It’s a busy, busy weekend for lacrosse and we’re not talking about just the National Lacrosse League. The NLL officially opened last weekend with 1 game, the Washington Stealth’s 13-12 win over the Rochester Knighthawks, but there are 5 games on tap for this weekend. And if you can’t make it to any of those games, there are options in CLax and the North American Lacrosse League this weekend. CLax opens its second season this weekend and the NALL continues its second season as well with Week 2 of action in 2 different cities. So if you’re faced with a decision on where to get your box lacrosse fix this weekend, check it out after the jump.
Tonight in the NLL, the Buffalo Bandits open with a road game at the Philadelphia Wings. And although every NLL team is eager to get a new season started, there may never have been a more eager Bandits team than the current edition. The Bandits started last season well enough with a 2-0 mark, but inconsistency plagued the team throughout the season and a 6-game losing streak brought out the anger in player and coaches alike. The Wings continue to build their roster with an American theme and the much-anticipated debut of Paul Rabil in a Wings uni has that fan base on edge as well. Gametime is 7 p.m. (EST) in Philadelphia.
On Saturday, the Bandits are back home for their second game of the season to play the Minnesota Swarm, who will be making its 2013 debut. The Swarm surprised many with the success of their youth movement and the big question is can that momentum sustain itself? They won’t be taking anyone by surprise this season, and it’ll be interesting to see if any grudges are held over from the slugfest that took place between these teams last season in Minnesota. Game time is 7:30 p.m. (EST)
The Stealth will look to stay in the win column, traveling to Colorado for what’s sure to be a packed house at the Pepsi Center. The Mammoth, of course, feature reigning NLL MVP John Grant Jr., but the Stealth were very energetic on defense last weekend against the Knighthawks, so we’ll see if that intensity carries over. Gametime is 9 p.m. (EST).
The final game on Saturday features the Toronto Rock at the Calgary Roughnecks. The Rock are loaded up front again and the return of a healthy Blaine Manning will go a long way in restoring the offensive balance. Calgary is out to prove it can win in the playoffs after a couple of seasons of playoff disappointment. But to get to the playoffs, you have to win in the regular season and the Riggers will be looking to make an early statement for themselves and new coach Curt Malawsky. Gametime is 9 p.m. (EST).
On Sunday, the Rock head over to Edmonton for yet another tough test. Has any team faced a tougher opening weekend than the Rock? After what’s sure to be a physical game in Calgary, the Rock play an Edmonton team that could very well employ the stingiest defense in the NLL, led by goalie Aaron Bold. GM and assistant coach Terry Sanderson emphasized how full his team’s hands will be this weekend, and he wasn’t kidding. Gametime is 4 p.m. (EST).
If you can’t make it to any of the NLL games, CLax has some attractive options with a pair of games. The defending champion Ohsweken Demons are on the road Saturday for a 1 p.m. game against the Iroquois Ironmen. The Demons are loaded again with the likes of Delby Powless, Stu Hill, Cory Bomberry and Roger Vyse. But Iroquois counters with some very capable sticks as well as Chris Attwood, Travis Hill, Josh Johnson and Tom Montour are ready to roll.
In the other CLax game, the Durham Turfdogs are at the Toronto Shooting Stars on Sunday at 2 p.m. It’s the return of pro box lacrosse to the Maple Leaf Gardens, or the Mattamy Athletic Centre as it’s known today. Steve Toll is part of the effort in Durham and Toronto is suiting up Josh Ruys, John Durno, Josh Wasson and Angus Dineley for the Sunday matinee.
In the NALL, a pair of games on Saturday is the schedule. The Rhode Island Kingfish make their NALL debut with a 7 p.m. game at the Kentucky Stickhorses, while the Baltimore Bombers take on the Boston Rockhoppers. The Bombers are making their NALL debut as well, and faceoff there is 7 p.m. It’s exciting times for the NALL after last season’s abbreviated schedule and with 4 teams in the loop this season, the future is beginning to take shape for the league designed to advance the skills of American players in box lacrosse.Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at email@example.com or go to RochesterSports.com.
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