Six weeks into the National Lacrosse League season, and we’re finally there. Colton Clark’s debut last week with the Colorado Mammoth means that every one of the 10 first-round entry draft picks has now played a game in the NLL. He did a good job despite Colorado’s loss as he scored the team’s first goal against Washington. Clark wasn’t alone in his debut as Washington’s Billy Hostrawser also played his first game, Carter Bender finally got in with the Buffalo Bandits and defenseman Michael Cudmore played for the Edmonton Rush. What this means is that 14 of the top 15 draft picks have played this season. All the more reason to dig what this class of young guns is accomplishing as they make their mark.
1. Mark Matthews, Edmonton Rush: He scored 2 goals in Saturday’s road loss to Calgary, both of them in the fourth quarter. Both goals kept the Rush 1 goal behind the Riggers but the Rush eventually lost their 10th straight regular-season game to their biggest rival. The left-handed forward out of Oshawa also had 2 assists to increase his season points total to 25 points (12-13), tops among all rookies this season.
2. Dhane Smith, Buffalo Bandits: The right-handed transition man out of Kitchener, Ont., had his least productive offensive game of the season in being held to 0 goals (7 shots) and 1 assist in Saturday’s home loss to Rochester. He did have 3 loose balls and his season points total increased to 17 points (9-8).
3. Shayne Jackson, Minnesota Swarm: He struggled in shooting against the Toronto defense, going without a goal on 9 shots. But the left-handed forward out of Bowmanville, Ont., contributed in other ways in Minny’s OT win and had 2 assists and 4 loose balls, giving him 21 points (7-14) for the season. He leads the Swarm with 4 power-play goals.
4. Curtis Knight, Edmonton Rush: A week after not scoring a goal, the right-handed forward out of Oshawa was 1-1 in the road loss to Calgary. He scored the first goal of the second half to tie the game, 3-3, and has 16 points (5-11) through 5 games.
5. Kiel Matisz, Minnesota Swarm: The right-handed forward out of Stoney Creek, Ont., maintained his roll with 2 goals and 1 assist with 1 of those goals coming on the power play in the third quarter of Friday’s OT win over Toronto. He also had 5 loose balls and has 17 points (9-8). He’s scored 3 or more points in 4 consecutive games.
6. Brock Sorensen, Minnesota Swarm: The left-handed transition man out of Peterborough had 1 goal and 1 assist with 4 loose balls and 2 forced turnovers in Friday’s OT win over Toronto. His assist came on Tyler Hass’s winning goal in OT.
7. Kyle Buchanan, Washington Stealth: The right-handed forward out of Nepean, Ont., did not play in Saturday’s home win over Colorado. It’s the first game he’s missed this season.
8. Joe Resetarits,Calgary Roughnecks: The right-handed forward out of Hamburg, N.Y., scored a short-handed goal just before halftime to give the Riggers a 3-2 lead in Saturday’s home win over rival Edmonton. He’s extended his streak to scoring at least 1 goal in 4 of 5 games this season.
9. Tyler Garrison, Washington Stealth: The defender out of Coquitlam, B.C., had 1 assist, 3 loose balls and 2 forced turnovers in Saturday’s home win over Colorado. He continues to play large and provide energy for the revamped back end of the Stealth, who held the Mammoth to a season-low 6 goals on Saturday.
10. Alex Crepinsek, Minnesota Swarm: The right-handed defenseman out of Oakville, Ont., had 1 assist in Friday’s home OT win over Toronto. But he’s not the type of defender that puts up a lot of stats. Teammates rave about his crisp work and energy, saying he’s the type of defender that can energize an entire unit by example.
It didn’t take long for Philadelphia D Jim Forsythe to be welcomed to the NLL. Just 4 minutes into Friday’s game against Rochester, Forsythe found himself dropping the gloves with Stephen Keogh and the kid out of Widener U. held his own. He scooped 3 loose balls in the home loss to Rochester … Toronto F Kyle Belton scooped 5 loose balls in Friday’s home OT loss to Minnesota … The Rochester Knighthawks are the only team in the league that has not played a rookie in at least 1 game this season … Buffalo F Carter Bender and T Kevin Brownell made their NLL debuts on Saturday against the Knighthawks. Brownell did impressive on his D shifts and scooped 2 loose balls, while Bender scored a nice goal in the fourth quarter to cut Rochester’s lead to 13-6 … Colorado F Colton Clark made his NLL debut against the Stealth and his first NLL goal was Colorado’s first of the game, at the 6:13 mark of the first quarter. He also scooped 2 loose balls in Saturday’s road loss to the Stealth … Washington Stealth D Billy Hostrawser made his debut and scuffled with Colorado’s Ilija Gajic. He appeared to be injured in the fall to the turf at the end of the fight and medical personnel brought a stretcher to the floor, but Hostrawser left under his own power … Stealth D Justin Pychel had 3 loose balls in Saturday’s home win over Colorado … Stealth D Tim Henderson had an assist and 3 loose balls against Colorado … Stealth F Mitch McMichael scored 2 goals in Saturday’s home win over Colorado and also scooped 4 loose balls. The goals were his first since scoring against Edmonton on Jan. 25.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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