With 7 National Lacrosse League games this past weekend, there was plenty of action to track. And when it comes to rookies, they were no exception. We counted 5 rooks making their NLL debuts this weekend as tired teams shuffled their lineups in the quest to field the freshest lineups possible. And while none of the first-timers did anything to blow it up, we’re definitely starting to see who the cream of the crop is. The kids we expected to see pile up the points are doing just that and perhaps none was more impressive than Kiel Matisz in Minnesota, who popped in a pair of hat tricks in the Swarm’s double-header weekend. So where does that land him in our latest installment of the Rookie Report? There’s only one way to find out.
1. Mark Matthews, Edmonton Rush: The left-handed forward out of Oshawa was “held” to just 1 goal but had 4 assists in Edmonton’s 12-10 loss to the Washington Stealth. He remains the top rookie scorer with 8 goals and 11 assists (19 points) through 3 games. He’s held the top spot since the start of the season and there’s no reason to move him yet, although he’s got some serious challengers hot on his trail.
2. Dhane Smith, Buffalo Bandits: The right-handed transition man out of Kitchener, Ont., was 2-2 for the third straight game and the Bandits also won their third straight when they beat the Philadelphia Wings on Friday. Coincidence? He’s got 8 goals and 6 assists for 14 points. He’s doing so much for the Bandits and it goes beyond points, although that certainly doesn’t hurt.
3. Curtis Knight, Edmonton Rush: He was held to 0 goals (on 5 shots) for the first time this season, but the right-handed forward out of Oshawa did have 3 assists in Edmonton’s Friday loss to Washington and stands with 12 points (4-8) through 3 games.
4. Shayne Jackson, Minnesota Swarm: After carding 4 assists in Friday’s road loss to the Toronto Rock, the left-handed forward out of Bowmanville, Ont., had 3 goals and 3 assists for his biggest game of the season in Saturday’s home win over the Stealth. He’s got 14 points this season on 6 goals and 8 assists. He’s as smooth as advertised and his calm demeanor gives him the presence of a seasoned veteran.
5. Kyle Buchanan, Washington Stealth: He had 1 goal and 3 assists — 2 in the fourth quarter — in Friday’s win over Edmonton but was held to 1 assist in Saturday’s loss to Minnesota. The right-handed forward out of Nepean, Ont., is right in the thick of it for the rookie scoring race with 16 points. He’s been so impressive and solid, which the Stealth expected. But all this from a No. 48 overall pick? Love it.
6. Kiel Matisz, Minnesota Swarm: The big man finally got rolling on offense after having just 1 assist in the opener, dropping 3 goals and 2 assists in Friday’s road loss to the Toronto Rock. He did the same, 3-2, in Saturday’s home win over the Stealth, giving him a 10-point weekend. Don’t expect him to stay stay in the bottom half of the Top 10 for much longer. Not if he has more weekends like the one he had.
7. Joe Resetarits, Calgary Roughnecks: He was without a point in Friday’s big win over Colorado, but with 6 points in the 2 games prior, he’s proven himself to the point where defenses can’t ignore him. And that opens it up for teammates, so not having any points in a game doesn’t mean he didn’t have an impact. The right-handed forward out of Hamburg, N.Y., got a rest for Sunday’s game against Philadelphia.
8. Tyler Garrison, Washington Stealth: The defender out of Coquitlam, B.C., had an assist in a Friday home win over Edmonton and had 1 goal and 1 assist with 2 loose balls in Saturday’s road loss to Minnesota. He had 5 loose balls in the 2 games as the Stealth improved to 3-2 after 5 games. He’s a big reason for the new energy coming out of Washington’s back end.
9. Brock Sorensen, Minnesota Swarm: The left-handed transition man out of Peterborough scored his first NLL goal in Friday’s loss to Toronto and also scooped 7 loose balls. In Saturday’s win over Washington, he scooped 2 loose balls. He’s doing it right for the Swarm, blending in like he’s been around for years.
10. Alex Crepinsek, Minnesota Swarm: The right-handed defenseman out of Oakville, Ont., carded his first NLL points with his first goal and 4 loose balls in Friday’s road loss to Toronto. He added a pair of assists and 3 loose balls in Saturday’s home win over the Stealth. Love the energy and hustle he brings, and he’s so smart in the back end.
Honorable mention: Toronto Rock D Kyle Belton had 4 loose balls in Friday’s home win over the Swarm and 5 in Saturday’s road win over Rochester … Wings D Rob Campbell was placed on the Physically-Unable-To-Perform list … Calgary F Matthew Dinsdale had 3 loose balls in Friday’s road win over the Colorado Mammoth and 1 loosie in Sunday’s road win over Philadelphia … Washington F Mitch McMichael scored 1 goal in Friday’s win over Edmonton, but it definitely comes with style points as his shot between the legs, with his back to the goal, caught G Aaron Bold by surprise. A beaut of a goal … Edmonton F Mike Burke makes NLL debut vs. Washington and scored his first goal in the first quarter … Philadelphia D Mike Manley recorded his first NLL point with an assist in Saturday’s loss to Buffalo, and added 3 loose balls before scooping 3 more in Sunday’s loss to Calgary … Philadelphia D CJ Costabile had 7 loose balls in the loss to Buffalo and 4 in the loss to Calgary … Philadelphia F Ethan Farrell scored a goal in Saturday’s loss to Buffalo and had 1 assist and 4 loosies in Sunday’s loss to Calgary … Philadelphia D Brian Tueber made his NLL debut Saturday in Buffalo … Buffalo D Hayden Smith scooped 4 loose balls in Saturday’s home win over the Wings … Washington D Tim Henderson returned from a 1-game suspension and had 1 assist and 2 loose balls in Saturday’s road loss to Minnesota … Washington D David Joyce made his NLL debut and was credited with 1 loose ball … Toronto G Zack Boychuck made his NLL debut with a short relief stint of Nick Rose in Friday’s win over the Swarm. He allowed 1 goal on 2 shots in 3:33 … Minnesota Swarm D Michael O’Brien made his NLL debut in Saturday’s home win over the Stealth, scooping 1 loose ball.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 firstname.lastname@example.org or go to RochesterSports.com.
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