By Rachel Villari | 1/20/14 3:00 PM
The National Lacrosse League held seven contests throughout the weekend, the first series of which took place out west, featuring the Calgary Roughnecks visiting the Edmonton Rush, and the Colorado Mammoth visiting the Vancouver Stealth.
The Rush (now 3-0), continued their streak, dominating their visiting opponents from Calgary 15-8. Rochester Rattlers’ Mark Matthews was awarded the first star of the game with seven points (four goals, three assists), contributing in some form to almost half his team’s goals. Although the Roughnecks endured a rough game as a team, Geoff Snider (Charlotte Hounds) reached a personal milestone of notching his 100th NLL goal.
Further west, the game between the Colorado Mammoth and the Vancouver Stealth had to extend into overtime to finally see the home team reign victorious in a come from behind 14-13 win. The Stealth slowly battled back throughout the game, even after Mammoth’s stars John Grant, Jr.’s (Denver Outlaws) and Drew Westervelt combined for six goals and seven assists.
The first of four Saturday games saw the Minnesota Swarm earn an 11-10 win over the Philadelphia Wings. At the Wells Fargo Center in Philly, the Swarm were able to clutch their first win of the season, thanks mostly in part to their goalie, Zach Higgins, who was awarded the first star of the game for his NLL debut, and the Wings’ typical lackluster second quarter, in which they gave up six goals after dominating the first. MLL’s Garrett Thul and Kevin Crowley (both of the Florida Launch) contributed much of the offensive pressure that led to the Swarm pulling their first string goalie and putting in Higgins, who then helped turn the game around.
The second game featured rivals Toronto Rock visiting the Rochester Knighthawks who, with the 12-8 win, continue to keep their unbeaten 3-0 record. Toronto was rocked by an active offense and stoppered by a solid defense. Offense was supported by MLL’s Cody Jamieson and Stephen Keogh (both of the Florida Launch), who continually advanced the Knighthawks’ lead and received the top two stars of the game.
Next, the Vancouver Stealth visited the Calgary Roughnecks, both teams having played the day before. The Roughnecks were able to rise to the occasion, sealing the high scoring game 15-12 on their home turf.
The final game of the day took place in Colorado where the Buffalo Bandits reigned victorious 16-9 over their hosts, adding to the Mammoth’s rocky start (1-5). Buffalo overwhelmed the Mammoth with good pressuring, creating many turnovers in which the Bandits could steal possession and register points.
Sunday featured the second of the home-and-home series between the Philadelphia Wings and the Minnesota Swarm, in which this time, the Wings were able to win 15-8. Swarmed offensively, Minnesota was unable to combat the Wings who furiously beat them to the back of the net throughout the entire game, leading every quarter in scoring and shots on goal. Again, leading the offense for the Wings were Florida’s Thul and Crowley, Thul with one goal and one assist and Crowley with two goals.