(Photo Courtesy of Rochester Knighthawks)
As if the 2019-20 NLL season wasn’t already crazy enough, things got even crazier on Saturday night as the Rochester Knighthawks and New York Riptide each won their first games in franchise history. Rochester beat the defensing champs Calgary and New York defeated NLL power Georgia. Both first wins were at home.
In addition to the leagues two newest franchises both securing their first-ever win, Halifax defeated the San Diego Seals to move to 5-0, Buffalo took down Toronto in a North Division showdown, New England edged Philadelphia in overtime, and the Colorado Mammoth bounced back after a loss on Friday night and defeated the Saskatchewan Rush at the SaskTel Centre.
Halifax, 8, San Diego 5 (Box Score)
A low scoring affair, this game was a goaltender battle for the majority of the game. Offensively, neither team seemed to be able to get an edge on the opponent. That is until Halifax, and in particular Stephen Keogh, turned on the jets in the fourth. The Thunderbirds went on a four-goal run to end the game and secure the 8-5 victory. Keogh scored the final three of the game, earning himself a natural hat trick.
Warren Hill made 57 saves off of 62 shots on goal for Halifax and Frank Scigliano made 33 saves off of 41 shots on goal for San Diego. Stephen Keogh had three goals for Halifax while Cody Jamieson dished our four assists. Zack Greer led San Diego with four points (3G/1A).
Rochester 13, Calgary 12 (Box Score)
Rhys Duch made his season debut for Calgary after suffering an injury over the summer. And while Duch dished out two assists, he wasn’t able to help turn the tide late in the game as they fell to the Rochester Knightahwks in their first-ever win. Calgary came out firing with Eli Salama scoring the first two of the game, but Holden Cattoni quickly got Rochester going shortly there after. Rylan Rees and Curtis Knight scored two straight late in the game to put Rochester ahead and secure the 13-12 win.
Curtis Knight tallied six points (3G/3A) and Shawn Evans dished out five assists for Rochester in the win. Calgary was led by Curtis Dickson with five points (2G/3A). In net, Craig Wende made 42 saves off of 54 shots on goal for Rochester and Christian Del Bianco made 40 saves off of 53 shots on goal for Calgary.
New England 8, Philadelphia 6 (Box Score)
The Black Wolves and Wings both came into this game as two of the hottest teams in the league. After trading goals and seeing both goalies stand tall in the first, Philadelphia went on a four-goal run in the second to take a 5-2 lead heading into the half. New England was able to go off in the third, scoring three straight to start the quarter. The Wings held a 6-5 lead at the end of the third and Joe Resetarits scored the game-tying goal early in the fourth to force overtime. Callum Crawford went airborne in overtime to seal the deal for the Black Wolves, who move to 4-0 on the year.
Callum Crawford scored three goals for New England while Stephan LeBlanc had four points (1G/3A). For Philadelphia, Matt Rambo scored three goals and Kevin Crowley tallied three points (1G/2A). Doug Jamieson made 50 saves off of 57 shots on goal for New England and Zach Higgins made 47 saves off of 55 shots on goal for Philadelphia.
Buffalo 10, Toronto 8 (Box Score)
In Garrett Billings’ debut with the Buffalo Bandits after just being signed earlier this week, they were able to take down the Toronto Rock in a back-and-forth affair. Toronto got out to a 3-1 lead heading into the second, but Buffalo went off four five straight goals to start second quarter to help them take a 7-5 lead into the half. The third only saw one two combined goals as both goaltenders really stepped up. Chris Cloutier and Matt Gilray scored the final two goals of the game to secure the win for Buffalo.
Matt Vinc made 56 saves off of 64 shots on goal for Buffalo and Nick Rose made 46 saves off of 56 shots on goal for Toronto. Chase Fraser tallied four points (3G/1A) for Buffalo and Josh Byrne scored three goals. Rob Hellyer tallied six points (5G/1A) for Toronto.
New York 13, Georgia 12 (Box Score)
While the first quarter saw some stellar goalie play on both ends, New York was able to get ahead 3-1. Georgia finally got their offense going in the second, scoring seven consecutive goals from midway through the second through midway in the third. New York then turned things up a notch midway through the fourth, rattling off five straight to get ahead 11-10 with five minutes remaining in regulation. Lyle Thompson scored two consecutive goals just seconds apart to put Georgia back in the drivers seat, 12-11. However, New York was able to force a turnover with just seconds left in regulation and Gale Thorpe sent a rocket right past Mike Poulin to force overtime. Dan MacRae ripped one from the outside in transition to secure the 13-12 victory for New York in overtime.
New York was led by Dan Lomas with five points (3G/2A) and Travis Longboat also had six assists. Georgia was led by Shayne Jackson with six points (3G/3A) while Lyle Thompson also had four goals. Mike Poulin made 35 saves off of 47 shots on goal for Georgia and Alex Buque made 37 saves off of 49 shots on goal for New York.
Colorado 12, Saskatchewan 6 (Box Score)
Ryan Keenan, Ben McIntosh, and Mark Matthews scored three straight to start the game for the Rush and help them get ahead 4-2 at the end of the first. But that’s the only offensive run they were able to produce. Colorado held the Rush scoreless in the second and went on a seven-goal run from early in the second through early in the third. They were able to keep Saskatchewan down and secure the win after suffering a tough loss in Vancouver on Friday.
Chris Wardle scored five goals for Colorado while Eli McLaughlin tallied seven points (3G/4A). Ryan Lee also had seven points (1G/6A) for the Mammoth, as well. Ben McIntosh had three points (2G/1A) for Saskatchewan and Jeff Shattler scored two goals. Dillon Ward made 53 saves off of 59 shots on goal for Colorado and Evan Kirk made 35 saves off of 47 shots on goal for Saskatchewan.