Seven out of eight playoff spots have been clinched and only one remains with the Colorado Mammoth looking like they will get it as long as they finish the season strong. We had overtime games and a few surprises in another exciting weekend in the NLL. Let’s see who had a winning weekend and who ended up in the losers column in this week’s Winners and Losers.
Brandon Slade might have been the least likely hero to score the overtime winner for the Toronto Rock to help them get a huge win against the Buffalo Bandits, but he made his mark when it counted. Slade played transition for most of the year, but was asked to play some offensive shifts while fellow lefty Adam Jones was out of the lineup. Slade played well and at the end of the Bandits game he couldn’t miss as he scored the tying goal and then the overtime game winner. It was awesome to see a player like Slade who has been grinding it out all year to have his big moment and help his team win. Big-time deserving of a Winners spot on Winners and Losers.
Calgary’s Left Right Combo
Calgary had a dominant win over the Philadelphia Wings thanks to the one-two punch of righty Curtis Dickson (10 points) and lefty Dane Dobbie (11 points). Having one player who can put up 10 points will cause havoc for defenses, but having two players score 10 points is a nightmare. If Dickson and Dobbie can keep this pace up heading into the playoffs Calgary could make a deep run.
New England Black Wolves
With their 17-14 win over the San Diego Seals, the New England Black Wolves clinched the last playoff spot in the East. The Black Wolves had some struggles during the season, but now that they secured their playoff spot they can build some momentum heading into the postseason.
Baptiste broke the record for faceoff wins by a rookie with his 29 wins against Calgary. It is great to see another American player doing well in his rookie year and when Baptiste learns how to start scoring right of the draw, like fellow faceoff man Jake Withers, he will be a game changer for the Wings. Look for him to be a regular on Winners and Losers in the coming years.
San Diego Seals’ American Players
Americans Connor Kelly and Connor Fields were a bright spot in the Seals loss to the New England Black Wolves as they both found the back of the net. Kelly scored 4 times, which is impressive for any rookie let alone an American who started playing box lacrosse a few months ago. Fields also scored twice in his first NLL game and it was great to see him playing again after having knee surgery last August. They will be crucial to the Seals’ playoff run and the future is bright for Americans in the NLL.
Rochester Knighthawks and Philadelphia Wings
Both Rochester and Philadelphia did everything they could to battle and stay in the hunt for a playoff spot, but both unfortunately were eliminated from playoff contention this past weekend. For Rochester, they will soon go through the awkward transition phase of their current players becoming the Halifax Thunderbirds and replacing them with an expansion draft. For Philly, they have a great foundation to build off of after a season where they seemed to always be just a play or two away from winning games. Next season will be very different for both of theses teams.
Who were your winners and losers of Week 17 in the NLL?