Cosmo closing in on saves mark, and other Record Pursuit updates

Anthony Cosmo will soon be the single season saves king. (Photo: Bill Wippert)
Anthony Cosmo will soon be the single season saves king. (Photo: Bill Wippert)

With seven of the nine teams in the National Lacrosse League having played 16 games, we have a very good idea of which single-season records will fall in the same number of games as the teams played before this year. Kyle Rubisch has already annihilated his old record for forced turnovers. Anthony Cosmo is almost a sure thing to break the saves record. Some other records could still fall in the final two weeks of the now 18-game season, though. We’ve been tracking the players chasing the records with an initial story two weeks ago and an update last week. This week we’ll take another look at all the categories we’ve been tracking and add one more, in which exactly the person you’d expect to be threatening a record is. Make the jump for all the details. (Read More…)

Vancouver Stealth face long odds in pursuit of NLL’s final playoff berth

Defenseman Chris O'Dougherty has been one of a few key injuries for the Stealth this season. (Photo: Dan Brodie)
Defenseman Chris O'Dougherty has been one of a few key injuries for the Stealth this season. (Photo: Dan Brodie)

It was Jan. 25 of this National Lacrosse League season when the Vancouver Stealth lost to the Edmonton Rush. The result dropped the Stealth’s record to 2-3 and coach Chris Hall remembers it well. And considering the Stealth had a 7-2 lead at halftime, how could he not? Edmonton came out in the second half and outscored Vancouver 7-1 for the 9-8 win. “I remember walking off the floor with one of our assistant coaches and saying, ‘Man, I really hope that isn’t a season-defining loss for us,’ ” Hall told the Langley Advance. Vancouver is 2-8 since that Jan. 25 loss and faces a mighty challenge to qualify for the NLL playoffs. Essentially, the Stealth have to win their final 3 games and have the Colorado Mammoth lose their final 2. “It doesn’t take much for games to go either way on you,” said Hall as the Stealth prepare for Saturday’s home game against Philadelphia. “With guys missing from our lineup, it’s one of those things that got going and continued to snowball. We’re able to get one piece back and then another piece disappears. It’s been frustrating, a long struggle, and even now we can’t get ourselves out of the hole.”

NLL Week 17 Team Reports: ‘There’s always something on the line when you play Buffalo,’ Rochester coach Mike Hasen

Tempers run hot when the Knighthawks and Bandits get together, which happens on Saturday. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Tempers run hot when the Knighthawks and Bandits get together, which happens on Saturday. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

This weekend is the first weekend of extra lacrosse in the regular season of the National Lacrosse League and as luck would have it, there are a couple of big games to keep your eyes on. The Toronto Rock edged Philadelphia by a goal last week to clinch a playoff berth, and now the Rock are searching for a win at home against Buffalo to determine some playoff positions in the East Division. A win won’t clinch anything for the Rock, but it will keep the Bandits from clinching home field for the first round. Out West, the Colorado Mammoth and Vancouver Stealth aren’t playing against each other, but the are battling for the league’s final playoff berth. The Mammoth have the inside track on that spot and if you continue with your reading, you can get the lowdown for all the team this weekend as well as the playoff pictures for all. (Read More…)

Video: Week 16 Top 10 NLL plays

Week 16's Top 10 NLL plays.
Week 16's Top 10 NLL plays.

It’s been 16 weekends of National League Lacrosse and every week, there’s been a video counting down the Top 10 plays. So why would this week be any different? It’s not, really. Check it out as the latest weekend of action is reviewed and you can relive the great moments provided by guys like Craig Point, Cam Holding, Zack Greer, Johnny Powless, Dane Dobbie, John Grant Jr., Curtis Knight, Rob Hellyer, Josh Sanderson and Kevin Crowley provide us with the highlights.

Snapping Edmonton’s streak was nice, but Mammoth say their work isn’t finished

Pat Coyle has brought a sense of simplicity and urgency to an improved Colorado Mammoth defense. (Photo: Jack Dempsey)
Pat Coyle has brought a sense of simplicity and urgency to an improved Colorado Mammoth defense. (Photo: Jack Dempsey)

The Mammoth finally did it Friday night. They were the first to beat the undefeated Rush. They stopped the league juggernaut’s run at 14 wins to start the season. They put together a helluva game, holding Edmonton to just eight goals and doing what no team had been able to do in 2014: beat the consensus Cup favourites. You could excuse the Mammoth players for being happy with the result. Or even being downright ecstatic for that matter. It’s been a tough season in Denver. The club stumbled out of the gates, losing five of its first six games and struggling in every area on the floor. (Read More…)

NLL Week 16 Photo Gallery

Matt Vinc and his game face lead Rochester into Saturday's game against Vancouver. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Matt Vinc and his game face lead Rochester into Saturday's game against Vancouver. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

Week 16 of the National Lacrosse League is a weird one for those of us who have followed the league for a while. Seems like next weekend should be the first round of the playoffs but instead of that, we get 2 more weeks of regular-season lacrosse thanks to the new schedule adopted by the league. Know what that means? Two more weeks of regular-season photo galleries! From our perspective, that does not suck because more lacrosse is always good lacrosse. So check out the images we pulled for Week 16 and hopefully, that’ll get you ready for a big Week 17 of NLL action. (Read More…)

Dedication, perseverance pays off for Banister in NLL debut with Edmonton Rush

Mitch Banister, right, admits to plenty of nerves heading into his NLL debut last week. (Photo: Brad Watson)
Mitch Banister, right, admits to plenty of nerves heading into his NLL debut last week. (Photo: Brad Watson)

The National Lacrosse League dream took a big step for Mitch Banister on the night of Oct. 1, 2012. That’s the night he was a fourth-round draft choice for the Edmonton Rush. It took from then until this past Saturday for the dream to become a reality, but that’s exactly what it is now, a reality, after Banister made his NLL debut for the Rush in Saturday’s 15-11 win over the Calgary Roughnecks. “I couldn’t really sleep at all. I was a nervous wreck, walking around and couldn’t sit down or anything,” Banister told the Western Wheel of Okotoks, his hometown. “The closer I got to game time the more the nerves went away and it was just more excitement, just ready to get out there.” Adding to the nerves was the fact that Banister was playing against the Roughnecks, the team his dad, Brad, is the former owner of before selling in 2011. After seeing the dedication and work of Mitch toward this dream, Brad said it was an emotional moment. “After the first few shifts, once he got those out of the way I enjoyed the game,” Brad said. “I even had to wear an Edmonton Rush jersey for the first time in my life.”

Rock and Bandits are two teams heading in opposite directions, but with the same goal

Brandon Miller (centre) and the Rock will try to keep their roll going against Buffalo this Friday. (Photo: Graig Abel)
Brandon Miller (centre) and the Rock will try to keep their roll going against Buffalo this Friday. (Photo: Graig Abel)

Once again this weekend, the Toronto Rock are playing in the National Lacrosse League game most fraught with playoff implications. Last week, they beat the Philadelphia Wings to earn a berth in the postseason. Now, second place and a home playoff date are at stake as the Rock play host to the Buffalo Bandits. It would take more than just a win Friday night to secure second for the Rock, but a loss ensures that they’ll be travelling to Buffalo to open the playoffs rather than making the short trip to the friendly confines of the Air Canada Centre. (Read More…)

NLL Girl of the Week: Alexa vs. Amy

Amy, left, and Alexa.
Amy, left, and Alexa.

We’ve reached the final matchup of the first round for our National Lacrosse League Girl of the Week contest, so the only thing left to do is vote and keep this thing rolling. Last week’s matchup saw Toronto’s Krista steamroll past Danielle of Buffalo by a count of 4,039 to 1,028, which is a bit interesting because the Bandits and Rock are getting ready to square off this weekend. Is this a sign of things to come? We’ll know more late Saturday night but in the meantime, it’s time to introduce our contestants for the final first-round matchup: It’s Amy of the Rochester Knightingales and Alexa of the Calgary Drill Crew. (Read More…)

Rookie Report: As regular season winds down, race for top rookie is hardly clear

Mitch Banister, right, was a 2012 draft pick for the Edmonton Rush and finally made his NLL debut. (Photo: Brad Watson)
Mitch Banister, right, was a 2012 draft pick for the Edmonton Rush and finally made his NLL debut. (Photo: Brad Watson)

We’re getting to the point in this National Lacrosse League season where we start to ask: Who is the frontrunner for the 2014 Rookie of the Year? The last few seasons have been fairly cut and dried, especially last winter when the award really was Mark Matthews’ to lose. But this year, it’s a different story. Do you take the scoring of Tyler Digby and/or Logan Schuss? Karsen Leung has an all-around game that’s as solid as anyone else in the league, and Dillon Ward has performed above expectations as a goalie in Colorado. It’ll be interesting in these final 2 weeks of the season to see if anyone separates himself but until then, we’ll continue with a look back at the rookies for Week 16. (Read More…)