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Game RecapsStories/Op-Ed

Winning Streaks and Milestones Highlight a Thrilling Week 8

The Albany FireWolves Finally Go Down in Defeat

They say that all good things must come to an end. On Saturday night, the Albany FireWolves experienced this scenario, losing their first game of the season to the visiting San Diego Seals 14-7. The dynamic duo of Alex Simmons and Ethan Walker did not play up to their normal goal-scoring standards, with Simmons posting one goal and one assist, and Walker chipping in one goal and three assists.

The stars of San Diego came to play in this one with Austin Staats tallying four goals and three assists, Curtis Dickson blasting another four scores, amid Dane Dobbie and Wesley Berg combining for a whopping 10 assists. The Seals jumped out to 4-0 and 7-1 leads before Albany scored five-consecutive goals, cutting the score to 7-6. From that point on, the boys from Southern California took over, connecting on seven of the final eight goals enroute to a decisive win.

Next weekend, the Seals head back to the East Coast for a matchup with the Philadelphia Wings, while the now 6-1 FireWolves have a much-deserved week off.

The Toronto Rock Remain Undefeated

With the Albany FireWolves coming out on the losing end, the Toronto Rock had the opportunity to leave the weekend as the NLL’s lone squad without a loss. Initially, it looked like the Rock would follow the path of the FireWolves, as they found themselves down to the Georgia Swarm 5-3 at half. Head coach Matt Sawyer must have given quite a locker-room speech because the home team gave the Hamilton fans quite the second half show, scoring eight of the last 10 goals, resulting in a 12-9 comeback victory. Corey Small and Dan Craig brought it in the second half, with Small netting four goals and Craig finding his way to two.

Despite what turned out to be a very disappointing loss, the Swarm reached two notable milestones as the iconic Lyle Thompson surpassed 300 goals for his career, and Andrew Kew notched his 100th career score. The always impressive Thompson’s night featured three goals and three assists.

The Rock look to remain undefeated next weekend when hosting their archrival Buffalo Bandits.

Curt Malawsky Owns the Saskatchewan Rush

First-year Vancouver Warriors head coach Curt Malawsky must love the sight of the Saskatchewan Rush on the schedule. In the wake of Saturday’s 11-9 Vancouver victory in Saskatoon, the legendary coach now owns a 9-1 record in his last 10 matchups with the franchise which boasts the bright green floor. The Rush led 7-3 after 30 minutes, but come the second half, the Malawsky magic took hold with Vancouver collecting the final six goals, outpacing the home squad 11-9.

Warriors’ star Adam Charalambides secured four goals and three assists, including three scores in the fourth quarter. Keegan Bal and Kevin Crowley added three and two goals respectively, as the Warriors ran roughshod over Robert Church, Zach Manns and company. Vancouver simply could not be stopped in the second half.

8,250 boisterous fans filled the SaskTel Centre on a bitter cold night in the shadow of Saskatoon International Airport.

The Saskatchewan Rush host the Vancouver Warriors at Sask Tel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, January 20, 2024

The Roughnecks and Mammoth Battle It Out In Denver

Ball Arena played host to a highly competitive affair between the 2019 champion Calgary Roughnecks and the 2022 title holding Colorado Mammoth. Just shy of 10,000 fans jammed the LOUD HOUSE to take in the action. Tied 6-6 in the third quarter, the Mammoth found the back of the net on consecutive occasions, gaining an 8-6 lead they would never relinquish, with the Mammoth procuring a 13-10 victory. Connor Kelly fortified a four-goal performance, while Connor Robinson assisted on six of his team’s goals and Eli McLaughlin inscribed two goals and four assists onto his resume.

Thomas Hoggarth completed a three-goal night for Calgary, with Tanner Cook, Shane Simpson and Haiden Dickson getting two goals apiece in the Mile High City.

In the matchup of world class goaltenders, Dillon Ward stopped 37 shots, while reigning NLL MVP Christian Del Bianco got in the way of 36 attempts, but it was Ward who exited the floor in triumph.

Calgary Roughnecks at Colorado Mammoth on 01/20/24 from Ball Arena in Denver Colorado.

Teat Takes Down Defending Champs

Friday night’s lone game featured an Empire State matchup between the New York Riptide and Buffalo Bandits. It was a special night in downtown Buffalo with KeyBank Center hosting Tucker Out Lymphoma Night, in honor of the late Tucker Williams. Tucker’s father, Desert Dogs’ head coach and general manager Shawn Williams, was on hand for the event, along with 14,440 spectators.

The 15-13 New York victory was dominated by Jeff Teat, who posted four goals and six assists, including the game-winning score with under two minutes remaining. Stephen Keogh added four goals and one assist, with Reilly O’Connor helping on seven scores. The Riptide jumped out to a 10-3 lead in the wake of seven-consecutive second-quarter goals. The Bandits mounted a furious second-half comeback, tying the game at 13, thanks to three-straight fourth-quarter goals, before Teat flipped the switch to seal the game.

Despite a rough night that saw him pulled and then put back into the game, Buffalo legend Matt Vinc became the first goalie in NLL history to achieve 10,000 career saves.

NLL