So, did the National Lacrosse League weekend belong to the goalies or the scorers? Clearly, it was the goaltenders, right? After Nick Rose entered Week 6 as the only goalie in the league with a save percentage north of .800, the masked men posted five games where they stopped more than 83% of the shots they faced. Matt Vinc did it twice and Tyler Richards almost cracked 90%. Hold on a second, though. Dan Dawson and Cody Jamieson each put up 16 points in Rochester’s two huge wins. Dawson, Cory Vitarelli, Mike Accursi and Curtis Dickson all scored 4 goals in a game. So the scorers earned their share of the limelight as well. Hmmm, it seems like it’s not so easy to decide who dominated this past weekend. Then again, take a step back from the trees and look at the forest and it all becomes quite clear to see. It was the weekend of the Knighthawks. Make the jump to see the defending champs’ domination of the IL Indoor 3 Stars.
Tyler Richards, Washington Stealth
51 saves, .895 save percentage
You have to watch the games to really get a feel for who the best players are, because stats can be misleading. But sometimes stats provide a great indication of what happened. Tyler Richards was tremendous in Washington’s 13-6 win over Colorado. The black-and-white proof? He faced the second-highest shot total of the weekend and gave up the fewest goals. His defence did a great job in front of him, but Richards was the best player on an NLL floor this weekend.
Matt Vinc, Rochester Knighthawks
97 saves, .851 save percentage
You could make a pretty strong argument against my closing statement about Tyler Richards in favour of Vinc, and the heart of your case would be that Vinc played not one but two excellent games. He posted save percentages of .831 and .873 against the Wings and Bandits, respectively. Then again, you could make a pretty convincing assertion that he was the third-best player on his own team in the pair of wins. So it seems fair that Vinc is the middle child of our 3-Star sibling rivalry, just ahead of the twins.
Dan Dawson and Cody Jamieson, Rochester Knighthawks
5 goals, 11 assists each
Okay, maybe not twins. Or at least fraternal as opposed to identical. Dan’s taller, thinner and shoots right. Cody’s shorter, thicker and shoots left. But they’re both excellent players and quiet leaders and they put up identical scoring totals for the weekend. This is what the Knighthawks offence can look like when everything comes together.
Tyler Hass (Minnesota): 3g, 4LB. Swarm post-game show. Hass has just scored the overtime winner to complete a hat trick of transition goals and is addressing the crowd. He points out that he’s struggled a bit this year. Ever the supportive captain, Andrew Suitor says into the back of his hand, “A lot.” You know a team’s feeling the love when they’re chirping each other in mid-press conference…Cory Vitarelli (Rochester): 4g, 2a. On a team of offensive stars, Dogger is sometimes overlooked. He shouldn’t be. Vitarelli is second on the team in goals and seems to have found the consistency that was the only thing keeping him from being considered a star himself …Mike Poulin (Calgary): 45 saves, .849 save percentage. The battle of Alberta is a battle of two of the league’s best goalies. Poulin won this round by giving up one less goal on the same number of shots …Aaron Bold (Edmonton): 44 saves, .830 save percentage. Bold was good, too, but you know he’s still thinking about that long-range Curtis Dickson bullet that beat him to give Calgary the win…Curtis Dickson (Calgary): 4g. Superman scored 44.4% of the Roughnecks’ goals…Stephen Keogh (Rochester): 5g, 5a. Goals, assists and a dust-up that reminded everyone that grit is one of the many facets of his game…Stephan Leblanc (Toronto): 1g, 6a, 8LB, 2FT. The kind of all-around effort that had Leblanc pegged as an up-and-coming superstar before an up-and-down year last year saw him cede much of the spotlight to Garrett Billings…Brad Self (Rochester): 1g, 5a, 13LB. Continues to show he has evolved into a solid D-first guy while still pitching in with some scoring…Brodie Merrill (Philadelphia): 3g, 1a, 11LB. There’s not much the Wings can recall fondly from the 20-10 shellacking, but their captain’s performance was a bright spot…Rhys Duch (Washington): 3g, 2a. T-Rich was a wall, but the Stealth still needed some goals to win and Duch led the scoring parade.Stamp is a TV sports announcer and lacrosse lover whose skill set made him a defender but who always dreamed of being a goal-scorer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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