Dane Dobbie streaking off the bench has become as dangerous a weapon as there is in the National Lacrosse League. The Roughnecks forward scored 5 goals Saturday night, many of them in bench transition, to help Calgary down the Vancouver Stealth 15-12, moving both teams to 2-2 for the season. Shawn Evans was also a standout for Calgary, scoring 3 goals and adding 6 assists, while Daryl Veltman (3g, 2a) and Jeff Shattler (2g, 3a) each chipped in 5-point nights. Rhys Duch had a hat trick and 2 assists to lead a very balanced Vancouver attack. Tyler Richards made 45 saves in a losing effort for the Stealth as Calgary outshot Vancouver 60-40.
While Calgary had the big edge in shots, scoring was tight throughout the game, which was tied six times. Calgary always seemed to be the team that was able to establish a lead, though; the only time Vancouver was ahead was 2-0 to open the contest. Once the Roughnecks tied it 2-2 on a pair of Shattler goals just over a minute apart at the midway point of the first quarter, they never trailed again.
The Roughnecks edged out in front 3-2 on an Evans power play goal at 3:09 of the second quarter, and extra man goals were a deciding factor in the game. Both teams had plenty of chances, but the Roughnecks took fuller advantage; they were 6-for-9 on the power play while Vancouver was just 2-for-7.
There were definitely bright spots for the Stealth, in particular the play of rookie defender Nick Weiss, making his NLL debut in the absence of injured captain Kyle Sorensen. Weiss scored on a beautifully run two-on-one break with Tyler Garrison—another excellent young defender in the Stealth’s stable—added an assist and generally looked good in the transition game.
But Dobbie was the transition story of the night. He’s become almost unstoppable coming off the bench when Calgary has the ball. As one of the commentator’s on the game’s webcast pointed out, it’s become just about having someone who can get him the pass successfully as he comes onto the floor, because he has become almost automatic once he’s breaking in alone on the goalie. And Calgary showed they have plenty of players who can make the pass—he scored off the bench after receiving a pass each from Mike Carnegie, Tor Reinholdt and Curtis Manning.
Colorado’s woes continued as they fell to 1-5 after getting pounded 16-9 by Buffalo. Defender Steve Priolo continues to show he knows what to do when he has the ball, potting 3 goals—including a shorthanded marker—and adding an assist. Dhane Smith had 4 goals and 2 assists, Ryan Benesch a goal and 7 asssits and Shawn Williams 6 assists for a Bandits teams that scored more goals between the first and third quarters (11) than Colorado did all night.
Adam Jones (3g, 2a) and John Grant, Jr. (2g, 3a) had 5-point nights for the Mammoth, who did battle back in the second quarter. After being outscored 5-1 in the first quarter and falling behind 6-1, they pulled to within a goal at 7-6. That appeared to be about all they had in the tank after a tough overtime loss in Vancouver Friday night; Buffalo put up a 6-1 third period and coasted home from there. The Mammoth’s goaltending continued to be an issue, as Tye Belanger was pulled yet again after the fifth Buffalo goal of the game.
In Rochester, meanwhile, Dan Dawson’s 7-assist night and 4 goals and an assist from Cody Jamieson helped the defending champion Knighthawks stay perfect on the season with three straight wins, downing the Toronto Rock 12-8. Matt Vinc made 38 saves to earn the win. He is tied with Buffalo’s Anthony Cosmo and Edmonton’s Aaron Bold for the league lead with three wins, but he’s in sole possession of the best goals against average (7.67) and save percentage (a stellar .833) among goalies who have played regularly.
Zach Higgins actually has an even better save percentage than Vinc, though, after making his first appearance an impressive one for the Minnesota Swarm. Tyler Carlson gave up three goals on the four shots he faced. It looked like Carlson knew he just didn’t have it in yesterday’s matinee game in Philadelphia; as soon as the third goal went in he jumped up and started running towards the bench to be replaced by Higgins. The change worked for the Swarm, who seemed in control for most of the rest of the game as they pulled out an 11-10 win for their first victory of the season, meaning no team is now winless in the NLL. Logan Schuss, Josh Gillam, Jordan MacIntosh and Kiel Matisz all scored twice to lead the Swarm.
The Wings, while they fell to 1-3, continue to show admirable resiliency. They continued to fight back and never fell out of reach in the game. Jordan Hall was the main man for their offence, scoring 4 goals and 2 assists. A rejuvenated Tracey Kelusky had another solid game for the Wings and chipped in a couple of goals while Ryan Ward scored once and added 6 helpers.
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