NLL Saturday Recap: Halifax Continues to Roll, Philadelphia Stuns Calgary

(Photo Credit Tim Tai/Philly.com)

With five games on the schedule Saturday night, road teams went 5-0, helping to make an unbelievable night of lacrosse. After tonight, just two teams (Halifax, New England) remain undefeated, thus far. 

Toronto 14, Rochester 11

It was a bit closer than many may have expected as the Rochester Knighthawks were able to hang in there against the Toronto Rock. However, the visitors were able to take the win, in spite of a late-game comeback from Rochester. 

Holding just a 3-2 lead at the end of the second, Toronto’s fiery offense was able to start rolling in the second quarter. A Zach Manns goal sparked a six-goal run from midway through the second until early in the third, helping push the Rock ahead 6-3 at the half and 9-3 early in the third. Two three-goal runs from Rochester helped them get back into the game, making it a three-goal game late in the third. But the Rock were able to hang on for the win. 

Toronto was led by Rob Hellyer with six points (4G/2A) while Dan Craig also had five points (4G/1A) and Dan Dawson put up seven points (1G/6A). For Rochester, Shawn Evans tallied five points (3G/2A)  and Curtis Knight had six points (2G/4A). 

Nick Rose made 40 saves off of 50 shots on goal for Toronto. Steve Fryer got the start for Rochester, but Craig Wende came in to replace him during the third. Wende made 16 saves off of 20 shots on goal. Fryer made 27 saves off of 37 shots on goal. 

Saskatchewan 11, New York 4

Behind a 48-save performance from Evan Kirk, the Saskatchewan Rush kept the New York Riptide still searching for their first win of the season following a dominating victory to spoil their inaugural home opener and handing their second loss in as many nights.

Robert Church started the scoring early for Saskatchewan and they never looked back, taking a 4-0 lead at the end of the first and getting ahead 6-0 before Connor Kelly scored the first ever home goal for the Riptide on a power play. With a 9-2 lead at the half, Saskatchewan had this one pretty secure in the bag, but Tyler Digby and Dan Lomas were able to get some offensive energy going New York’s way late in the third and early in the fourth. Ben McIntosh and Robert Church closed out the scoring for the Rush to secure the 11-4 win. 

Robert Church had five points (4G/1A) for the Rush, while Jeff Shattler also had six points (2G/4A) and Mark Matthew had six points (1G/5A). New York saw Tyler Digby lead the way with two goals. Connor Kelly and Dan Lomas also scored for the Riptide, as well. 

Evan Kirk made 48 saves off of 44 shots on goal for Saskatchewan while Alex Buque made 44 saves off of 55 shots on goal for New York.

Colorado 13, Georgia 11

The Colorado Mammoth went into Georgia and walked out with their second consecutive win, using a big run in the fourth quarter to break through and secure the win against a tough Swarm team. 

Miles Thompson got Georgia going just 23 seconds into the game. Colorado finally got their offense going midway through the first with a Chris Wardle goal, following some stellar goalie play on both ends. The back-and-forth nature remained for the rest of teh first half with things being tied at five heading into the half. Georgia started to heat up in the third, outscoring Colorado 5-3 in the third to take a 10-8 lead into the fourth. However, Colorado struck back with a three-goal run to take the lead early in the fourth. Georgia was able to answer, but Jacob Ruest and Jeff Witting finished off the scoring for Colorado to secure the win. Dillon Ward also turned away multiple shots in the final minutes to prevent a Georgia comeback. 

The Mammoth were led by Jacob Ruest with seven points (5G/2A) and Ryan Lee with eight points (2G/6A). Additionally, Chris Wardle put up six points (2G/4A), as well. Shayne Jackson led Georgia with six points (3G/3A) while Lyle Thompson also had five points (1G/4A).

Dillon Ward made 36 saves off of 51 shots for Colorado and Mike Poulin made 33 saves off of 46 shots on goal for Georgia. 

Halifax 15, Buffalo 10

Halifax remains unbeaten after going into Banditland and taking down the Buffalo Bandits, 15-10, using a huge run in the middle of the game to absolutely blast the Bandits. 

Josh Byrne and Dhane Smith scored two consecutive goals to get Buffalo’s offense going early. However, a Cody Jamieson goal was the spark for a Halifax for four-goal run to get ahead 4-2. However, Buffalo was able to tie things up at four to end the first. Two Mike Burke goals early in the second was the spark that Halifax needed to go on a nine-goal run from early in the first through midway in the third. Buffalo finally stopped the bleeding, and down 14-5 heading into the fourth mounted a bit of a comeback, scoring four straight to end the game and get, at least, into double digits.  

Halifax was led by Ryan Benesch with six points (3G/3A) while Mike Burke tallied eight points (2G/6A) and Cody Jamieson had five points (3G/2A). Josh Byrne (3G/2A) and Dhane Smith (2G/3A) each tallied five points for Buffalo. 

Warren Hill made 39 saves off of 49 shots on goal for Halifax. Matt Vinc made 27 saves off of 40 shots on goal for Buffalo. Vinc was pulled in the second quarter and Doug Buchan came in for a time, but Vinc finished the game in net. Buchan made 8 saves off of 10 shots. 

Philadelphia 8, Calgary 7

The defending champs fell to the Philadelphia Wings on Saturday in their second of two games this weekend. The Roughnecks got back to Calgary about an hour before the game and took a delay of game minor to start the game. 

Philadelphia came out firing with Matt Rambo and Brett Hickey putting them up 2-0 before Tyson Bell answered for Calgary about midway through the first. The Roughnecks were able to go on a three-goal late in the first, but things were tied at four heading into the second following a Trevor Baptiste scoring his first career NLL goal. From the second through the third, each team kept answering each other and both goalies really stepped up, stopping practically anything in their way. Down 6-5 heading into the fourth, Cory Vitarelli and Kevin Crowley scored back-to-back goals, one of which was on a power play, to take a 7-6 lead. Dan Taylor tied things up at seven for Calgary, but in the dying seconds of the game Matt Rambo caught a feed in the right slot up top from Brett Hickey, got his hands free, and put one past Christian Del Bianco for the win. 

Philadelphia was led by Kevin Crowley with seven points (3G/4A) while Matt Rambo also had three points (2G/1A). Curtis Dickson had four points (3G/1A) to lead Calgary, and Dan Taylor also had three points (2G/1A) in the loss. 

Zach Higgins made 48 saves off of 55 shots on goal for Philadelphia. Christian Del Bianco made 47 saves off of 55 shots on goal for Calgary. 

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