What a weekend for the offensive guys. Seven players scored 10 or more points in Week 15, including three of them hitting double digits in a single game. That’s the kind of weekend that makes it challenging to select the IL Indoor NLL 3 Stars; not that it isn’t always challenging trying to pick the top three performances from among the array of stars that call the National Lacrosse League home. For you fans of the defensive side of the game, though, don’t worry. We’ve still got some love for the guys who specialize in stopping the ball from going into the net rather than helping it to do so. Make the jump to see this week’s top performers.
Stephen Keogh, Rochester Knighthawks
8 goals, 6 assists, 14 loose balls, 4 forced turnovers
Keogh had a career weekend in Minnesota and Rochester, putting up remarkably balanced numbers in the Knighthawks’ sweep of the Swarm. He scored 6 goals in one game and had 6 assists in the other. He also did his best Shawn Evans impression, scooping up loose balls and forcing turnovers to produce second-chance offensive possessions.
Rob Hellyer, Toronto Rock
3 goals, 8 assists
There couldn’t be a better sign for the Rock, in the face of the devastating injury to Garrett Billings, than Hellyer stepping up and having a huge game for Toronto. The young player (he will just be entering his first year in senior lacrosse this summer) has been emerged all year as a force for the Rock, but he’ll need to play an even bigger role with Billings gone for the season. That’s not to say he can replace Billings—that would be a tall order for anyone—but if Hellyer can keep playing with the confidence and poise he showed Saturday that will go a long way towards helping the Rock get by in Billings’ absence.
Kyle Rubisch, Edmonton Rush
12 loose balls, 8 forced turnovers
For the second time this season, Rubisch forced eight turnovers in a game. This weekend he broke his own record for FTs in a season; he now has 46, breaking his old mark of 44 set last year, which of course broke the record of 43 he’d set the year before that. Rubisch is in a class by himself when it comes to separating opponents from the ball. This may help put it in perspective: those two 8-turnover games alone would put him in the top 25 in the league in the stat. Two games!
Shawn Evans (Calgary): 5g, 9a, 13LB. Evans put himself back on pace to edge out Billings’ single-season assists record. While it’s a shame that Billings, who leads Evans by one atop the assist table, won’t get a chance to defend his mark, that doesn’t take away from what Evans is doing passing the ball…Garrett Billings (Toronto): 7a. Billings’ tweet that he hopes to be back in 2015 was a sad confirmation that his ACL is torn and he’s headed for a long, arduous rehab. What a performance to go out on, notching seven helpers on Toronto’s first nine goals…Cody Jamieson (Rochester): 2g, 12a. Keogh rightfully got much of the spotlight over the weekend, but Jammer was still critical to the success of the Knighthawks O…Pat Saunders (Philadelphia): 4g, 2a. Garrett Thul deserves the attention he’s got with the Wings this year, but Saunders is their rookie who’s now cracked the 20-goal plateau…Logan Schuss (Minnesota): 5g, 4a. Schuss is starting to develop the consistency that will make him such a good player in this league as he moves beyond his rookie season…Stephan Leblanc (Toronto): 5g 5a. Easy to overlook his big night with so much going on for the Rock Saturday, but Leblanc had another big night and is now leading Toronto in goals…Johnny Powless (Minnesota): 8g, 1a. Got the game winner in the overtime comeback then put up five the next night back home…Dane Dobbie (Calgary): 8g, 2a. Back to back 4-goal nights keeps him solidly atop the league’s goal leaders and puts him well within reach of Lewis Ratcliff’s Roughnecks’ record of 50 for a season. He has 45 with three games to play…Angus Goodleaf (Rochester): 42/51, .824 save percentage. Goodleaf is leaving no doubt that he’s a viable option when the Knighthawks need him, putting up another excellent performance…Callum Crawford (Minnesota): 6g, 7a. The pair of hat tricks gave Crawford his fifth straight 20-goal season…Chris Corbeil (Edmonton): 3a, 8LB, 4FT. Just another excellent defensive effort with some timely offensive contributions by Corbeil…Brandon Miller (Toronto): 36/43, .837 save percentage. Vancouver actually outshot the Rock in Toronto’s 17-9 win, so you know Miller was doing his job very well…Ryan Benesch (Buffalo): 2g, 4a. Got back on track after a quiet stretch…Rhys Duch (Vancouver): 4g. Third in the league in goals…Cory Conway (Edmonton): 1g, 5a. Is having a career season and is tied for the Rush assists lead with Mark Matthews…Colin Doyle (Toronto): 5g, 1a. About as quiet as a 5-goal night can be, given the fireworks all around in the Rock offence 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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