With each NALL team facing their final new opponent this past weekend, we got a much better sense of where each team really stacks up in the league. On Friday night the Boston Rockhoppers hosted the Rhode Island Kingfish, while the Kentucky Stickhorses hosted the Baltimore Bombers on both Friday and Sunday.
Boston 20 – Rhode Island 7
If it wasn’t official before, it is now: Boston is the team to beat in the NALL. They’re the only team in the league to score 20 goals in a game, and they’ve done it two games in a row. With Peter Vlahakis dominating faceoffs and the Rockhoppers controlling possession early on, Boston scored ten unanswered goals and put this game away early.
Boston’s Vince Talbot, who’s given up only 19 goals in his past 10 quarters in cage only allowed one goal before making way for Nick Schroeder in the second half. On the offensive side, five different Rockhoppers tallied at least three goals on the evening: Marty Bowes and Mike Stone had four each, and Ryan Hoffmeister tossed in two goals and an assist in his season debut.
Rhode Island’s Mike Maggio continued his multiple goal-scoring streak by tossing in three goals, but he’s going to need a lot more help; the Kingfish were held to single-digit scoring for the second straight game.
Boston has some SERIOUS depth if guys like Greg Rogowski and Malcolm Chase are getting healthy scratches from games, and the Rockhoppers can still win by 13 goals.
Baltimore 17 – Kentucky 13
We mentioned the similarities between these two teams in the weekend preview, so it only makes sense that they split their games this weekend. After finding themselves down 3-0 early Friday night, the Bombers scored six unanswered goals, eventually going into the half up 7-5. The Stickhorses hung around and were down 12-9 at the end of the third, but a four-goal Bomber run took Kentucky’s comeback hopes out of the question. Patrick Crosby’s 53 saves kept the Stickhorses in the game, but with 70 of their 86 shots on cage, the Bombers offense was too much to stop.
Matt Hickman scored seven goals and Andrew Wasik recorded four goals and four assists for Baltimore, while Travis Bland led Kentucky with two goals and four assists of his own. Unlike the previous weeks, this time the Bombers’ opponent was the one with the penalty problem, and Kentucky spent a total of 29 minutes in the box.
Kentucky 11 – Baltimore 10 (OT)
Sunday’s game was a much closer defensive match up, with just over 50 shots on goal for each team. Crosby and Baltimore’s Ginny Capicchioni were both strong in goal, finishing with 41 and 42 saves, respectively.
Kentucky won the face off and ground ball battle throughout and went into the half with a 5-4 lead. After increasing their lead to 8-5 in the third, the Bombers scored three unanswered goals to even things up early in the fourth. From that point on, Baltimore (who tied the game up five different times, yet only led when it was 1-0) responded to each Stickhorse goal until Dwayne Porter’s second goal of the day ended it in overtime.
Matt Hickman led the Bombers with four goals (the last four Baltimore scored) and an assist while Jesse Guerin and Travis Bland each had two and one for Kentucky. For the record, Chazz Woodson finished his NALL debut weekend with a goal and an assist.