Week 6 Three Star Challenge: Mike Poulin and Angus Goodleaf mixed together spells relief, plus other unexpected runs
The National Lacrosse League’s Week 6 was a weekend of unexpected performances.
Keepers Mike Poulin and Angus Goodleaf, both starting their gameday manning the bench door, hit the rug and had two spectacular performances, keeping their respective teams in games, both pulling out the W during a pair of hard fought wins. And what about guys like Tim Campeau, throwing down his biggest O showcase since going pro, Kyle Wailes in Philly who had his first four-goal game of his NLL career, and Jay Thorimbert, known by many as a face-off guy in the bigs, but dropping a hat-trick and a body in the Swarm’s monumental win on Saturday night.
After the jump, check out this week’s nods in Insider’s Three Star Challenge, and check back tomorrow for our updated leaderboard, along with our individual six-weeks-in hardware favourites.
Mike Poulin… only three goals against in early relief of Matt King during Roughnecks dubut
Poulin’s first on-floor minutes in Calgary was maybe the best relief effort we’ve seen all year, holding the Rock’s high scoring offense to just three goals over close to 45 minutes of play. His string of stops late with Toronto pouring on everything they had to knot things up was brilliant, Poulin losing his stick and even bare-handing the ball in his crease to hold-off Doyle and Co. Brilliant.
Angus Goodleaf… 43 stops and only six goals against vs. Philadelphia Wings
We may have spoke too soon above when we said Poulin’s relief effort was the best we’ve seen this year, cuz Angus Goodleaf had an equally big impact fill-in, coming in for Mike Thompson after getting burned early, stifling the Wings and allowing the Bandits to knot things up and then later lead & win the game. Tavares may have been back and Steenhuis was on fire, but without Goodleaf, the Bandits would still be sitting at only a single W today. No Kenny Montour, no problem. At least last week.
Craig Point… 4-goals + game winner vs. Boston Blazers
Jeff Shattler may have edged Point out in our Clutch Performer of the Week nod, but over four periods of lacrosse, few were as consistent and sharp as Point during Week 6 no matter the game or outcome. Rochester coach Paul Gait said he wanted to see Point shooting more heading into last weekend, and we can see why. He shot the lights out, and then some.
Tim Campeau… 4-goals vs. Washington Stealth
The Swarm coaching staff was looking for consistency from most areas on the rug on the O side heading into their rematch with the Stealth last weekend, and they got it in spades, including Campeau’s four goals, which saw the dispersal draft pickup throw down maybe his best pro game yet, his two back-to-back third period snipes the dagger in the Stealth’s short lived momentum swing. Game over.
Blaine Manning… 6-goals and 6-helpers in Rock’s Alberta doubleheader weekend
He may have been quieted down slightly in Toronto’s Sunday matinee against Calgary, but Manning was a one-man wrecking crew at times against Edmonton two nights earlier, posting a combined ten points (three short of his career single game best), giving the Rock a serious inside presence and also occasionally running the O, creating a ton of chances (and space) both with and without the ball in his pocket. This is the best Blaine Manning we’ve seen in several seasons, maybe ever.
Mark Steenhuis… 2-goals and 6-assists vs. Philadelphia Wings
While Goodleaf was posting save-after-save in the first, Steenhuis was busy lighting up the previously unbeatable Brandon Miller twice over a 90 second span to give Buffalo something to play for, showing up late in the game to put things on ice too. He was also a big reason why the Bandits previously broken down power-play looked maybe its best this year, burying five man-up markers, a season team-high.
Jeff Shattler… 2-goals and 1-helper vs. Toronto, including the game-winner
He may have not led all scorers this past weekend, but he led the league in goals that mattered, scoring a huge late go-ahead goal against a pretty hot Steve Dietrich, and then potting the all-important game winner to send the Rock home with only their second L in 2010. Like we said in the pre-season, when Shattler is hot (or even just contributing offensively), the Necks win games. He was hot when he needed to be against Toronto, a big Calgary win.
Jay Thorimbert… hat-trick against the West leading Washington Stealth
The game Jay Thorimbert had this week are the kinda confidence boosting, character showcases the team needs if it’s gonna compete this year. Thorimbert may have been schooled at the circle courtesy of Jamison Koesterer, but it was what he did outside of his normal gameday duties, that hat-trick and mid-court “meet-up” with Tyler Richards huge momentum kicks for the Swarm, who have now beaten both Calgary and Washington in 2010.
Andrew McBride… 1-assist and five loosies vs. Toronto Rock
What a warrior Andrew McBride is. He dished it out but also took it like a champ, including a Stephan LeBlanc high stick that sent McBride crashing to the court after impeding the Rock rookies path. The Necks would score twice with LeBlanc in the box, including a very late second period goal that left them within reach at the break. McBride gave Calgary some serious sandpaper in their own end, keeping Toronto’s O quiet for much of the last two periods. One of the more gutsy Week 6 performances and a big secondary reason why Calgary was able to steal that W.
Ryan Benesch… three-goals and three-assists in Stealth win
Benesch’s breakout game this year (just two goals in his previous three games) is the exact reason why the Swarm picked him up this past off-season. Benesch was a game changer for Minny, scoring a pair of big second and third period goals while the Swarm were still trading blows with Washington (literally and figuratively), later scoring the game-winner in the fourth (assisting on the Swarm’s other 2010 winner earlier this year). If Benesch fits into the remaining Swarm games this winter, he’s on pace to post his biggest numbers of his pro career. Yes, even better than his Rookie of the Year campaign.
Kyle Wailes… 4-goals, 3-apples and seven loosies
Wailes’ four goals against Buffalo were the most he’s ever scored in a single game during his NLL career (scoring a hat-trick several times previous), at times looking like the dominating offensive presence he was while playing and leading the Toronto Beaches a number of summers back. He scored the Wings only man-up goal on four chances and was the only forward for Philly that finished more than once.
Josh Sanderson… six-assists vs. the Rock
Yeah, we know, Shooter had no goals against his former team, but his six helpers were some of the most important set-ups anywhere during Week 6. Sanderson set-up four consecutive third-going-into-the-fourth-period goals that left her Rock reeling and the Necks cheering with arguably their biggest win of 2010. No one finds the open man like Josh Sanderson. No one.
Geoff Snider… 3-goals, 13LB and 11/15 at the circle in loss to Buffalo
Albeit a loss, the Wings’ face-off and fight king played maybe his best game of 2010, Snider scoring a hat-trick on just four shots, two-off the press, and even though his little bro split face-off duties, Snider still crushed it at the dot. Some might question his sin bin sit-downs, but effort is never an issue with Geoff, who left it all on the rug on Saturday.
John Grant… hat-trick and 3-assists in come-from-behind win vs. Boston
A lotta looks like usual from Grant, but Junior had his hand involved in some big momentum shifting goals for Rochester, burying three himself and helping stabilize the Hawks offense when the chips were down. Of the Knighthawks four wins this year, Grant has assisted on all four game winning goals, including Point’s GWing blast on Saturday.
Phil Sanderson… 15LB in weekend pair, 8/11 vs. Edmonton at the circle
Lots of good defensive performances from the Rock’s D, including Scott Campbell, who did some damage at both ends of the floor, and Rob Marshall, who had two of his better games so far this year, but we’ll give this last spot to Phil Sanderson, who was as tenacious as ever, forcing a bunch of turnovers in both Rock games in Week 6, and playing consistent D in a system he’s been thriving in over the last couple years.
Rate This Story: