So we’re done with 6 weekends of this 2014 National Lacrosse League season and we’re still seeing more rookies getting their first crack at the bigs. Three rooks made their NLL debuts this weekend, with Minnesota’s Cameron Flint becoming the final first-round pick to finally get some minutes. Flint, the No. 4 overall pick, put his speed to work in hounding some loose balls for the Swarm, who lost on the road to Colorado. Joining Flint in their first NLL games were Edmonton’s Adrian Sorichetti, the No. 13 overall pick, and Vancouver’s Sean Lundstrom, the Langley Junior A Thunder product who signed as a free agent with the Stealth. We’ve now seen 12 of the top 13 picks get their taste of the NLL. So let’s take a look at how all the rookies, new and old, did this weekend.
1. Tyler Digby (Vancouver): The right-hander out of New Westminster combined for 3 goals and 3 assists with 8 loose balls and 2 forced turnovers in a pair of weekend games. It was a tough weekend for the Stealth, losing on the road in Toronto and Philadelphia as they extended their losing streak to 4. But it’s tough to debate the numbers and the impact Digby is bringing to the Stealth. Yes, he’s producing, but he’s doing it with the poise of a veteran.
2. Dillon Ward (Colorado): The goalie out of Orangeville had a solid game with 31 saves on 43 shots (.721 save percentage) to lead the Mammoth to a home win over the Minnesota Swarm for their their second straight victory. He made 19 of his saves in the second half, holding the Swarm to 4 goals after giving up 8 in the first half. It’s the second straight complete game for Ward; have the Mammoth finally decided he’s the No. 1?
3. Riley Loewen (Edmonton): The right-hander out of Burnaby, B.C., continued his solid production as the Rush improved to 5-0. He had 1 goal and 1 assist with 3 loose balls and 1 forced turnover in Saturday’s home win over the Rochester Knighthawks. The Rush opened the game with a 3-0 run and his goal was the capper in a game that eventually went to OT. His assist came on Mark Matthews’ game-winner.
4. Logan Schuss (Minnesota): The left-hander out of Ladner, B.C., is finding his NLL groove, posting his biggest game to date with 2 goals and 3 assists in Saturday’s road loss to Colorado. He scored just 1 goal in his first 2 games but has since scored 2 goals in 3 straight games. He also had 3 assists and 4 loose balls against the Mammoth.
5. Cody Bremner (Vancouver): The left-hander out of Victoria has cooled off a bit after scoring 5 goals in his first 3 games. In the 4 games since, he’s scored just once and that goal, along with 3 assists came in Friday’s road loss to Toronto. He also had 1 assist and 2 loose balls in that game before carding 1 assist, 2 loosies and a forced turnover in Saturday’s road loss to Philadelphia.
6. Karsen Leung (Calgary): The right-hander out of Victoria did not play last weekend.
7. Robert Church (Edmonton): The right-hander out of Coquitlam was without a goal on 5 shots, but he did have 3 assists and 4 LBs in Saturday’s home win over Rochester. Two of his 3 assists came on power-play goals and his 11 assists for the season rank third on the team.
8. Garret Thul (Philadelphia): The undrafted left-hander out of West Point continues to impress, scoring 2 goals in Saturday’s home win over Vancouver. Both goals came in the third quarter, the first one giving the Wings an 11-5 lead and the second one giving the Wings a 12-7 lead. He’s scored a goal in all 5 games he’s played this season, while giving the Wings a big body to push around defenders from the left side.
9. Jason Noble (Minnesota): The left-hander out of Orangeville was not in uniform for Saturday’s road loss to Colorado.
10. Ethan O’Connor (Toronto): The right-hander out of Milton, Ont., has gone 3 straight games now without a point after scoring 3 points in his debut, but scoring is not his job. He had 9 loose balls in Friday’s home win over Vancouver, and threw down for his first NLL fight with fellow rookie Nick Weiss. He didn’t play in Saturday’s road loss to Buffalo.
Honorable mention: Vancouver T Nick Weiss had 1 goal (on 1 shot) with 1 assist, 5 loose balls and 2 forced turnovers in Friday’s road loss to Toronto. He had 2 LBs and 1 FT in Saturday’s road loss to Philly … Toronto D Mike Lum-Walker scooped 2 LBs and had his first NLL fight in Friday’s home win over Vancouver. … Toronto D Craig England had 1 assist and 1 LB in Saturday’s road loss to Buffalo … Vancouver F Sean Lundstrom made his NLL debut with 0 goals on 3 shots and 1 LB in Saturday’s road loss to Philly … Minnesota T Cam Flint made his NLL debut, scooping 5 loose balls in Saturday’s road loss to Colorado … Minnesota G Zach Higgins got the start in Saturday’s road loss to Colorado and went the distance, making 38 saves on 52 shots … Minnesota F Scott Jones had 1 goal, 2 assists and 1 loose ball in Saturday’s road loss to Colorado … Edmonton T Adrian Sorichetti made his NLL debut and scooped 2 loose balls in Saturday’s home win over Rochester … Philadelphia D Chad Wiedmaier had 1 goal — Philadelphia’s first of the game — with 1 assist and 5 loose balls in Saturday’s home win over Vancouver … Philadelphia F Pat Saunders had his biggest output of the season, scoring 3 goals with 3 assists in Saturday’s home win over Vancouver. Saunders has unique status as a rookie, having played NLL games in 2009 and 2012 according to his NLL.com bio. But he played in just 1 game both of those seasons and since the definition of an NLL rookie is 3 or fewer games, Saunders still qualifies.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 email@example.com or go to RochesterSports.com.
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