Each week of the NLL season, Lacrosse Bucket will release a Team of The Week. This team will include two forwards, one transition player, two defensemen, and one goalie.
So, without further adieu, here is the Lacrosse Bucket NLL Team of the Week for week one of the 2019-20 NLL season.
Robert Church, F, Saskatchewan Rush
The Coquitlam native went off in the Rush’s narrow 9-8 win over the Colorado Mammoth on Friday night. Church scored the first and second goals of the NLL season to help Saskatchewan get off to a hot start. He then proceeded to find a way to make an impact on the offensive way anyway he could, being in on eight of Saskatchewan’s nine goals.
Church ended the game with a game and team-high eight points (3G/5A). Church is the third consecutive Saskatchewan player to tally eight points in a season opener. Jeff Shattler started the 2017-18 season with an eight-point (2G/6A) performance in a 17-9 win over the Toronto Rock and Mark Matthews had eight points (2G/6A) in Saskatchewan’s season-opening loss against New England last season.
Lyle Thompson, F, Georgia Swam
As usual, the star-studded forward put on a show in Georgia’s 14-4 win over Rochester on Saturday night. Thompson was a catalyst for the Swarm’s offense, contributing in multiple ways, and helped lead them to victory.
Thompson tallied seven points (4G/3A) in the win, leading the game in goals and being one of two Swarm players to tally seven points in their victory on Saturday night. Also, Lyle has now tallied seven points in Georgia’s last two season openers.
Zach Currier, D/T, Calgary Roughnecks
In Calgary’s 12-7 season-opening win against the Vancouver Warriors, Currier was crucial as a defensive transition guy. Currier helped limit the Vancouver offense from getting many quality looks, especially in the first half, and was also able to contribute on the offensive end, as well.
The Peterborough native was able to rack up one goal, five loose balls, and one caused turnover to get the season started off on the right foot. Currier also had five penalty minutes and dropped the gloves against Vancouver’s Logan Schuss in the second half.
Jason Noble, D, Georgia Swarm
A seven-year veteran, Noble got his season off on very high note as he helped lead the Georgia Swarm to a dominating 14-4 victory over the Rochester Knighthawks on the road. In the win, Noble had a huge impact, contributing on both the defensive and offensive end of the floor.
Noble ended the game with two points (1G/1A), three caused turnovers, and five loose balls to help the Swarm in the dominating victory. Additionally, Noble and the Swarm defense held Rochester to an average of just one goal per quarter.
Ryan Dilks, D, Saskatchewan Rush
Dilks had himself a stellar night on Friday, helping to lead the Rush to a 9-8 victory over the Colorado Mammoth in their season opener. Dilks was a huge part of the Rush’s defensive effort, holding them to just eight goals and being able to limit them to just two power-play goals off of four opportunities.
The former NLL defenseman of The Year (2016) had three caused turnovers and chased down six loose balls to help lead the Rush defense in their victory on Friday night. Dilks also had one shot attempt, as well.
Christian Del Bianco, G, Calgary Roughnecks
Del Bianco stood like a brick wall on Saturday night, anchoring Calgary’s defense and helping to lead the defending champs to a convincing 12-7 victory over the Vancouver Warriors to open the season. The goaltender also got in the stat sheet on the offensive end, as well.
The 22-year old goaltender ended the game with 63 saves off of 70 shots on goal and a 0.900 save percentage. Del Bianco also recorded a second assist “aka hockey assist” on Dane Dobbie’s goal at the 13:34 mark in the first to put Calgary up 5-2 heading into the second quarter.