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This week in the NLL

April 2, 2013
Week 13 of the National Lacrosse League season saw memorable games with plenty of action, in addition to a milestone for one of the league’s best.

On Friday night inside the Air Canada Centre, the Toronto Rock gave their hometown crowd something to cheer about as they bested the Buffalo Bandits, 18-11. Garrett Billings of the MLL’s (and Canada’s own) Hamilton Nationals posted a seven-point game on the night, earning a goal and six assists in the victory over Buffalo.

The following night, Billings would again have an exceptional game, except this time it would be in vain as the Rock fell to the Rochester Knighthawks, 12-8 at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY. Despite three goals and three assists, Billings could not overcome the offensive efforts of Rochester, whose midfielder Joe Walters (also of the Hamilton Nationals) had three assists and two loose balls in the victory.

In two road games in an as many days, the Philadelphia Wings could not find their groove and ended up 0-2 on the week. First, they fell to the Minnesota Swarm 20-11 on Friday in the Xcel Energy Center, despite strong performances by the MLL’s elite. Drew Westervelt of the Chesapeake Bayhawks had four points on the night with three goals and an assist, as well as three loose balls, while Brendan Mundorf of the Denver Outlaws had two goals, an assist and five loose balls of his own in the loss for Philadelphia. In addition, Kevin Crowley (Hamilton) tallied three goals and two assists, and Paul Rabil of the Boston Cannons had a goal and assist, but it was not enough to overcome a Swarm squad led by Kiel Matisz (Hamilton) and his seven-point performance, netting two goals and five assists for Minnesota. Fellow National Jordan MacIntosh also looked strong, tying the game-high for goals with four on the night alongside an astonishing 17 loose balls.

Then, in front of over 15,000 fans on Saturday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO, the Wings could not overcome an early deficit as they fell to the Colorado Mammoth, 10-9. Despite a scoreless second half, Colorado was able to clip the Wings on the heels of a historic performance for forward John Grant Jr. of the Chesapeake Bayhawks, who moved into third place all-time on the NLL scoring list surpassing the legendary Gary Gait. Grant also reclaimed the league scoring lead from Mark Matthews of the Edmonton Rush (and the New York Lizards), who did not play over the weekend. Despite the loss, the Wings looked solid as Westervelt had a goal and two assists, Mundorf had one-and-one, Kevin Buchanan (Boston) scored a goal and Rabil had an assist on the night.

Rounding out the weekend, the Calgary Roughnecks defeated the Washington Stealth, 13-11. Calgary’s Curtis Dickson (Denver) had four goals on the night, leading the Roughnecks to victory while Lewis Ratcliff and Rhys Duch of the Nationals each had five point performances for the Stealth. Ratcliff ended the night with two goals and three assists, while Duch scored once and added four assists.