- ReLaxing Luke
New England Black Wolves Season Outlook
The 2019/2020 NLL season began with a bang. Halifax dominated in their season opener. Calgary lost their home opener. And the New England Black Wolves impressively beat both Toronto and Saskatchewan on the road. Wait, what? Toronto and Saskatchewan, two historically powerful franchises, were beat up by a franchise whose all-time record is 40-50. Yes, it happened. This ain’t your old New England. The Black Wolves are impressive and poised for a special season. Let’s break down why New England is so dangerous in today’s season outlook.
The Black Wolves are awfully consistent. So consistent, they’ve won both games 12-8. That’s true consistency. Apparently, we’re doomed to see 12-8 New England victories all season. Two 12-8 games and two wins. New England is on a role. It helps they’re strong on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, New England is loaded with dominant forwards. Callum Crawford (6 goals, 7 assists), Andrew Kew (3 goals, 7 assists), and Joe Resetarits (3 goals, 6 assists) have been unstoppable. The pack effectively distributes the wealth. Less of a goal scorer, but just as important, Tony Malcom (1 goal, 3 assists) leads the team in loose balls (18). He’s a groundball magnet. This opportunistic offense is deadliest in the first half. The Black Wolves start fast. They tallied nine and eight first half goals against Toronto and Saskatchewan. While slower in the second half, the offense builds too large of deficits for opponents to recover. The Wolves’ smothering defense makes it especially difficult.
Defensively, New England is elite. The Black Wolves employ alpha males in Nick Chaykowsky (9 loose balls, 2 turnovers), Joe Nardella (10 loose balls, 4 turnovers), and Brett Manney (9 loose balls, 4 turnovers). The trio swarms and rips ball carriers to the ground. New England effectively slows opposing offenses and forces them out of rhythm. It’s what led to two victories. By the fourth quarter, the defense constricts its will. New England has only allowed two fourth quarter goals. Clutch.
With such a defense, it’s no surprise goaltender, Doug Jamieson, has impressed. Jamieson holds a .848 save percentage on the year. He doesn’t get tested much, but when he is, he’s ready.
While mostly complete, New England has struggled to gather loose balls. They lost loose ball battles against Toronto (70-84) and Saskatchewan (75-87). So far, the Wolves have gotten away with it; however, this is their potential downfall. I guarantee Georgia would make them pay.
Speaking of Georgia, I wrote in their season preview that no one in the eastern division could challenge them. I was wrong. New England can. Just win the series against Georgia, and New England will earn the eastern division’s top spot for the first time. If this team can’t do it, I don’t know who will.
The Black Wolves soon get their shot at the Swarm. The play three consecutive home games against eastern division rivals. Wins against New York and Philly are expected. Both are improving but not up to par. Next, New England hosts Georgia in what should be a meeting of undefeated teams. Win that and New England controls their destiny.
Fans should be ecstatic. New England is set up for its best season in franchise history. Their best is a 10-8 record in 2016. The Black Wolves, if they keep playing like they are, will crush that. The squad had the lowest home attendance last season. They averaged 5,526 fans per game. What a tragedy! This team deserves more support. If Connecticut residents can’t get up for this season, I don’t think they ever will. New England residents, I beg you. Go to a game. Enjoy the howlers (New England’s dance team). If the team loses, you’ll still have something good to watch. Enjoy an ice-cold beer with the boys. Enjoy quality, championship-level lacrosse. This might be New England’s special season. Support them and enjoy.
Do you agree with my New England season outlook? Disagree? Am I too high on them? Whatever your thoughts, air them by connecting with me on Twitter or Instagram. You can comment on this article by subscribing. By subscribing, you’ll be notified whenever I publish a new article. Any and all support is appreciated. Regardless, thank you for reading! Good luck to the New England Black Wolves!