WHAT WE LEARNED: WEEK 4 - Calgary Roughnecks - News

A recap and look back at all the NLL action in over the weekend

By Bryce Forbes | Published: 1/28/2013 at 3:40:26 PM


Thanks to a league with only nine teams and when each new draft class is better than the last, parity is the best term to describe the 2013 NLL season. 

“Often asked for predictions about NLL & I obviously never give them but I wouldn't be surprised to see all 9 teams finish between 7-10 wins”  said George Daniel, the NLL Commissioner on Twitter.

Four of the seven games this weekend came down to the final minute, with the only true blowouts coming from the hands of the Calgary Roughnecks.

Only the defending champions Rochester Knighthawks are sitting winless in the league, having lost all three games to open the season. Every other team is within 1.5 games of first place. 

In the West Division, each team has two losses, with the Washington Stealth leading mainly because they’ve played an extra game.

After two so-so performances on home floor, Calgary finally flexed the offensive muscle player that led many pundits to label them as the preseason odds on favourite to win the NLL title. 

They avenged an earlier loss to the Colorado Mammoth before doubling up the Philadelphia Wings by a combined 35-20. Calgary is one of three teams in the NLL with a positive goal differential and now lead the league by scoring almost 15 goals per game.

Forward Shawn Evans leads the league with 31 points, and is on pace to not only smash his career high but also break the NLL record.

In the West Division, each team has two losses, with the Washington Stealth leading mainly because they’ve played an extra game.

The Stealth (3-2) finished their weekend with a 1-1 record after beating the Edmonton Rush before being dropped by the Minnesota Swarm. After being forced to play backup goaltenders early on, the return of Tyler Richards between the pipes gave them the necessary boost.

While most of the league has decided to go with a youth movement in net, that has not been the case with the Colorado Mammoth (1-2), and they might be paying the price. Chris Levis had a solid year in 2012, and management decided to bring in Toronto Rock cast-off Matt Roik to fill the role. But neither goalies has fared well so far, and combine for the league’s worst GAA at 16 through three games. 

On the other hand, the influx of youth has been the driving force for the Rush (1-2) through three games. First overall pick Mark Matthews has lived up to his billing so far, with 19 points in three games to lead all rookie. Last weekend, the Rush blew a great 6-2 start to lose 12-10 against the Stealth and even the season series.

Minnesota (1-2) was the last team that played a pair of games in the weekend. Having lost their opener two weeks ago, they let a late game lead slide against the Rock on Friday. But the return of captain Andrew Suitor was the boost the team needed, scoring the eventual game-winning goal against the Stealth. 

Toronto Rock at Buffalo Bandits 5:30 p.m. MT Saturday:
The Rock (4-1) own first place in the East on the basis of playing one more game so far than the Buffalo Bandits (3-1). Toronto has won their games playing a stymieing defence, with former Roughnecks netminder Nick Rose owning the leagues best GAA at 9.31. Buffalo instead has gone the offensive route, averaging a tad over 12 goals a game and being led ironman Shawn Williams with 21 points so far. 


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