By Rachel Villari | 4/14/14 3:00 PM
As the regular season comes to a close, teams in the National Lacrosse League continue to vie for playoff positions in cutthroat, neck-and-neck games.
For the Colorado Mammoth (6-10), that meant snapping the Edmonton Rush’s undefeated season with a much-needed win of 10-8 to remain in contention for the third and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Edmonton, already having locked down both the conference and the entire league with a record of 15-1, were playing with less on the line. Denver Outlaws’ Zack Greer (2G) and Rochester Rattlers’ Mark Matthews (1G, 4A) did their best to accrue points, but the Rush were unable to find the back of the net when needed, even with an extra-man advantage in the last five minutes of the final quarter. The Mammoth’s defense was impenetrable in those last minutes of the game, while stand out offensive performances were given by Chesapeake Bayhawks’ Drew Westervelt, who had one goal and five helpers, and Denver Outlaws’ John Grant, Jr., who netted four goals and had one assist, earning him the second star of the game.
The Rush played their second of back-to-back games this weekend, unwilling to lose consecutive games in defeating the Calgary Roughnecks 15-11 in the battle for Alberta. Despite their loss this week, Charlotte Hounds’ Geoff Snider and the Roughnecks were able to secure their No. 2 position in the Western Conference and thus a spot in the playoffs last weekend. Snider has remained a steadfast component of the Calgary’s midfield, taking 50% of his faceoffs against the Rush. Jeremy Thompson of the Florida Launch was also key in possession for Edmonton, taking half his faceoffs and scooping 10 loose balls. Matthews contributed two goals and two assists to the Rush’s win, and Greer notched one goal and one assist as well.
In the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia Wings (5-11) and the Toronto Rock (7-9) battled for the final spot in their half of the league, the Rock clinching the position with a close win of 10-9 and eliminating the Wings and the Minnesota Swarm from post-season play. Chesapeake Bayhawks’ midfielder Kevin Crowley led the Wings on attack, notching four goals and two assists in their fight to hinder the Rock from the post-season. Also contributing were Boston Cannons’ defensemen Brodie Merrill and Kyle Sweeney, who combined for a total of three helpers. Rochester Rattlers’ Joel White was also key in possession, collecting nine loose balls throughout the match. Unfortunately though, the Wings were unable to capitalize on their opportunities.
The Rochester Knighthawks (12-4), who clinched the first playoff position in the Eastern Conference last week, fell to the Vancouver Stealth 10-7, whose post-season hopes are low with a 4-10 record. Florida Launch’s attackman Cody Jamieson swarmed the net throughout the entirety of the game, scoring one goal and assisting his teammates in doing so six additional times.
Despite falling to the Minnesota Swarm 10-9, the Buffalo Bandits (8-7) were still able to clinch the second position in the Eastern Conference last week. The Swarm, who were eliminated from the playoffs by the Rock’s win over the Wings on the same day, were playing for dignity. Ohio Machine’s Logan Schuss certainly performed, earning the first star of the game with four goals and two assists for Minnesota.