With playoffs right around the corner, every NLL game matters. The Georgia Swarm, Philadelphia Wings, and Panther City are all tying to make a final push to secure one of the final spots at the big dance. The NLL this season has been pretty surprising, but this weekend told us a lot about the state of some of these bubble teams right now.
Rochester (15) – Calgary (7)
Rochester surprised everyone and ended the Roughnecks five-game winning streak with a dominant performance at Blue Cross Arena. The Knighthawks were able to pull away with strong second and fourth quarter performances by Curtis Knight (3A, 1A) and Ryan Smith (4G, 1A) respectively.
Calgary opened up the scoring with a powerplay goal from Jessie King to give them an early 1-0 lead. After a back and forth battle through the first quarter, Rochester outscored Calgary 6-1 in the second quarter, three of which were scored by Curtis Knight.
It was a pretty lackluster third quarter as both teams scored once giving Rochester a 9-5 lead. Ryan Smith exploded in the fourth with three goals over a four minute span to seal the game for the Knighthawks. Joel Watson was a brick wall in net, finishing with 43 saves and a .860 save percentage in the win.
Curtis Dickson finished with two goals and five assists in the losing effort, and Jessie King had two goals and two assists.
Halifax (16) – New York (13)
Jeff Teat scored ten points (2G, 8A) but it wasn’t enough as the Thunderbirds hammered the Riptide with 55 shots on goal in a 16-13 win in the Nassau Live Center on Saturday. With the win, Halifax clinched a playoff spot, and also eliminated New York from playoff contention. The high scoring contest saw twelve goals scored in the first quarter. Scoring slowed down some in the second and third quarter, and the Thunderbirds held on to the victory despite New York trying to battle back in the fourth quarter.
It was a big night for Jeff Teat, as he broke Tom Schreibers rookie assists record (61) and Randy Stats rookie points record (95). He wasnt the only one who set a rookie record on Saturday, Chris Orleman broke Matt Kings rookie record for saves in a season (603) as well.
Austin Shanks (8 points) and Clarke Petterson (7 points) led the way for Halifax in the victory.
Georgia (12) – Panther City (9)
Lyle Thompson and the Georgia Swarm move one step closer to the playoffs with their 12-9 win over Panther City on Saturday.
The Swarm jumped out to an early lead after the first quarter, but Panther City battled back and scored three straight goals to tie it at six heading into halftime. Things went back and forth in the third quarter with three lead changes, but Georgia took over in the fourth quarter, outscoring Panther City 4-1 in the final frame.
With their win, the Georgia Swarm have set themselves up for a “win or go home” matchup with the Philadelphia Wings next weekend.
Saskatchewan (17) – Seals (14)
The Seals losing streak extended to six games as they lost to Saskatchewan 17-13 in Saskatoon.
The Rush had an early 2-1 lead but fell behind at the half 7-4. They came back in the third quarter and were able to trim the Seals lead to one entering the final frame. The Rush took control behind an electric home crowd and outscored the Seals 5-2 to secure the win. Robert Church led the Rush in scoring with eight points and Jeff Shattler had a strong performance in his final home game in Saskatoon. He scored two goals and four assists.
Austin Staats and Jeremy Noble led the Seals in scoring with 8 points each.