Team 22 Money Ballers: Dickson takes top weekly honors, Beirnes is overall leader

Curtis Dickson's big fourth quarter made him the big weekly winner for the Team 22 Money Ballers. (Photo: Dan Brodie)
Curtis Dickson's big fourth quarter made him the big weekly winner for the Team 22 Money Ballers. (Photo: Dan Brodie)

It was a week of extremes in the Team 22 Money Ballers world. Three National Lacrosse League games featured a few players from one team and nobody from the other with MB points, while the other two games each featured 19 players notching MB points. Not coincidentally, three games had final scores separated by 7, 8, and 10 goals, while the other two were one-goal games. The two one-goal games had winning goals scored almost as late as possible (one in OT and another with less than a minute to play). But two games also featured winners scored in the second quarter.

In Friday’s first game, the Knighthawks and Wings almost had to sleep in their equipment to make sure they were ready on time for the unusual 11 a.m. start. However, someone replaced the Wings’ morning coffee with decaf, and they could only manage two goals in the first half. The Knighthawks must have had Red Bull (ironic slogan: It gives you wings) instead of coffee, scoring 11 in the first half and becoming the first team this season to score 20 goals in a game. Johnny Powless gave the Knighthawks the lead less than two minutes in, and the winning goal was scored by Joe Walters late in the second quarter, the earliest game-winner so far this season. Walters’ 2.5 MB points for that goal led the game.

At a more civilized hour that night, the Toronto Rock played their first game in Minnesota since 2008. The Swarm led for most of the first half, before Blaine Manning tied it at 7 with a second left in the half. The second half was more back-and-forth, but Minnesota grabbed a two-goal lead with less than four minutes to go. With less than a minute to play, a Kasey Beirnes penalty shot and a behind-the-net tuck-in from Colin Doyle tied the game to force overtime. After a couple of almost-goals, both waved off after reviews, Tyler Hass scored on a breakaway and there was no question about that one. Hass gets 6.5 MB points to lead the game and increasing his MB total for the year to 6.5, while the Rock were led by defender Mike Hobbins with 2.5.

After dominating the Wings on Friday afternoon, the Knighthawks continued to look like the reigning champions on Saturday night, defeating the Buffalo Bandits 15-7 in Buffalo. Six different Knighthawks had more than four points, led by Cody Jamieson with 9. In their two games this weekend, not only did the Knighthawks score 35 goals while only allowing 17, but they never trailed at all, and only played with the score tied for a touch over two minutes. The rest of the time (almost 118 minutes), Rochester held the lead. This kind of sucks for the Money Ballers race however, as only five Rochester players got MB points at all this weekend. Stephen Keogh led this game with only 2.

A healthy Tyler Richards means a successful Washington Stealth. Richards held the Colorado Mammoth to only 6 goals on Saturday night, after holding the Knighthawks to only 7 last weekend. His GAA of 10.01 leads the league among starters, and his save percentage of 80.6% is second only to Matt Vinc’s 80.9%. Brett Bucktooth’s game-winner was scored at 13:26 of the second quarter. Bucktooth also assisted on the go-ahead goal in the first, so Bucktooth finished the game with 2.5 MB points.

The final game of the weekend was the lacrosse equivalent of a pitcher’s duel for the first half, with a single goal scored in the first quarter and only four more in the second. Things opened up a little more in the third as the lead went back and forth, but nobody led by more than two. Curtis Dickson outscored Mark Matthews 3-2 in the fourth and that one extra proved the difference as the Roughnecks stole a squeaker from the Rush. Dickson picked up 7 MB points to lead the game but 19 different players recorded MB points.

I occasionally find myself wondering about assigning Money Baller points to game-winning goals in blowouts like we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks. What was so different about Joe Walters’ goal that put Rochester up 11-2 over the Wings that he deserved points for it, when Stephen Keogh’s 10-2 or Scott Campbell’s 12-2 goals were awarded none? Walters’ goal wasn’t “clutch” — his team was winning by 8 goals when he scored it, and he couldn’t have known that Philadelphia would finish the game with 10.

This is true, but such is the nature of statistics, especially in sports. We’ve all seen a player make an outstanding play and pass to a teammate who hits the goalie on the shot and then picks up the rebound for an “unassisted” goal — the outstanding play that results in a goal is not rewarded with an assist. Similarly, we’ve seen a player get the ball knocked out of their stick and get lucky when a teammate picks it up and scores. In this case, the player who gets beaten is awarded an assist because of a lucky bounce.

While these kinds of “unfair” events are relatively few and far between they do happen, and the Money Ballers is no different. The alternative to sticking to the rules and awarding points to goals that may be less deserving than others would be to examine each and every goal in the context of the game and make a judgment call on whether it deserves to be called “clutch.” Not only would this be far more difficult and time-consuming, but it would lead to more controversy and argument — a goal that I consider “clutch” might not be considered clutch by many others, and consistency would be a huge issue. As a result, the whole concept of the Money Ballers would be meaningless. Keeping the rules firm makes everything consistent and unarguable. There are going to be a few points awarded (or not awarded) unfairly, but over the course of a season, this generally ends up evening itself out.

Dickson is the winner of Week 6 with his 7-point performance. We do have a correction which affected the overall lead for previous weeks. We had Beirnes leading after Week 4 and Beirnes and Doyle tied for the lead after Week 5. But another Rock player enters the fold here, as Garrett Billings was awarded an assist that he wasn’t given originally, and that assist happened to be on a game-winning goal. When the numbers are re-crunched (“re-crunching” being an advanced statistical term), not only did Billings win Week  4, but he took the overall lead that week and kept it for Week 5.

So congratulations to Billings on his two-week lead. However, Beirnes grabbed 2 MB points in the Rock’s loss to Minnesota, while Doyle only had 1 and Billings 0.5 so Beirnes is, really definitely positively for sure this time, the overall leader after Week 6.

Here are the Money Baller standings after six weeks. The number in brackets after a player’s name is their ranking in the scoring race.

  As of Week 6   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 (T18) TOR 1 3 2 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 17.0
2 Garrett Billings (T1) TOR 1 4 0 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 16.5
3 Colin Doyle (3) TOR 0 6 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 0 0 16.0
4 Curtis Dickson (T18) CAL 0 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 14.5
5 Shawn Williams (T11) BUF 0 3 2 5 0 0 1 2 0 1 0 1 0 0 14.0
6 Stephen Keogh (T30) ROC 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 13.0
7 Stephan Leblanc (T9) TOR 3 0 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 12.5
8 Johnny Powless (T48) ROC 2 0 2 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 12.0
  Ryan Benesch (T11) MIN 1 3 2 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 12.0
10 Lewis Ratcliff (T11) WAS 2 0 3 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 11.5
11 Cliff Smith (T7) WAS 2 3 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 11.0
12 Sean Pollock (T40) COL 1 0 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 10.5
13 Dhane Smith (T33) BUF 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 10.0
  Chad Culp (T33) BUF 0 0 1 1 0 0 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 10.0
  Rhys Duch (T4) WAS 1 2 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 10.0

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 Garrett Billings
Week 5 Dane Dobbie Garrett Billings
Week 6 Curtis Dickson 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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