Three teams scoring 17 or more goals this weekend means there were lots of players with big point totals around the National Lacrosse League, and the big point totals are impressive. Even more impressive is when there’s something other than just the points that catches the observer’s eye. This week’s IL Indoor NLL 3 Stars each brought something more than scoring to the table, although they had plenty of points, too. But when the offensive talent is exploding around the league like it did over the weekend, good defence looks even more impressive, too, so we won’t forget to give some love to guys at the other end of the floor in the honourable mentions. Make the jump to check out the top performers from the weekend.
Brett Bucktooth, Vancouver Stealth
9 goals, 7 assists, 2 forced turnovers
The last, and only other, time that Bucktooth had back to back hat tricks in his NLL career, they came against the Arizona Sting and Chicago Shamrox. That was back in his rookie season of 2007. Since then, he’d posted four hat tricks, never more than one in a season. So while he’s a talented and effective player, seeing him go off for 6 goals (along with 6 assists) in Vancouver’s big win over Colorado had to come as a bit of a surprise. Especially since the sock trick came in only his second game of the year after coming back from injury. That he added another 3 goals and chipped in with a couple of forced turnovers the next night was a bright light in an otherwise dim evening for the Stealth.
Shawn Evans, Calgary Roughnecks
4 goals, 7 assists, 6 loose balls, 2 forced turnovers
Evans is known for many things on a lacrosse floor, but one we shouldn’t forget is his ability to fill up a box score with stats that directly help his team win. Sure, the 4 goals were nice when he hasn’t been finding the back of the net as much as usual lately. And yes, the 7 assists helped him keep leading the league in that category and reinforce his rep as one of the best setup men in the game. The loose balls and forced turnovers, though, serve to remind us that his role in the offensive zone isn’t over once a shot is taken. Evans keeps working to try to create second-chance possessions and he’s one of the best around at doing so.
Cody Jamieson, Rochester Knighthawks
5 goals, 5 assists
Jamieson has the rare and special ability to simply impose himself on a lacrosse game. He did it again Saturday night, leading the Knighthawks as they turned around a strong start by the Rock into a stunning domination the rest of the way by Rochester. There are plenty of good players on his team, but make no mistake about it: the Knighthawks are Jamieson’s team. And they’re just a pair of one-goal losses away from being a perfect 7-0 on the season.
Brodie Merrill (Philadelphia): 15g, 3FT. Still the prototype of the transition player, Merrill keeps vacuuming loose balls and players stalwart defence…Mark Steenhuis (Buffalo): 3g, 2a, 6LB. Looking very comfortable in his role mostly playing out the front door for the Bandits…Callum Crawford (Minnesota): 2a, 6a, 6LB. Was in on all but one of the Swarm’s goals…Matt Vinc (Rochester): 45/54, .833 save percentage. Vinc is so consistent I may as well just leave his name in here and change the stats every week, even if FakeMattVinc thinks I’m his arch nemesis…Kyle Rubisch (Edmonton): 9LB, 3FT. Speaking of consistent, Rubisch just does his job well every week…John Grant Jr. (Colorado): 3g, 5a, 5LB. His 8-point night was kind of lost in the Stealth barrage, but he just keeps producing…Colin Doyle (Toronto): 4g, 1a. Just a great shooting half for Doyle, who was picking corners with abandon…Geoff Snider (Calgary): 3g, 2a, 15LB, 27 of 33 FO wins. One of those Snider nights where he just does it all over the floor…Ryan Benesch and John Tavares (Buffalo): 1g, 4a each. What a pair the veteran and the uber-veteran make on the Buffalo left side…Rhys Duch (Vancouver): 4g, 11a. Such a consistent scorer for the Stealth; if only he could get the rest of the team to be as consistent…Dan Dawson (Rochester): 10a. Quietly contributed hugely to the Rochester win…Anthony Cosmo (Buffalo): 45/52, .865 save percentage. Solid for the Bandits, even if Philly didn’t force him to be spectacular…Jeremy Thompson (Edmonton): 3g, 19LB, 2FT, 15 of 26 FO wins. Thompson did his best Brodie Merrill impersonation and it was a dead ringer, plus he won a bunch of faceoffs…Stephen Keogh (Rochester): 4g, 3a. Showed off his blend of talent and pit bull mentality…Dane Dobbie (Calgary): 4g, 4a. Second in the league in goals after his 4-spot Saturday.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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