The National Lacrosse League has a new single-season scoring record-holder and it happened in dramatic fashion last night. John Grant, Jr. entered Colorado’s game against Minnesota needing six points to pass John Tavares to break the record. He had just two points in the first half of the Swarm’s eventual 16-13 win and only three, all assists, through three quarters. Grant then set up an Adam Jones goal and scored his first of the night just 30 seconds apart to tie the mark at 6:49 of the final frame. Then, with 4:22 to play, Grant scored to put himself alone at the top with his 116th point of the season. Fittingly, in a season in which his and the team’s success has relied so much on integrating the play of the all-time great with his young teammates, the record-breaking goal was set up by rookies Jamie Lincoln and Derek Hopcroft.
The drama wasn’t done, though. Garrett Billings has quietly put together an outstanding season and entered Toronto’s game against Edmonton nine points behind Tavares’ 2001 total and 10 back of Grant’s new standard. One bit of intrigue was put to rest before the Rock’s 12-11 victory over the Rush even began. Billings entered the night two assists ahead of Dan Dawson for the single-season record, 79-77. Since Dawson posted only one helper in Philadelphia’s 9-7 loss in Rochester, Billings name was already assured to replace Dawson and Josh Sanderson in the record books. The Rock youngster proceeded to have a very unquiet game and put himself right back into a record chase.
Billings opened the scoring less than three minutes into the game and had recorded a hat trick by the 6:36 point of the second quarter. His pace slowed in the third quarter as the Rush outscored Toronto 6-2 to pull back into a 9-9 tie after 45 minutes. Edmonton twice took the lead in the fourth, but Billings fifth goal of the game tied it and he helped set up Kasey Beirnes‘ marker to make it 11-11. Billings then earned the only assist on Stephan Leblanc’s game winner at 10:05. His final total of eight points on five goals and three assists left him with 114 for the season, just one behind Tavares’ former record and within two of catching Junior’s mark while the body was still warm. Impressively, Billings recorded his five goals on just six shots on net.
Speaking of impressive, the “old man” Grant and Billings were chasing showed he still has some spring in his step. Tavares scored a hat trick and two assists against Washington. His third goal came at 9:55 of overtime to clinch a wild 17-16 win for the Bandits. Tavares wound up second in the NLL in goals for 2012 with 41 and was seventh overall in scoring with 80 points.Stamp is a TV sports announcer and lacrosse lover whose skill set made him a defender but who always dreamed of being a goal-scorer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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