to remain within striking distance of a playoff spot, they will need to win these important games against Western Conference opponents. As it currently sits, the Warriors would be the 3rd seed in the West but the four teams beneath them are all in striking distance.