Saturday Shootout: Who Won and Why?
NLL fans were in for a treat Saturday night. Not one, not two, but five NLL games took place. I hope you weren’t a fan of a hosting team, because every visitor won. So much for homefield advantage! In this piece, I’ll give a brief overview of why each team won. I watched pieces of each game, but please remember, I’m one person. So, it’s impossible to watch every game at once. That said, let’s get started!
Toronto (14) @ Rochester (11)
The Rochester Knighthawks continue to improve; however, Toronto was too much. The game was tied 3-3 early in the second quarter. Then, the Rock turned it up a notch. Toronto went on a six-goal run to take a 9-3 lead. Rochester fought back, but the deficit was too much. The duo of Dans, Dan Dawson (1 goal, 6 assists) and Dan Craig (4 goals, 1 assist), tore through Rochester’s defensive units. A good, competitive game with a home crowd of 5,036. Rochester has the willpower to start winning. The rematch should be a good one.
Colorado (13) @ Georgia (11)
Colorado followed their upset over Calgary with another impressive win. Colorado’s defense may be the best in the league. What made the difference in this close matchup? Colorado scored five fourth quarter goals and allowed one. They are a fourth quarter team. Dillon Ward made 36 saves and was impenetrable late. Another turning point came when Ryan Lee hit Chris Wardle on a one-timer goal with one second remaining on the shot clock. This allowed Colorado to tie Georgia at five heading into halftime. When Colorado had to make plays, they did. This was the best Saturday game. Announced attendance was 5,724 (very good for Georgia).
Halifax (15) @ Buffalo (10)
Something special is brewing in Halifax. I did not see this one coming. The Bandits were thunderstruck. Halifax led 10-4 at half and won the loose ball battle 102 to 72. I don’t recall another 100+ loose ball game (that I’ve covered). Jake Withers went 22-28 on faceoffs, making it nearly impossible for Buffalo to quickly answer Thunderbird goals. The announced 13,576 home fans went home disappointed.
Saskatchewan (11) @ New York (4)
Is this result a shocker to anyone? New York is 0-4 and Saskatchewan is the definition of NLL blue blood. They are elite. For New York’s inaugural home opener, the announced crowd of 6,089 is solid. Saskatchewan led 9-2 at half and allowed two second half goals. No surprise here, but Robert Church (4 goals, 1 assist) and Mark Matthews (1 goal, 5 assists) had a field day with New York’s defense.
Philadelphia (8) @ Calgary (7)
This is the weirdest game I’ve ever seen. The Calgary Roughnecks took a delay-of-game penalty to start the game. The Roughnecks were late to the arena. The 11,352 fans in attendance waited an extra thirty minutes for opening faceoff. Philadelphia’s early power play goal ultimately made the difference in a one goal game. Matt Rambo scored the first and last goal in the contest. Calgary’s lack of warmups caused them to look sloppy. If they don’t show up late, I believe they win. Still, there’s no excuse to go 0 for 4 on the power play. If the Roughnecks convert two power plays, they win. Interestingly, when interviewed about the delay, Calgary head coach, Curt Malawsky angrily stated “that’s the NLL for you.” Was Calgary’s delay caused by poor NLL logistics? Most likely, we’ll never know; however, you don’t see an NLL coach call out the league very often. For those not in the know, Calgary was delayed leaving San Diego (they played there Friday).
Do you agree with my takeaways? Disagree? Is homefield advantage a thing? Whatever your thoughts, air them by connecting with me on Twitter or Instagram. You can also comment directly onto 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!