Week 12 of the National Lacrosse League season featured a record-setting streak extended, a playoff spot clinched, an 8-goal victory and an OT game, a game with only 17 goals and another with 29, and a milestone achievement by a future Hall of Famer. Just another typical week in the world of the NLL. It seems a little early to be talking about clinching playoff spots already, seeing as Edmonton has only played ten games — its season is barely half over. But the Rush have done just that, clinching the first spot in the 2014 playoffs. The Rush also continued to increase their record for wins to start a season by winning their tenth straight as they beat the Calgary Roughnecks 15-7 on Friday night.
The Rush scored almost all of their goals in bunches, with a run of six in the first and second, three straight later in the second, and five more in a row over the third and fourth. The only outlier was Chris Corbeil’s second unassisted goal of the game late in the fourth in between a couple of Rigger goals. Corbeil’s first unassisted goal was the game winner. Amazingly, the 10-0 Rush have only one player in the top twenty in league scoring (Mark Matthews, 18th) and only one other (Curtis Knight, 30th) in the top thirty.
In Rochester’s win in Toronto a month ago, the Rock took an early lead but then a long Rochester scoring streak (11 straight) turned the tables. In the Knighthawks’ second visit to Toronto on Saturday, it was like déjà vu all over again. It was another of those "two games in one" deals and while the Rock faithful enjoyed the first half which they won 9-5, they didn’t enjoy the 12-3 shellacking they took in the second half. Cody Jamieson scored four goals in the game, all within the first 5½ minutes of the third quarter. His fourth tied the game and then Stephen Keogh’s goal 3 minutes later (assisted by Jamieson) put the Knighthawks ahead to stay.
The game-winner in this one was Joel McCready’s buzzer beater at the end of the third quarter (assisted by Jamieson). Dan Dawson also scored his 1,000th point in this game, joining the likes of John Tavares, Colin Doyle, John Grant, Gary Gait, Josh Sanderson, and Shawn Williams in the 1000 point club.
The Buffalo Bandits won their third straight game, and sixth straight home game, by beating the Colorado Mammoth on Saturday, but special teams were an interesting factor in this game. I imagine the Bandits are glad that they are one of the least penalized teams in the league since they took six penalties in this game and Colorado scored on five of them. The Mammoth even scored on one of their own penalties, but they were only able to score three goals in five-on-five situations.
The Bandits only had two power plays and failed to score on either of them, but managed to pot twelve even strength goals for the win. The Bandits led from a minute into the first until the end of the third when John Grant scored his fourth of the game to tie it up, but John Tavares gave the Bandits back the lead 42 seconds later and Shawn Williams cemented the victory midway through the fourth.
After being pulled in Saturday’s game against Toronto, Matt Vinc was given the opportunity to rebound against the Philadelphia Wings on Sunday afternoon, and rebound he did. Vinc allowed only a single goal in each of the first, second, and fourth quarters (and a slightly more human four in the third) in a clutch performance that unfortunately earned him zero Money Ballers points, since the Money Ballers is all about scoring clutch goals, not preventing them. That said, there were not a lot of Money Ballers goals in this game.
Brad Self (assisted by Jamieson) gave the Knighthawks the lead early in the first, and Dan Dawson’s third of the game (assisted by Jamieson) proved to be the game-winner. The oddest stat of the night: Rochester and Philadelphia alternated 10 goals in a row from the first to the third quarters. Some of the goals were anywhere from 5 to 9 minutes apart while two others were scored within a minute of the previous one, but the game was literally back and forth for more than 37 minutes.
After the loss at home on Saturday, the Rock traveled to Minnesota, attempting to win their first road game of the year. The Swarm were attempting to win their first home game of the year, so we were assured that one of the streaks was going to end. As I said above, Saturday’s Rock/Knighthawks game looked like a replay of a previous Rock / Knighthawks game, and strangely, Sunday evening’s game almost looked like a replay of Saturday’s game.
It was all Rock in the first half, outscoring the Swarm 5-0 in the first and taking a 7-4 lead into the break. But in the second half, the Rock could only manage a single goal while Minnesota scored four straight in the fourth to tie the game. Both Nick Rose and Tyler Carlson were strong in the last five minutes of regulation time, but only a minute and a half into overtime, Colin Doyle scored his third of the game, giving him hat-tricks in consecutive games as well as giving the Rock their first road win.
Doyle’s OT goal gave him 5 MB points for the game and the weekend, which gives him the weekly win. John Grant remains in first overall, extending his lead over Dane Dobbie by half a point. Calgary plays the Stealth next weekend while the Mammoth are idle, but neither team has any bye weekends left after that so this is Dobbie’s big chance to cut the lead. And if third-place Cody Jamieson keeps picking up those assists (and the odd goal or four), he could make a run at Grant as well.
Here are the Money Baller standings after week twelve. The number in brackets after a player’s name is their ranking in the scoring race.
|As of Week 12||First||Fourth||OT|
|1||John Grant Jr. (3)||COL||1||5||1||6||0||0||0||0||3||1||1||2||1||1||33.5|
|2||Dane Dobbie (T7)||CAL||3||2||6||5||1||0||0||1||1||0||1||1||0||0||27.5|
|3||Cody Jamieson (2)||ROC||3||2||1||7||2||2||0||2||0||0||1||1||0||0||22.0|
|4||John Tavares (T35)||BUF||2||1||3||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||1||1||1||0||20.5|
|Ryan Benesch (T18)||BUF||1||0||3||3||0||2||0||0||0||0||1||3||0||1||20.5|
|6||Garrett Billings (1)||TOR||3||4||2||9||0||2||0||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||19.5|
|Drew Westervelt (T12)||COL||4||2||2||3||0||0||0||0||3||1||0||0||0||0||19.5|
|8||Colin Doyle (10)||TOR||0||1||3||3||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||1||1||0||18.5|
|Curtis Knight (T30)||EDM||0||1||2||2||1||0||0||1||1||0||1||2||0||0||18.5|
|Adam Jones (T24)||COL||2||2||2||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||1||0||0||0||18.5|
|11||Curtis Dickson (17)||CAL||0||0||5||1||0||1||1||2||1||0||0||1||0||0||17.5|
|Stephen Keogh (T12)||ROC||0||3||8||4||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||17.5|
|13||Mark Matthews (T18)||EDM||2||0||1||3||0||2||0||1||0||1||1||0||1||0||17.0|
|Jarrett Davis (T35)||EDM||1||2||2||2||1||1||2||1||0||1||0||0||0||1||17.0|
|Dan Dawson (5)||ROC||0||3||1||9||1||1||1||1||0||0||0||2||0||0||17.0|
|Rhys Duch (T7)||VAN||4||2||3||3||0||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||17.0|
|Weekly leader||Overall leader|
|Week 1||Joel McCready||Joel McCready|
|Week 2||Adam Jones||Adam Jones|
|Week 3||John Tavares||John Tavares|
|Week 4||Lewis Ratcliff||John Tavares|
|Week 5||John Grant||John Grant|
|Week 6||Garrett Billings||John Grant|
|Week 7||Dane Dobbie||John Grant|
|Week 8||Riley Loewen||John Grant|
|Week 9||Dane Dobbie||John Grant|
|Week 10||Mike Accursi, Kasey Beirnes, Brett Mydske, Josh Sanderson||John Grant|
|Week 11||Robert Church||John Grant|
|Week 12||Colin Doyle||John Grant|
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