By Rachel Villari | 4/7/14 2:15 PM
With less than a month left until the National Lacrosse League’s playoffs begin, many MLL stars contributed to their indoor teams’ victories over the weekend in efforts of joining the two teams that clinched spots in the postseason.
The first of those two teams were the Edmonton Rush, who in their 12-11 victory over the visiting Colorado Mammoth (5-10), remain undefeated this season with a flawless 14-0 record. Edmonton sparred neck-and-neck with Colorado throughout the entire game but was eventually able to overcome the Mammoth’s offense, led by Chesapeake Bayhawks’ Drew Westervelt (1G, 3A) and Denver Outlaws’ John Grant, Jr. (3G), with a strong performance in the midfield from Florida Launch’s Jeremy Thompson, who notched a goal and won 17 out of his 27 faceoffs he faced for the Rush. Also helping in Edmonton’s victory were Denver Outlaws’ Zack Greer, with two goals and two assists, and Rochester Rattlers’ Mark Matthews, with one goal and two assists.
The second team to clinch a playoff berth were the Rochester Knighthawks (11-4), who took both of their home-and-home series games against the struggling Minnesota Swarm, now standing last in the league with three wins and 12 losses. The Swarm put up a good fight in the first game at home, forcing two minutes of overtime before the Knighthawks were able to seal their victory 15-14. Florida Launch teammates Cody Jamieson, who had two goals and eight assists for a game-high of ten points, and Stephen Keogh, who had six goals and corralled six loose balls, led the game in offensive contributions for Rochester. Ohio Machine teammates Logan Schuss and Kiel Matisz for Minnesota gave them a run for their money though, Schuss notching three goals and three assists, and Matisz finding the back of the net twice and throwing in a helper. Combined, the pair fielded six loose balls.
In the second of their two games this weekend, the Knighthawks were sure to shut the Swarm down early instead of chancing another close race towards the end of the game. With an offense once again led by Florida Launch teammates Jamieson and Keogh, who combined for a total of two goals and ten assists, the Hawks were able to defeat the Swarm 12-9, despite Minnesota’s offensive fight, led by Schuss with two goals, and Matisz with two assists.
The Calgary Roughnecks were able to secure two wins this weekend as well, and at second in the Western Conference with a record of 10-5, they look like the team most likely to clinch the third spot in the playoffs. Their first win came against the unusually offensively quiet Philadelphia Wings (5-10), defeating the MLL studded team 13-9. Although it appears that Philly won the possession game as New York Lizards’ CJ Costabile dominated 71.4% of his faceoffs and Boston’s Brodie Merrill scooped 15 loose balls and tallied a goal, they were unable to capitalize on their chances. Charlotte Hounds’ Geoff Snider anchored midfield for the Roughnecks with a goal and an assist, winning 65% of his faceoff draws and scooping four loose balls.
The Roughnecks reigned victorious for their second road trip game against the Buffalo Bandits (8-6), defeating them in a high-scoring game of 16-13. Snider again anchored the midfield, taking 77.4% of his faceoffs, corralling 11 loose balls and scoring one goal and helping out with two others.
Also still in the race for a playoff berth is the Toronto Rock (6-9), who crushed the Vancouver Stealth (4-10) by an impressive eight goals, securing a 17-9 much-needed win on Saturday.