Money Ballers: Toronto Rock’s Beirnes rises to top of table after NLL’s busy weekend

In a weekend of lots of Money Ballers firsts, Toronto's Kasey Beirnes, right, is your current leader. (Photo: Ward Laforme Jr.)
In a weekend of lots of Money Ballers firsts, Toronto's Kasey Beirnes, right, is your current leader. (Photo: Ward Laforme Jr.)

Another week of exciting games, and another week of Money Ballers firsts and crazy stats. Four goals in a minute by one team? Check. Dan Dawson with no points? Check. Two different games where a team began and ended the game with a run? Check. The second-lowest possible MB points awarded in a game? Check. The defending champs as the only winless team left? Amazingly, check. With 7 games this weekend, even giving a mini-summary of each would result in a longer article than many Shakespeare essays I wrote in high school, so we’ll go with mini-mini-summaries.

  • MIN 12 @ TOR 13: This game was the reverse of Toronto’s loss against Philly last week, where Toronto led throughout but Philly came back to win. This time, the Swarm held the lead for most of the game, then the Rock came storming back in the 4th. Stephen Leblanc led with 6 MB points.
  • CAL 19 @ COL 12: The Mammoth scored the first three and the last three goals of the game. But they got beaten 19-6 in between those runs – not exactly the stuff of dreams for the hometown crowd. About ten minutes into the first quarter came the eruption – Calgary scored seven straight goals including an amazing four in fifty-seven seconds. Both teams had 7 power-play goals but Calgary scored 4 short-handed. Colorado should probably have started declining Calgary penalties. The MB leader was Curtis Dickson with only 2.
  • WAS 12 @ EDM 10: The Rush led for much of the first half, but Tyler Richards kept them scoreless for 21 minutes while the Stealth mounted their comeback. Late goals by Ryan Ward and Corey Small were not enough and Dean Hill’s goal early in the fourth ended up as the game-winner. Hill got 4 MB points for that goal to lead the game.
  • WAS 14 @ MIN 15: The Swarm took the lead in the second and twice had five-goal leads, but the Stealth never gave up. But despite Athan Iannucci’s hat-trick in the fourth, Andrew Suitor’s fourth-quarter goal stood as the winner. Suitor led the game with 5.5 MB points.
  • TOR 11 @ ROC 7: Incredibly, Dan Dawson was held to the same scoring line as his brother Paul – no points and three loose balls. Cody Jamieson, with 5 points, was the only Knighthawk with more than two. Garrett Billings led the Rock with 6 points and 4.5 MB points. Only four weeks into the season, and the Rock are on fire, having won games on back-to-back nights twice.
  • PHI 13 @ BUF 14: The Bandits like their MB points. This game featured 13 MB goals, a bit of a drop from last week’s 21, but still more than any other game this weekend. This game was tied 6 times, but the Wings only led once, for less than five minutes early in the second.  Despite this, it was anybody’s game – the game winner was scored with less than 30 seconds remaining in the fourth. John Tavares led the way with 5.5 MB points.
  • CAL 16 @ PHI 8: This game featured another Money Ballers first – a game where only one player received any MB points. Geoff Snider scored the go-ahead goal, unassisted, 15 seconds into the game. Since the game was never tied after that, the only other goal that counted for points was the game-winner, which was another unassisted Snider goal. So Snider gets 3.5 points and nobody else gets anything. Calgary got the jump on Philly by scoring the first five goals and they also scored the last six. Philadelphia beat them 8-5 in between but unlike the similar Colorado situation, those extra Calgary goals made a huge difference.

Snider’s 3.5 points represent the second-lowest possible number of Money Ballers points for a game. The only way a game could have fewer is if the only go-ahead goal was also the game-winner (and was unassisted), which would require a 1-0 final score. Since that’s technically possible but extremely unlikely, the Calgary-Philadelphia game is probably the lowest-scoring MB game ever. But not only were there only two goals that qualified and both were unassisted, the same guy scored them both. You’ve seen history, folks. Take note of where you were so you can tell your grandchildren.

There have only been 17 games played thus far, but we’ve already seen nine one-goal games. Last year, the 9th one-goal game was played on March 17. But despite the number of close games, the number of MB points awarded is down. Through four weeks this year (17 games), the MB leader is Kasey Beirnes with 14 points. Our leader after four weeks (15 games) last year was John Grant (who is currently tied for 86th and wondering where all the good times have gone), with 22.5. Beirnes’ 14 would have put him fourth in last year’s standings at this time.

Maybe this is a function of offenses being more spread out so we don’t have players that are quite as dominant individually. Maybe the games are close but other than a few exceptions (Buffalo’s game in Rochester last week, for instance) the lead doesn’t change hands as often as last year. But the most likely explanation is simply that we’re only four weeks into the season, and it’s still too early to try and explain such trends.

Maybe the number of close and exciting games will stay high throughout the season and maybe not. But for now, let’s continue to be thankful for these gifts that parity has given us.

Beirnes retakes the overall lead, though he only leads Shawn Williams by half a point and teammate Garrett Billings by one point. Billings won the week with 9.5 points in two games. Here are the Money Baller standings after four weeks. The number in brackets after a player’s name is their ranking in the scoring race.

  As of Week 4   First Fourth OT  
      Three Quarters Quarter    
      Tie Ahead GWG Tie Ahead GWG GWG  
# Player Team G A G A G A G A G A G A G A Pts
1 Kasey Beirnes (T13) TOR 0 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 14.0
2 Shawn Williams (6) BUF 0 3 2 4 0 0 1 2 0 1 0 1 0 0 13.5
3 Garrett Billings (T2) TOR 1 2 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 13.0
4 Stephan Leblanc (T18) TOR 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 11.5
5 Cliff Smith (5) WAS 2 2 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 10.5
  Colin Doyle (4) TOR 0 3 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 10.5
7 Lewis Ratcliff (T7) WAS 1 0 3 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10.0
  Ryan Benesch (T7) MIN 1 2 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 10.0
  Chad Culp (T35) BUF 0 0 1 1 0 0 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 10.0
  Rhys Duch (T2) WAS 1 2 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 10.0
11 Drew Westervelt (T42) PHI 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 9.0
  John Tavares (T33) BUF 0 1 1 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 9.0
13 Dhane Smith (T28) BUF 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 8.5
  Luke Wiles (45) BUF 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 8.5
15 Cody Jamieson (T26) ROC 3 1 1 4 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 8.0

Leaders:

  Weekly leader Overall leader
Week 1 Cliff Smith Cliff Smith
Week 2 Kasey Beirnes Kasey Beirnes
Week 3 Stephen Keogh
Shawn Williams
Shawn Williams
Week 4 Garrett Billings Kasey Beirnes
Graeme Perrow started blogging about the NLL in 2005 and now wonders what he did with all his free time before that. He began writing the Money Ballers column for IL Indoor in 2012. He lives in Waterdown, Ontario with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @GraemePerrow.

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