Big wins for the Philadelphia Wings and Minnesota Swarm this weekend. Both teams pulled out tight victories over East Division rivals to keep themselves relevant in the playoff chase. Minnesota still faces an uphill battle because they sit a game and a half back of the Toronto Rock and have lost the season series to Toronto. But all they could do on Sunday was beat the Bandits and they did that, so they still have hope. For Philadelphia to retain realistic hope, they needed to down the Rock Saturday and they also got the job done. Now a whole lot rides on the Wings’ return trip to Toronto’s Air Canada Centre on April 12. Philly will certainly be hoping their big stud, Kevin Crowley, can continue the kind of play he showed in a breakout game Saturday. Make the jump to see where his performance landed him in the IL Indoor NLL 3 Stars, plus the rest of the honorees.
Kevin Crowley, Philadelphia Wings
6 goals, 3 assists
Crowley has been on pace to finish well behind his scoring totals from his first two seasons in the league. It has appeared that he’s been struggling to adjust to being clearly the main man on the offence with the departure of Dan Dawson and others from Philadelphia’s stable. But on Saturday he took the bull by the horns and put on a virtuoso performance. Crowley is a good outside shooter but had been relying too heavily on that. Saturday, he worked his way inside and made good on the chances that created.
Garrett Billings, Toronto Rock
3 goals, 7 assists
Billings has become the best behind the back passer in the NLL. He set up a pair of goals on Saturday with absolute gems over the back shoulder, one short and one long. The keys to a successful behind the backer is not telegraphing it and being accurate. Check and check for Billings, who gets the pass off quickly and hit both Scott Johnston and Josh Sanderson right in the mesh at the perfect time.
Aaron Bold, Edmonton Rush
33 saves, .868 save percentage
It’s easy to overlook Bold’s play behind that great Edmonton defence. He certainly is the beneficiary of an outstanding group of players executing tremendously in a well-designed system. But he still has to make the stops, and there are still breakdowns that leave opponents with high-quality shots. Bold steps up and makes the saves when he has to. He was solid as a rock in Edmonton’s domination of the Bandits Friday night, as he has been for them most of the season.
Callum Crawford (Minnesota): 2g, 2a. Crawford played a strong game and capped it off with the overtime winner for the Swarm…Steve Priolo (Edmonton): 1g, 1a, 15LB, 9FT. Continues to blossom as one of the best all-around defenders in the league…Zack Greer (Edmonton): 3g, 3a. Led a balanced Edmonton offensive assault…Lewis Ratcliff (Vancouver): 3g, 3a. Call off the APB: Ratcliff located his scoring touch…Dane Dobbie (Calgary): 4g, 4a. Maintained his healthy lead atop the league’s goal-scoring list…Joe Resetarits (Buffalo): 4g. His hat trick Sunday included a goal where he switched hands and fired a low shot home lefthanded…Chris Corbeil and Kyle Rubisch (Edmonton): 5FT each. You could include half a dozen other Edmonton defenders here, but these two led the way in forced turnovers so we’ll let them accept the honours for the team…David Earl (Minnesota): 6LB, 5FT. They were handing out FTs like candy to Minnesota players, but Earl was solid throughout and legitimately separated the ball from Buffalo players on a number of occasions…Matt Roik (Vancouver): 30/35, .857 save percentage. Roik stepped in and helped the Stealth win the final three quarters of their loss to Calgary…Ryan Benesch (Buffalo): 1g, 6a. Had a solid game in his return to The Hive, putting up five points…Rob Hellyer (Toronto): 3g, 3a. Continues to show he’s ready for the regular role he’s inherited in Toronto…Adrian Sorichetti (Edmonton): 3g. What a way to start your career. A hat trick in just his second game drawing into the lineup for the Rush. Like Edmonton needs more weaponsStamp 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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