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NLL Takeaways: Week 10

Doubleheaders are rough


Calgary had back to back games this weekend. First up was New York on Friday night. The game, like all three games Friday night, was decided in the final moments. This was the only Friday game that didn’t require overtime. Calgary hit the post twice and saw Cam Dunkerley make some great saves to keep them from tying up the game, and ended up taking the loss. The second game wasn’t any easier; the Roughnecks welcomed Toronto to town. Yet again, Calgary closed to within a goal in the 4th quarter, but wasn’t able to get the game tied late or take a lead, and again they took a loss. Going 0-2, in nailbiter fashion on both games, is tough. Calgary now sits at 2-5, just one spot up from the bottom of the table. Had they just split the weekend and gone 1-1, they would be tied for 8th. NLL lacrosse is a physically demanding, fast paced, brutal game. Two games in two days is rough on the body. But Calgary will need to turn the page quickly and focus on next week. Because it’s Toronto up again.


Friday night thrillers


There was a busy NLL schedule this weekend; eight games were on the calendar. Three were played Friday night. Two of those went to overtime, the third came down to the closing seconds of regulation. Halifax and Philly went to OT for the second time this season. Philly won the first go around, but in round two, the Wings never got a chance to even have the ball. Jake Withers won possession off the faceoff, the Birds got the ball to Cody Jamieson, and Jammer did the rest. Halifax won 15-14 in a shootout. While this was happening, Vancouver was closing a gap against Georgia. The Swarm led 10-6 in the 4th, but the Warriors rattled off four straight to tie it up. The teams traded goals down the stretch and regulation wasn’t enough to settle it. In overtime, it was Andrew Kew who got a shot off just as the shot clock expired and beat Aaron Bold low to win it. And as THAT was happening, the Riptide were fighting off a comeback attempt from the Calgary Roughnecks. New York had to kill a late penalty and defend a 6v5 set that featured multiple posts getting hit and some great saves by Cam Dunkerley. There wasn’t a fingernail that was safe over the course of these three games. 


Vancouver responds


Last week, after a bad loss to Colorado, Warriors head coach Curt Malawsky spoke passionately with the media and appeared to challenge his team to play with more confidence, more passion, and less fear. The Warriors played like they heard the call. One play emblematic of the effort was from Adam Charalambides in the second quarter. He took a shot that was deflected, and against two Swarm defenders and the Swarm goalie, he won the loose ball, took a step behind the net, and dove to score on a wraparound. He took a ton of physical punishment on the play, but the goal brought the Warriors within one, and Owen Grant would tie it seconds later. Down in the 4th, the Warriors had no quit, and ran off four straight to tie it. Vancouver’s has a young core that’s easy to cheer for. And they’ve noticed in the market; Vancouver has posted their two biggest home crowds ever in their last two games.


What happens in Vegas is…anyone’s guess?


The Desert Dogs last four games have gone blown out by Calgary, beat San Diego, blown out by Panther City, beat Albany. And they held Albany to just six goals a week after giving up 18 in the opening minutes of three quarters against Panther City. With a young team that’s building together, you’re going to see some inconsistent performances. But this just defies logic and understanding. Some of this could  be the book being out on Albany now. Teams have seen enough to start to scheme against their young stars, and it’s time for Albany to adjust and throw some new wrinkles at people. It also may just be the fact that in the NLL, everyone has enough talent to win against anyone on a given night. This result is example one of why pro lacrosse is so fun.


Austin Staats has taken another step, and that’s scary


He’s now up to 49 points this season, over six per game, and has 24 goals and 25 assists. His physical dominance is on display every game. It’s basically trademarked at this point, but he wins leverage against a defender as well as anyone in lacrosse. Once he leans into his man, he becomes an immovable object. Staats had 75 points last year, and is on pace to go past that this season. At just 25, he’s still improving and just now reaching his prime. Staats had his first ever sock trick against Colorado on Sunday night.  It’s tough to take the floor with the likes of Wes Berg, Curtis Dickson, and Dane Dobbie and really stand out on offense. But Staats has been must see TV this year.


Buffalo and Rochester shootouts are awesome


The first time around, this game finished 15-13. There were 20 first half goals. Could they match that kind of output? Of course. Buffalo won 15-14, and it was a whirlwind the whole way. Buffalo held a 14-9 lead with 10 minutes before Rochester rattled off four straight to get within one.A goal from Chris Cloutier scored what would end up being the game winner. Buffalo had four players with 6+ points. Chris Cloutier scored a between the legs goal. Ryan Smith and Connor Fields combined for 20 points in this game. It was just an endless display of offensive skill and firepower that could not be more fun to watch.


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