It’s been another weekend of excellent lacrosse, and we have a bit of a study in contrasts and extremes with some of the games. This weekend’s games prove that there is no correlation between Money Baller points and excitement. All three games on Saturday night were decided by a single goal, and the game winner in each was scored with less than 12 seconds on the clock. On the other hand, eight goals separated the winner and loser of Sunday’s game and the game-winner was scored less than half-way through the third. In Calgary, there were only three goals that qualified for MB points, and Toronto’s game only had 5. Washington’s game had eight, but seven of them were in the first 16 minutes of the game. On the other hand, the Buffalo/Rochester game featured 21, including the last 16 in a row. In all cases, however, every fan in the stadium or watching on TV or online was on the edge of his seat throughout. This is lacrosse, after all.
The Colorado Mammoth pulled off a couple of rare feats on Saturday. John Grant scored six goals for the elusive “sock-trick,” a feat he only managed once during his amazing 2012 campaign. The other was even more rare — winning despite not playing with the lead at any time during the game.
Calgary led from 1:57 of the first quarter until 13:40 of the fourth, and had a four-goal lead with less than five minutes to play. But four different Mammoth players scored in those last five minutes, Adam Jones tying it up with less than 90 seconds left. This game almost never made it to overtime as a couple of Mammoth players (including Grant with his bid for a seventh) had wide open shots in the dying seconds but Mike Poulin made some highlight reel saves to keep the ‘Necks in it. The great goaltending on both sides continued into overtime, but after six minutes, Sean Pollock tossed one over a falling Poulin to complete the Colorado comeback. Pollock’s 5 points for that goal led the Mammoth, while Shawn Evans (1.5) and Scott Ranger (0.5) were the only MB point-getters for the Roughnecks.
The Toronto-Philly game had a number of similarities to the Colorado-Calgary game. The host Canadian team led for the majority of the game while the underdog American team came from behind to win late. In Philadelphia’s case it was still in regulation, and they did play with a lead — for all of eleven seconds. Drew Westervelt led the game in Air Gaits with two including the game-winner, while teammate Brodie Merrill added one of his own. In terms of MB points, Westervelt led that race as well with 5 while Kevin Buchanan assisted on both the tying and game-winning goals to give him 3. Josh Sanderson and Kasey Beirnes both had go-ahead goals to give them 1.5 points each to lead the Rock.
Buffalo’s 14-13 win over Rochester set some Money Ballers records, at least over the last two seasons. The 52.5 points handed out in this game as well as the 21 game-tying or go-ahead goals beat any game from 2012. Each of the last 16 goals, including every goal in the second half, either tied the game or put someone ahead by one. I said last week that the Washington-Rochester game from Week 1 had a lot of ties — this game beat that one by two. The game was tied at 0, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13.
The Knighthawks held the lead five times while the Bandits held it six, but of course only the last one really counts. Shawn Williams led the Bandits and Stephen Keogh led the Hawks with 7.5 MB points each, which was also the high score for the week.
Mark Matthews and the Edmonton Rush were looking for their first win of the season and also to end their division rival Washington Stealth’s two-game winning streak. In the first quarter, the Rush took three different leads only to have the Stealth score the next goal to tie the game. In the second the Rush got a little tired of this pattern and scored nine of the next 11 goals on their way to an 18-10 drubbing of the Stealth. Jarrett Toll scored the game winner, but Corey Small’s 2.5 MB points led the game.
As mentioned, Williams and Keogh are the winners of week 5 and Williams is now the overall leader, ahead of last week’s leader Kasey Beirnes by 2½ points.
I said earlier that there’s no correlation between Money Baller points and excitement, but that’s not quite true. It’s certainly true that a game can be exciting with very few MB points being awarded — case in point, the Colorado-Calgary game. But a game with lots of MB points requires there to be lots of ties and go-ahead goals, and a game that’s tied that many times is definitely exciting. So the conclusion is that if a game has lots of MB points, it’s probably exciting. If a game doesn’t have many MB points, well, it’s probably exciting anyway. This is lacrosse, after all.
Here are the Money Baller standings after two weeks. The number in brackets after a player’s name is their ranking in the scoring race.
|As of Week 3||First||Fourth||OT|
|1||Shawn Williams (T2)||BUF||0||3||2||1||0||0||1||2||0||1||0||1||0||0||12.0|
|2||Kasey Beirnes (T13)||TOR||0||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||1||0||0||0||9.5|
|3||Chad Culp (T27)||BUF||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||8.0|
|Cliff Smith (1)||WAS||2||2||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||8.0|
|5||Stephen Keogh (T34)||ROC||1||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||7.5|
|Rhys Duch (T2)||WAS||1||2||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||7.5|
|7||Dhane Smith (T13)||BUF||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||6.5|
|Lewis Ratcliff (T27)||WAS||1||0||1||0||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||6.5|
|Ryan Benesch (T27)||MIN||0||0||1||0||0||0||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||6.5|
|Aaron Wilson (T24)||BUF||1||2||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||6.5|
|11||Sean Pollock (T24)||COL||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||6.0|
|Colin Doyle (T4)||TOR||0||2||0||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||1||0||0||6.0|
|13||Cody Jamieson (T13)||ROC||1||1||1||3||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||5.5|
|14||Drew Westervelt (T60)||PHI||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||5.0|
|Athan Iannucci (T17)||WAS||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||5.0|
|Mark Matthews (T4)||EDM||0||0||3||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||5.0|
|Cory Vitarelli (T34)||ROC||0||1||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||5.0|
|Johnny Powless (T34)||ROC||2||0||0||2||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||5.0|
|Adam Jones (T17)||COL||0||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||5.0|
|Weekly leader||Overall leader|
|Week 1||Cliff Smith||Cliff Smith|
|Week 2||Kasey Beirnes||Kasey Beirnes|
|Week 3||Stephen Keogh
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