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NLL Takeaways, Week 11

I still don’t know who Vegas is

Vegas fell to Halifax this week by a score of 12-10. The Dogs record falls to 3-5. Yet their three wins are against teams that would all be in the postseason if the playoffs started today. Their losses include bottom feeders like Calgary and Saskatchewan. The Jekyll and Hyde nature of Vegas has been a story of their season. Entering last night, Landon Kells was either over 80% or under 70% in net. Even in last night’s game, from the opener until about midway through the 2nd quarter, Vegas was off. Halifax built a 9-3 lead. Then it was like a switch was flipped, they snapped off a 4-0 run and got to within 9-7. Switch back off, three goal Halifax run. Switch back on, three goal run by Vegas, but they just ran out of a time don’t the stretch. This game felt like the story of the Vegas season at times. When they can stick that switch in the on position for a full 60, they’re postseason caliber good. 

It gets late early

We are in week 11. It has felt like every week, I look at the Mammoth and say, this is the week they get it all rolling. Look out, we’ve done this before, Colorado is going to find a groove and start charging. And it just isn’t happening. With an OT loss to Panther City, the Mammoth drop to 3-6. Their three wins are Vancouver twice and Calgary, teams that currently occupy the bottom two spots in the standings. When I look at the Mammoth roster and watch them play, I think to myself this team should be 6-3, not 3-6. There have just been lapses in critical moments. Against Panther City this week, Colorado clawed back to take a lead with just over two minutes left. But they gave up a game tying goal with about 30 seconds left, and then an OT winner 30 seconds into the extra frame. It’s a few minutes here and there deciding the games. But we’re now into February. There are nine games left on the schedule, and for Colorado, that includes contests against Albany, New York, Buffalo, and Halifax. It’ll take a herculean effort to push for the playoffs.

It’s the Riptide’s world and the rest of us are just paying rent

I was lucky enough to be in the building for the Riptide game against San Diego this past weekend. It was, by far, the most electric environment I have seen in that building since I’ve been going to games. New York trailed 7-2 at half, and against San Diego, that ain’t good. The gap closed a bit in the 3rd, and New York entered the final quarter trailing 8-5. And really, couldn’t beat Origlieri most of that period. But a power play goal from Reilly O’Connor provided some life. Then Jeff Teat scored two goals in two minutes, that latter to tie it, sending the building into a frenzy. Fans on their feet, loud, and going nuts for their start player. Connor Kearnan gave the Tiptide the lead with 1:25 left and I thought the roof might come off the coliseum.  Back on January 13th, the Riptide lost to Panther City and dropped to 1-4. I looked at the schedule ahead and saw four straight weekends and Buffalo, Georgia, Calgary, and San Diego on the slate. I thought it looked pretty grim. New York won all four of those games. Cam Dunkerley has been otherworldly in goal during the streak. They are the hottest team in the NLL, and very much for real. 

Another weekend, another upset

It’s just how the NLL works I guess. Toronto was looking like at worst a top 3 team, at best a title favorite. Calgary had lose three straight, and had yet to notch a quality win. So naturally, the Roughnecks would win this game. They held a 10-5 lead going to the 4th, and while Toronto battled, they came up just short. Christian Del Bianco throws a better outlet pass than anyone in lacrosse, indoor or outdoor. Zach Currier looked like the Currier we all know and love, picking up 14 loose balls while adding an assist and a CT. Jesse King again excellent, and they now have positive momentum taking them into a huge game Sunday night in Halifax in the game of the week. Is it too late to charge into the playoffs? Calgary looks like they want to find out.

Rochester’s slide gets worse

A 14-12 loss to Georgia extends the Hawks losing streak to 5 in a row, and drops them outside the playoff picture. They still have held the opponent to fewer than 13 goals just once this year, when they gave up 11 to Vancouver on December 23. The Hawks continue to have no problem scoring enough to win games. They put up 13.14 goals a game, the second highest total in the league. They also give up 14 per game, the most in the league. Only three teams are at the 13 goal mark or higher, the other two being Philly and Vegas. The Hawks need to get a defensive and goaltender effort that keeps these totals down. Shootouts, fun as they are to watch, can’t be played consistently on a road to the playoffs. Sooner or later, you need to be able to get some stops.


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