We had another historic weekend of NLL lacrosse as the Philadelphia Wings won their first game, John Grant Jr.’s jersey was retired and records continue to be broken all over the league. Let’s see who had a winning weekend and who ended up in the losers column in this week’s Winners and Losers.
After weeks of being so close to making history, the Philadelphia Wings finally won their first game after returning to the NLL. Blaze Riordan scored the game winning goal in overtime to beat the Rochester Knighthawks in front of 10,000 fans. This was a long time coming as the Wings are a better team than their record shows and they have had incredible support from fans in their return to Philly. The Wings got huge performances up and down their roster, but Blaze will be remembered as the hero who gave Philly their first win with his SportsCenter Top 10 goal, which is pretty crazy considering his previous history as a field lacrosse goalie.
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LISTEN: Tune in to this week’s Lacrosse Classified Podcast with GM and head coach of the Philadelphia Wings Paul Day and Saskatchewan Rush forward Jeff Shattler here.
For most of the Georgia Swarm season it has been the Lyle Thompson and Randy Staats show, but other players like Holden Cattoni have also been a big reason for the Swarm’s early season success. Cattoni finished the weekend with 14 points in two games and a balanced five goals and five assists in the game against Rochester. Cattoni has been the workhorse for the Swarm on their left side as he and Shayne Jackson have been great so far this season. Cattoni might have one of the hardest shots in the league with many of his goals being rockets from up top.
Tucker Out Lymphoma Night
This was an easy choice for the win column for this week’s Winners and Losers.
What an amazing night in Buffalo as both the Buffalo Bandits and Colorado Mammoth organizations honored Tucker Williams, who lost his battle with lymphoma in 2014. Tucker is the son of current Mammoth assistant coach and former Bandits player Shawn Williams. It was awesome to see the Williams family be honored before the game and then both teams meeting at center for a picture with them. Both teams also wore special jerseys designed by Tucker’s brother Dyson Williams. Moments like this are what make the lacrosse community so special. #BraverThanBrave
Christian Del Bianco
The Roughnecks are back in the win column after beating the Vancouver Warriors for the second time this season. Del Bianco stopped 35 of 40 shots in an incredible performance for the 21 year old who is in his fourth NLL season.
Blaze Riordan might have scored the game winning goal, but it was the play of Kiel Matisz that really helped push the Wings to their first win. Matisz scored 8 points and scooped up 13 loose balls in his best game of the season so far. He is the backbone on this Philly team and doesn’t seem to come off of the floor as he often plays defense as well.
After beating the Bandits handily the previous weekend, the Knighthawks lost both of their games in their back to back contests this past weekend. This season they now have the unfortunate luck of giving both the San Diego Seals and the Philadelphia Wings their first wins in franchise history at home after falling to the Wings this past Friday. The Knighthawks have been up and down so far this season, but have shown the ability to dominate games when they are firing on all cylinders. They will get a boost with the return of Stephen Keogh to Rochester as they will try to put this past weekend behind them.
Players On the Other End of Big Hits
There were a few big hits during this weekend’s games that surely got the fans on their feet and the players fired up, but it’s always rough to be the player who ends up on the floor with some bruises and then has to see the replay on the big screen. Even Tom Schreiber was unlucky enough to get hit right into the Rock bench by Mike Messenger. Players better start keeping their heads up if they don’t want to end up on a highlight reel and in the losers column for Winners and Losers.