This Weekend: Between NLL, CLax and NALL, fans have 12 games to choose from

Goalie Tyler Carlson has yet to play for the Swarm this season, but they have 2 games this weekend. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Goalie Tyler Carlson has yet to play for the Swarm this season, but they have 2 games this weekend. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

It’s a busy weekend for the National Lacrosse League, the busiest of the season. Seven games are on the schedule for Week 4 and while none of the games yet are must-wins, a couple of them have the intriguing distinction of being rematches. And really, outside of playing for a playoff berth, is there a better motivator? The Roughnecks are in a position to level things with the Mammoth after their big rally in Calgary, and the Stealth are eager to rectify their 8-goal thumping the Rush handed them just 6 days ago. But the NLL isn’t the only league in action this weekend as ILIndoor takes a closer look at games also going on in CLax and the NALL.

On Friday, The Toronto Rock (2-1) are at home against the Minnesota Swarm (0-1), a team that’s had 2 weeks to stew over its season-opening loss to Buffalo. The Swarm have got to be beside themselves with anticipation of returning to the floor. While some teams have already played 3 games, the Swarm will be playing just their second and they’re more than eager to infuse the new youth with the established youth. Toronto, meanwhile, is eager to show it learned its lesson after losing focus late last week against Philadelphia in allowing the Wings to rally for a stunning win.

Later Friday, the Riggers will get the aforementioned shot at redemption against the Mammoth (1-1). Riggers coach Curt Malawsky says a road trip is just what his team needs to get away from the distractions of home and the fact that his team is 0-2 and looking for its first win should be motivation enough.

Around the same time as the game in Colorado, the Edmonton Rush (1-1) and Washington Stealth (2-1) will be facing off in Edmonton. The Stealth started the season with such energy but dropped an 8-goal decision to the Rush just last Sunday. The Stealth will be doing everything it can to right the ship because it can’t afford to let the wrong kind of momentum gain any kind of steam after learning all about that in the lost season of 2012.

On Saturday, the Toronto Rock are in Rochester to play a Knighthawks team that’s also looking for its first win of 2013. The Rock really don’t need any added motivation when it comes to playing in Rochester, but it’s a barn the team has traditionally struggled in. And like the Roughnecks, the Knighthawks are 0-2, losing each game by a goal. It’s not time to panic in the barn down by the river, but the Knighthawks haven’t been 0-3 since they started 0-4 in 2009.

Also Saturday, the Wings (2-0) host the Buffalo Bandits and these teams are similar in that they’ve each got a lot of new faces. The Wings have relied on some stout defense to win their first 2 games and one of those games was a 13-8 win over Buffalo 2 weekends ago. Since, the Bandits have shown signs of an offensive groove and rookie Dhane Smith has been a surprising catalyst. The Wings will be seeing a different Bandits team than the one they saw a couple of weeks ago.

The third and final game on Saturday will feature 2 teams that also played on Friday night. After playing in Toronto on Friday, the Swarm return home on Saturday to play the Stealth, who play in Edmonton the night prior. The teams played twice in the regular season last year with each team winning at home in overtime. But the West Division final between these teams was a different story as the Rush rolled, 15-3, at Minnesota. You think the Swarm don’t remember that?

The weekend finale is Sunday in Philadelphia, where the Roughnecks fly in and hope to leave with a 2-2 record after starting the weekend 0-2. The matchup is Geoff Snider’s first in Philadelphia since he was traded in 2010 and he says he’s looking forward to his return to a city of fans that treated him well during his time there. There’s chatter on the ILIndoor message board about how fans will greet his return, so it should be interesting to see how he’s welcomed in the City of Brotherly Love.

With so many games this weekend, the picture of the NLL standings could shift dramatically before it’s all said and done. Will Philly maintain its top spot in the ILIndoor Power Rankings? Can Calgary and Rochester move their way up from the basements of their respective divisions?

CLax

There’s plenty of CLax action this weekend with 4 games. The defending champion Ohsweken Demons, who are unbeaten at 2-0, take on the Brampton Inferno tonight at 8 p.m. at the Powerade Centre a week after the Demons handed the Inferno season-opening 16-8 beating. Ohsweken features 3 of the league’s top 4 scorers in Roger Vyse at No. 1 (4 goals, 13 assists for 17 points), Delby Powless at No. 3 (6-6, 12) and Wayne VanEvery at No. 4 (7-4, 11).

The Demons are right back at it on Saturday, hosting the Barrie Blizzard in their first game of the season on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena. The Demons have the services of goalie Jake Henhawk, added to their roster after he was released by the NLL’s Rochester Knighthawks. An hour later, the Inferno are back on the floor to play the Niagara Lock Monsters (1-0) at 2 p.m. at the Powerade Centre.

The busy weekend is capped with a 2 p.m. Sunday game between the Toronto Shooting Stars (0-1) and the Durham Turfdogs (1-0) at General Motors Centre.

NALL

Just 1 game on tap for this weekend as the Boston Rockhoppers visit the Baltimore Bombers on Sunday for a 3 p.m. game. It’s the second meeting of the season between these squads with Baltimore winning the initial matchup, 17-16, at Boston.

It’s a big game as far as standings go as the Bombers (2-0) have yet to lose this season and the Rockhoppers (2-1) are in second place. They’ve played 1 road game and won that, so the Rockhoppers aren’t adverse to new territory and their top-scoring offense (42 goals) will test Baltimore’s defense, which has allowed a league-low 24 goals.

The game will be available via streaming.

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 bob.chavez@nllinsider.com or go to RochesterSports.com.

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