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NLL Takeaways, Week 13

New York Farewell Tour


NLL Commissioner Brett Frood made it official, this will be the Riptide’s last season. They are moving to Ottawa and becoming the Black Bears, although they will bring New York’s records, history, and everything else with them. Personally, it’s a sad bit of news for me. Trips out to Long Island, while not always my favorite thing, weren’t all that bad when it came to heading to a Riptide game. You always had a good seat, the team had a perennial MVP candidate in Jeff Teat, and this year, things were really moving in a positive direction. After a tough start, New York caught fire, the offseason moves looked to be paying off, and things were clicking. Now, there are just a few home games remaining, I’ll hit as many as I can. New York is currently in the middle of the pack in the standings but in the mix for a playoff spot. I hope they manage to stay hot and someone host a playoff game. Their die hard fans weren’t many, but they were passionate, and they deserve a great send off. 


Calgary has it all working


Three straight wins for the Roughnecks. From 2-5 to 5-5 in the blink of an eye, and their wins in that stretch are Toronto, Halifax, and Philly. Not only is Calgary climbing up the standings, they’re doing it against some of the league’s best. They’ve gotten back to what they do best, attacking in transition. In their wins over Toronto and Halifax, they scored four and five transition goals respectively, and took a total of 28 shots in the transition. Christian Del Bianco notched three assists on his own against Halifax. 


The goalies of the future put on a show


San Diego and Georgia played a hell of a game last weekend, a game that regulation wasn’t enough to decide. In a 12-11 contest, San Diego’s Chris Origlieri and Georgia’s Brett Dobson were going save for save, making one incredible stop after another. Both were up against experienced and immensely talented offensive players. Putting the likes of Curtis Dickson, Lyle Thompson, Shayne Jackson, Wes Berg, Austin Staats, Seth Oakes, Dane Dobbie, all on the floor together in a game against some young netminders, you’d expect a massive goal total. But these two stood on their heads and looked like vets as well. Dobson made 46 saves in the game, Origlieri made 33, many of Dobson’s coming late in the game to keep the score tight and the game within reach for Georgia. 


Where is the bottom for Rochester?


The Hawks fell to Las Vegas this week, extending their losing streak to six games. Their last win was before Christmas. While in many of those losses, the Hawks lost a shootout, against Vegas they managed just eight goals. It’s becoming a sad refrain over the last two months. Connor Fields and Ryan Smith pile up the points in the stat book, but Rochester comes up short. The Hawks offense most weeks does enough to get it done. But at this rate, fans are already probably thinking about goaltender options and ways to improve the defense next year. If the turnaround doesn’t start this week against Panther City, it’ll be a brutal climb to try and push for the playoffs.


Not even the Hulk could slow the Thunderbirds


Marvel Night has been one of the more fun cross promotions in the NLL this year. Teams get Marvel themed uniforms, there is a comic book made with a customer cover for each team, and it’s a nice feather in the league cap to have a night tied with someone as big as Disney. The Rush were the obvious choice to take on the Hulk look, with the bright green floor and team colors, throwing in some purple shorts and boom, the Rush are hulkified. And yet, it was the Rush that got smashed. Halifax put up 19 goals. They were a runaway train. Up by five after the first, up by seven at half, up by 12 after three, and up 13 to close the game out. Four players with six or more points, and Withers went 26/30 with 14 loose balls. Halifax has won five of their last six and is rolling.


Does Buffalo need a faceoff man?


The Bandits lost to Albany at home this week, 13-10, in a physical and hotly contested game. Buffalo won just two faceoffs in the game, and Joe Nardella went 24/25 for Albany. On the year, Buffalo is facing off, as a team, at just below 30%. A number of players have taken some draws for the Bandits, though Ian Mackay has taken the lion’s share of them. Last season, Buffalo had Max Adler at the faceoff spot, and he went about 50% in the regular season. Not earth shattering, but clearly important. That 20% drop means fewer possessions fewer opportunities. With Matt Vinc on IR, winning faceoffs effectively becomes part of your defensive effort, keeping the ball from the other team and ideally allowing fewer looks at net on a backup netminder. A faceoff specialist to bump the possessions, just a little bit, can swing games by a goal or two. In a close game like this one, it can be the difference between winning and losing.


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