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Miles Thompson and Jeremy Thompson Minnesota Swarm vs Edmonton Rush NLL Photo Credit: Dale MacMillan

NLL Report: All Eyes On Vancouver vs. Buffalo

The second NLL Report of the season examines Week 2 of National Lacrosse League play and takes a look at the latest news from around the league! Don’t miss your chance for some great prizes from Stringer’s Shack by participating in NLL Pick ‘Em.

With just two rounds of National Lacrosse League action under their belts, most players in the league get an early break in Week 3. The only game taking place this weekend is Vancouver vs. Buffalo. You can bet that means all the players who aren’t playing will be watching just like John Grant Jr.:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vgl9e-MbyyM

Before we get to our Week 2 recap and other news, I want to let lacrosse fans in on a couple of fun ways to stay connected to the NLL this season…

Watch NLL Anywhere, Anytime

Make sure to view our comprehensive TV schedule to find out when and where you can watch the best games of the week! With the partnerships with TSN, ESPN, Universal Sports Network and the addition of NLL Live, fans are now welcomed to watch nearly every game live from the best seat in the house!

LAS & Stringer’s Shack Present: National Lacrosse League Pick ‘Em!

In lieu of NLL Fantasy, we’ve created a super simple Pick ‘Em game for LAS readers to play as the 2015 NLL season unfolds. Each week, our good friends over at Stringer’s Shack will be hooking up the winner with a traditional leather or mesh kit of his or her choice!

To play along, continue catching up on NLL news by scrolling down. At the end you’ll see our NLL Pick ‘Em section where you can submit your picks for this week’s game. Moving forward, a new Pick ‘Em game will be found at the end of each week’s NLL Report along with a listing of previous winners from previous weeks. We hope you enjoy!

Week 2 Pick ‘Em ended up in a four-way tie, so we’ve pushed last week’s prize to Week 3. This week, TWO RANDOM WINNERS who correctly guess the winner of the Stealth/Bandits matchup will receive a leather or mesh stringing kit of their choice from Stringer’s Shack.

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Videos

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1yU7Pe9MBA

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Week 2 Results & Recap

Black Wolves Remain Unbeaten, Clip Knighthawks 17-7

Evan Kirk Black Wolves vs Rochester Knighthawks NLL Photo Credit: Khoi Ton/Black Wolves Photographer
Photo Credit: Khoi Ton/Black Wolves Photographer

Evan Kirk had a stellar game last Saturday night, and the media kind of missed it. Kirk posted a .840 save percentage as he stayed between the pipes for 120 minutes, and he currently leads the NLL in saves.

Some how, some way, the Black Wolves were able to serve the 3-peat champions their second loss of the season after an extremely convincing 17-7 win in the Mohegan Sun Arena. The commentary crew was on point for home game number two and the crowd was back in black for the second time in two weeks.

Kevin Crowley Black Wolves vs Rochester Knighthawks NLL Photo Credit: Khoi Ton/Black Wolves Photographer
Photo Credit: Khoi Ton/Black Wolves Photographer

Kevin Crowley had a big night with a double hat trick, and he also tallied four assists to help earn him the game’s first star.

This Black Wolves are by far one of the fieriest teams in the NLL. Whether it’s to keep the fans engaged in Connecticut or to send a message to the league, it appears no member of the pack is afraid to drop the mitts and make a statement.

Black Wolves vs Rochester Knighthawks NLL Photo Credit: Khoi Ton/Black Wolves Photographer
Photo Credit: Khoi Ton/Black Wolves Photographer

Saturday night’s game was no different as the Knighthawks weren’t taking to the beating kindly and it only took so long for Sid Smith to put his disapproval into action, wrapping Crowley and McNamara into mix. The game was over but the two squads had sticks, helmets and gloves flying after the final buzzer. The skirmish was finally dissipated and the Black Wolves went on to thank their home crowd for their support.

This wasn’t the game’s first fight as Craig England and Paul Dawson got into it in the beginning of the 4th and Brian Megill and Scott Campbell duked it out in the 2nd. You can be sure I’ll be keeping an eye on the Black Wolves even more this season!

Kyle Buchanan earned a hat trick and 4 assists along with Kevin Buchanan who finished with 2 goals and 4 assists, while on the other side Cory Vitarelli (3,2) and Jordan Hall (2,2) were the only two notable for Rochester in the beating.

Black Wolves vs Rochester Knighthawks NLL Photo Credit: Khoi Ton/Black Wolves Photographer
Photo Credit: Khoi Ton/Black Wolves Photographer

Joel White had 14 loose balls in the game. Might as well call him Scoops.

Three Stars
Kevin Crowley
Kyle Buchanan
Evan Kirk

Black Wolves Notes: Keep the fire burning, these guys are excited to play in a new barn while wearing new sweaters so you can’t let that hype fizzle out. It’s time to rest up for the weekend because Week 4 features yet another Black Wolves home game, which is a must win before hitting the road. To put butts in seats and keep them there, a winning team is a must and I think if New England can handle the veteran Rock and Bandits, they should be able to work the young Minnesota squad too. Keep Kirk hot, the tempo high and fist a blazin’ and things will go as planned.

Knighthawks Notes: I know last season didn’t start the way it finished, but this veteran group needs to find their groove and not worry so much about pushing the other guys around. They are having trouble putting the ball into new sticks and it’s limiting the scoring. They need to be the better 5v5 team before they can worry about the other details. Walters and Jamieson are going to be relied upon to step it up to fill the Powless loss moving forward.

Jr. Sinks Colorado OT Dagger Over Calgary 17-16

If you have ESPN 3, no matter what you’re doing and whether or not you’ve seen it, stop and watch this game. The Pepsi Center was alive on Saturday night for the back and forth struggle between the

The first quarter started off with a series of goals from both sides of the floor, John Grant Jr. got the party started and was joined by Sean Pollock and Eli McLaughlin while Geoff Snider, Daryl Veltman and Jeff Shattler had luck for the Necks.

Shattler’s goal was followed by rookie McLaughlin’s second and a big Creighton Reid goal in transition. Next up was Adam Jones just walking down Main Street, punching it in around Veltman with not a single stick in his way. Karsen Leung was able to stop the run only to be answered again by Jones to end the quarter 7-4.

The second quarter was an exchange of blows between both squads, Cam Holding and Dan Coates added their first goals of the night and Jones finished the half with a hat trick. Curtis Dickson and Shawn Evans also found goals in the second and Leung netted his third.

Down 7-10 heading into the third quarter, Calgary was going to need to tighten up the defense even more and finally start moving the ball on offense. Athan Ianucci game out of the gates putting another one on the board for Colorado before Dane Dobbie, Veltman, Dickson and Shattler took Calgary on a 4 goal run to tie the game.

Alex Turner capitalized on the powerplay for Colorado to regain the Mammoth lead to be knotted once more by another powerplay goal, this time by Dobbie for Calgary. The crowd was on their feet for the 9-9 struggle heading into the final period of play.

The only player for Calgary to score in the 4th was Shawn Evans, luckily he did it 4 times in the final quarter alone. He was met by big goals from Drew Westervelt, Reid and Grant finalized with a dagger from Joey Cupido with a minute and a half left that would eventually force the game into overtime.

First one in and last one out of the club… John Grant Jr. made sure he was the first and last name announced in the Pepsi Center on Saturday as he danced his way from the board to space and sniped the game-winning goal only 31 seconds into the extra period. Holding and Jones are credited with the assists but just watch Junior go to work for himself.

It was Geoff that won the Snider battle this time. Calgary won the faceoff game 27 to 37 and lead in shots on goal with 56.

Mike Poulin was working alone at some points of the game but still managed to stop 28 of 45 shots in the game. Dillon Ward finished the game with an impressive 40 saves on the 56 shots he faced from Calgary.

Shawn Evans finished with 5 goals and 5 assists in the losing effort while Adam Jones led Colorado with 3 goals and 4 assists and Grant had a hat trick of his own and 3 more assists.

Three Stars
John Grant Jr.
Shawn Evans
Joey Cupido

Mammoth Notes: Colorado can’t let the off week slow them down, they have Vancouver coming up next and that team will be ready to win again. The crowd was rowdy in the home barn on Saturday, they are going to need to feed off that energy to keep the veterans hot and the young guns motivated.

Roughnecks Notes: Tough luck can’t bring this team down. The defense is going to need to tighten up and the offense needs to do a better job getting off of the floor. Transition is going to kill them if they don’t fix it now, they have a week to figure things out before Alberta-rival Edmonton comes to town.

Swarm Find Solid Road Win In Edmonton, 14-10

Miles Thompson and Jeremy Thompson Minnesota Swarm vs Edmonton Rush NLL Photo Credit: Dale MacMillan
Photo Credit: Dale MacMillan

The game got moving quickly as Jeremy Thompson won the opening draw and took it to the cage in the first 4 seconds of the game. Although he didn’t score, everyone seemed to be electrified by the play. The teams exchanged a flurry of shots on goal and even a couple holding minors before Ethan O’Connor got the Swarm on the board first.

Minutes later rookie Miles Thompson earned his first of the night to be followed by the first goal by Chris Corbeil and the Rush. Nick Cotter picked up a slashing penalty to be followed by a delay of game and unsportsmanlike from teammate Jordan MacIntosh leading to a powerplay goal from rookie Robert Church. The final five and a half minutes of the quarter featured a couple Rush penalties and a slew of shots before finally closing 2-2.

Minnesota Swarm vs Edmonton Rush NLL Photo Credit: Dale MacMillan
Photo Credit: Dale MacMillan

The second quarter busted open with back to back Mark Matthews goals followed by Ben McIntosh and Corbeil both extending the run for the Rush as well. at 12:35 in the period, Andrew Suitor was able to net the Swarm’s lone goal of the 2nd. With 30 seconds left, Zack Greer capitalized on the powerplay to end the half 7-3 Rush.

Both Church and Jarrett Davis extended the lead even further to start the third before Zach Higgins (15-16) was called in to relieve Brodie MacDonald’s (21-30) services in net. Higgins’ appearance may have been the turnaround the game needed as he only let in one more Edmonton goal before the game’s end.

Callum Crawford closed out the 3rd with 2 goals of his own to bring the score to a 9-5 Rush lead.

Minnesota Swarm vs Edmonton Rush NLL Photo Credit: Dale MacMillan
Photo Credit: Dale MacMillan

The tables were complete turned in the final quarter as the Swarm offense came alive netting one after another. Shayne Jackson got the train rolling 30 seconds in before Miles Thompson earned his second of the night.

Ben McIntosh was the last of the Rush to be heard on Saturday because the Swarm moved on to a 7 goal run where Jackson, MacIntosh and Corbyn Tao all worked to cut away at the lead before we were blown away by Miles Thompson’s game winning goal from his back that earned his spot in the SportsCenter Top 10.

Crawford scored the last goal on Aaron Bold (40-52) for the night before Nick Cotter and Suitor both dropped one in on empty nets closing the game out with the first Minnesota Swarm win of 2015.

Mark Matthews (2,3) and Robert Church (2,2) led the way for the Rush, with only 2 goals each, which didn’t hold a candle to the night the Callum Crawford (3,5), Miles Thompson (3,1), Shayne Jackson (2,2) and Jordan MacIntosh (1-4) had for Minnesota.

Having Logan Schuss back on the floor was a huge boost for the Swarm as he hooked his boys up with 3 assists in Saturday’s win and I’ve been told they plan to expect him in the lineup through the next couple weeks.

Three Stars
Callum Crawford
Mark Matthews
Miles Thompson

Swarm Notes: Minnesota is going to keep mastering the basics if they want to find the first win for a road team in the Mohegan Sun in two weeks. I expect Higgins to start the next game in goal and hopefully he can be that missing piece that the Swarm have been longing for. The Swarm are finding goals in a ton of different players each game and as long as they can keep that up, they should be in solid form heading into New England in Week 4.

Rush Notes: The 0-2 Edmonton club has their work cut out for them as they head into the off week. The team comes back to play on the road against their Alberta-rivals and the Roughnecks are going to be prepared. The team has been fairly well disciplined, but the defense must play as expected and goals need to come through more than just Matthews and Church if they want to turn around.

Toronto Cruises Past Stealth 20-11 in Langley

Vancouver Stealth vs Toronto Rock NLL Photo Credit: Garrett James/Vancouver Stealth
Photo Credit: Garrett James/Vancouver Stealth

Before we go too far here, let’s point out the dudes doing the work for the Rock. Josh Sanderson is playing straight up silly right now, leading the NLL with 17 assists and 21 points in only 2 games!

Working his butt off with him is Rob Hellyer, who is leading the league with 9 goals in 2 games and had 6 of those goals and 2 assists on Saturday.

I guess the wounds from missing Doyle and Billings in the lineup have yet to surface, the

Vancouver was leading the Rock 4-2 after the first quarter of play in the Langley Events Centre, but their momentum from their 11 goal spree over the Roughnecks was running on low. Hellyer came out firing for the Rock and netted 4 of the team’s 8 second quarter goals. Justin Salt and Bradley Kri were able to find quick transition goals for the Stealth in the 2nd, but Toronto was much quicker to get on and off the floor than Calgary in Week 1, slowing the powerful Stealth transition game to a near halt.

The 10-6 lead going into the third period predicted more of the same. Toronto was finding goals all over the floor and the Stealth never had an answer. It took until the final minute-fifteen of the 3rd for Rhys Duch to find a goal to be followed almost immediately by Johnny Powless to end the quarter.

Johnny Powless Vancouver Stealth vs Toronto Rock NLL Photo Credit: Garrett James/Vancouver Stealth
Photo Credit: Garrett James/Vancouver Stealth

The fourth period was penalty ridden, the Stealth sat a total of eight minutes while the Rock has 5 penalties for 13 minutes. Duch and Lewis Ratcliff were both able to capitalize on the powerplays, but it was too little too late.

Nine different Rock players collected at least one goal in the big win in British Columbia, while Duch (3,2) and Digby (2,3) were the only real hope for Vancouver. Rhys Duch actually set a new franchise record for the Stealth with 534 career points.

Three Stars
Josh Sanderson
Rob Hellyer
Rhys Duch

Rock Notes: With a week off to rest after the trip to the west coast, I expect to see the same Rock we saw against Vancouver storm the floor against Buffalo and Rochester in Week 4. 2-0 on the road and averaging 16.5 goals, Toronto is neck and neck with New England for the team to beat in the East.

Stealth Notes: The Stealth can’t rely on transition alone if they expect to hang with the veteran teams in this league. Buffalo hasn’t looked great on the road, but they had back to back nights in Week 1, which is tough for a team relying on veteran players. If they can do the job on defense, there’s no reason the transition team and the offense can’t get the shots they need against one of the league’s best goaltenders!

Week 3

Saturday January 17th, 2015

Buffalo at Vancouver 10:00 PM (UniversalSports.com, TSN GO)

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Rookie Watch

Without a doubt, Logan Schuss made the biggest splash in the NLL last season. 2015 welcomes a whole new class of players young and old looking to make a name for themselves on the game’s biggest stage.

Miles Thompson – Without surprise, the 2014 Tewaaraton winner is making the biggest impact in the league so far. For a Minnesota squad that is struggling to find a scorer, Miles has come to save the day. In his only 2 games thus far, Miles has netted a hat trick in each and even got so dirty last week he got some SportCenter love from ESPN.

Here, watch it again!

Jerome “Hiana” Thompson – The eldest of the Thompson brothers, Hiana also made his NLL debut in 2015. He brings an unparalleled work ethic to the Bandits lineup. The strength and speed of the lesser known Thompson shouldn’t be overlooked. Although he only played in 1 of 2 Bandits games so far, keep an eye out for this dude!

Eli McLaughlin – I loved watching Eli dominate in the BCJALL with Delta and Coquitlam. Now the kid is suiting up in Burgundy and White. He’s added even more stability to the left side for Colorado and he’s not wasting time making himself familiar on the floor. 5 points isn’t too shabby considering how powerful the Mammoth already lineup is without him.

Robert Hope – Here’s my second nod to a Colorado rookie… This big bodied defenseman has really added some more stability to the floor in front of Dillon Ward. At 6’2”, 190 lbs, Hope is a big man with already big experiences. I expect Robert to become a staple of the Colorado organization.

Quinn Powless – If collecting six points in two games is a preview of what’s to come in Quinn’s career, we are all in for a real treat. Helping to lead the Black Wolves to a perfect 2-0 start, plus winning over half of his face offs, is just one more perk brought to the team by Quinn. Being the third Native American to make my list, Quinn is helping to re-solidify the place of Natives as some of the best lacrosse players in the world

Ben McIntosh – Five goals in two games, that’s just shy of what Miles Thomspon has tallied so far. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that when it comes down the the Rookie of the Year honors in the spring, Ben and Miles will be neck and neck.

This Coquitlam product has been putting up serious number with the Maple Ridge Burrards in the WLA finding 20 goals in his 11 regular season games.

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