2014 preview: Calgary Roughnecks

RoughnecksThe success the Calgary Roughnecks has seen over the life of the franchise is surprising, in a couple of ways. In their twelve seasons, they have only missed the playoffs once, and that was in their first year. They’ve only had two seasons under .500. They’ve finished with more goals scored than allowed every season but their first. They’ve finished first in their division five times (2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2005). And yet with all that regular season success, they’ve only made it to the Championship game twice, winning both of them.

2013 season summary

Record 9-7 (Tied for 1st in West, seeded 1st)
Home 3-5
Away 6-2
Goals for 222
Goals against 211
Top scorer Shawn Evans (112 points)
Playoffs Division semi-finals: Beat Colorado 15-10
Division Finals: Lost to Washington 14-13

Roster changes

Only the Knighthawks made fewer off-season moves than the Roughnecks. In fact, if it weren’t for injuries, there might only have been one – and that one wasn’t even made by the team: defender Nolan Heavenor announced his retirement. Heavenor was one of those fly-under-the-radar kind of defensemen – no glory (not that defenders ever get much glory) but lots of respect from teammates and opponents alike.

Notable names missing from the announced roster include Travis Cornwall, Scott Ranger, and Pete McFetridge, all of whom are on the PUP list, and Scott Carnegie, assigned to the practice squad. Also missing from last year are Joe Resetarits who was traded to Buffalo, and Aaron Pascas who was released. Additions to the roster include Tor Reinholdt and Karsen Leung, both Mann Cup finalists with the Langley Thunder, and a third goaltender – Peter Dubenski, who will play behind Mike Poulin and Frankie Scigliano.

Ranger is a big part of the Roughnecks offense whose absence will be very much noticed, so I find it odd that they didn’t go with another forward on the roster instead of a third goaltender. Their forwards include the likes of Dobbie, Dickson, Shattler, Veltman, and Shawn Evans, so perhaps they’ve decided that they’re fine on offense, but the only other forward on their roster is Matthew Dinsdale, who only got 7 points in 13 games last year. They can’t be sending out 5 of these 6 guys on every offensive shift, so presumably some of the transition guys (Leung, Reinholdt, and Geoff Snider) will be pulled forward for some shifts until Ranger returns.

Burning question

Which Mike Poulin will the Roughnecks see – the 2012 version (Goaltender of the Year, 10.27 GAA, 78.9 Save%), or the 2013 version (12.82 GAA, 74.2 Save%)?

Look out for

Curtis Dickson. Widely regarded as one of the best offensive players anyway, I can see this 50-60 point guy climbing into the 80-90 range. And not just because there are two more games.

Prediction

First in the west.

Haiku

Roughnecks score a lot
Evans was the MVP
But there’s no Ranger

2014 preview: Vancouver Stealth

Stealth

The Stealth continue their west coast tour. They did six years in San Jose and four in Washington before moving north of the border, and now we’ll see if Vancouver is really the lacrosse town everyone thinks it is. Even if it is and every game is a sellout, the Stealth will still have the lowest attendance in the league, since the Langley Events Centre only holds 5,500 people. The lowest per-game average in the league last year, other than the Stealth, was Edmonton with 6,714. But Stealth ownership knew that when they made this decision, so presumably the lower arena costs and lower travel costs and who knows what else are sufficient reasons for the move even if they guarantee themselves the lowest attendance. Then again, said lowest attendance of 5,500 a game would still be over 30% higher than they had last year.

After a crappy 2012 which saw the Stealth finish dead last and miss the playoffs, they rebounded in a big way in 2013, not only finishing tied for first in the division but heading to their third Championship game in four years. They got about as close as you can get to “worst-to-first” in a year, but lost a one-goal final to the Rochester Knighthawks.

With appearances in three Championship games in four years, the Stealth have become an elite team. If they had won just one more of those games (or not finished last in the one other season), the word “dynasty” might even be floating around. Can they continue this high level of on-field success?

2013 season summary

Record 9-7 (Tied for 1st in West, seeded 2nd)
Home 5-3
Away 4-4
Goals for 193
Goals against 192
Top scorer Rhys Dych (97)
Playoffs Division semi-finals: Beat Edmonton 12-11
Division Finals: Beat Calgary 14-13
Finals: Lost to Rochester 11-10

Roster changes

When the rosters were announced on December 16th, the Stealth’s list was the first I saw, and was my first “holy crap” of the day. Athan Iannucci and Dean Hill, Washington’s #3 and #6 scorers last season, were both released while three rookies made the team. Hill is a veteran of eight seasons, while Iannucci is a former MVP and 100-point player. That said, it’s not like the Stealth released Gary Gait; Nooch only scored 100 points once and his second-highest total was 61. But he averaged 46 points over the last two seasons while Hill averaged 38, so the Stealth must have a lot of confidence in the likes of Cody Bremner, Tyler Digby, and Sean Lundstrom.

Also hoping to add to the Stealth goal totals will be Alex Gajic. Gajic is returning from injury, having missed all of 2013 and most of 2012, but he scored 48 points in each of the previous two seasons with the Mammoth. Alex joins his brother Ilija as the second and third Gajic transplants from Colorado, as Nenad did the same thing two years ago. Nenad only lasted three games with the Stealth in 2012, so here’s hoping Alex and Ilija have better luck.

The Steath will have a new face-off man this year, as Bob Snider was traded. Snider took 96% of the Stealth’s faceoffs last year, winning 61% of them, so whoever takes his place has big shoes to fill.

Also missing will be Tim Henderson. 2nd Lieutenant Henderson graduated from West Point in May and found out in June that he was being deployed to Afghanistan, and so will be unavailable to the Stealth at least until he returns. I don’t know how long his deployment is, but my buddy Google tells me that nine months would likely be the absolute minimum. So he’ll be out until at least March, and that assumes both the shortest possible deployment and that he’s ready to play the instant he returns. Probably safe to assume he won’t be playing in 2014 at all.

Burning questions

I have a couple of questions for this team, one on-floor and one off:

  1. Was releasing Iannucci addition by subtraction? Or will the Stealth be looking for more offense?
  2. Can the lower mainland sustain an NLL team if the ownership is completely on-board (which the Ravens’ ownership was not)? Can an NLL team survive on only 5,500 attendance (best case) per game?

Look out for

Lewis Ratcliff. After two 90+ point seasons, Ratcliff’s production dropped to 76 points in 2012 and 67 in 2013. IL Indoor ranked him 45th on their top 50 players, which means they think there are 44 players in the league – an average of five players per team – better than Ratcliff. That would have been unbelievable only two or three years ago. Is Ratcliff on the downside of his career at the ripe old age of 32? Or did he just have two substandard years? Almost everyone on the Stealth had a substandard year in 2012 – did it simply take Ratcliff an extra year to get back to form? He tweeted recently that he needs glasses – could a 20:20 Ratcliff get back to 90 points?

Prediction

Second in the west.

Haiku

Moved to Vancouver
No Snider but two Gajic’s
Iannucci’s gone

NLL 2014 rosters: Who’s in, who’s out

Here is a complete list of the changes in rosters for each team compared to last season. The “In” lists contain players that are on the 20-man roster that were not on the final roster from last season, and may include players that were on the practice roster or IR last year. The “Out” lists contain players that were on the final roster last year but are not on the 20-man roster now, and does not include players that are now on one of the other lists (eg. PUP, IR). Players on the Holdout, Physically Unable to Perform (PUP), or Injured Reserve (IR) lists may be moved to the active roster before the season begins.

Names for each list are in alphabetical order.

Buffalo Bandits

In: Ryan Benesch, Kevin Brownell, Troy Cordingley (head coach), Dave Pym (assistant coach), Joe Resetarits, Rory Smith, Andrew Watt
Out: Carter Bender, Nick Cotter, Jon Harasym, Mike Hominuck, Derek Hopcroft, Tracey Kelusky, Darris Kilgour (head coach), Mike McNamara, Luke Wiles
IR: Eric Penney
PUP:
Holdout:
Practice Squad: Colin Boucher, Jordan Critch, Hayden Smith, Mitch Wilde

 

Minnesota Swarm

In: East Division, Cameron Flint, Mike Hobbins, Jordan Houtby, Scott Jones, Jason Noble, Logan Schuss
Out: Dan Ball, Mitch Belisle, Ryan Benesch, Nic Bilic, Jay Card, Evan Kirk, Pat Smith, Corbyn Tao, Andrew Watt, West Division
IR:
PUP: Matt Gibson
Holdout:
Practice Squad:

 

Philadelphia Wings

In: Don Alton, Kyle Buchanan, Blane Harrison (head coach), Tracey Kelusky, Evan Kirk, Brian Megill, Michael Poppleton, John Ranagan, Pat Saunders, Garrett Thul, Ryan Ward
Out: Kevin Buchanan, Ned Crotty, Angus Dinley, Ethan Farrell, Jim Forsythe, Brandon Francis, Kyle Hartzell, Pat Heim, Steve Holmes, John McFadyen, Mike McLellan, Brandon Miller, Johnny Mouradian (head coach), Paul Rabil, Jeff Reynolds, Brian Teuber, Drew Westervelt
IR:
PUP: Rob Campbell, Brendan Mundorf, Max Siebald, Kyle Wailes
Holdout:
Practice Squad: Michael Diehl, Eric Hoffman, Bill McGlone

 

Rochester Knighthawks

In: Mac Allen, Mike Thompson
Out: Mike Accursi, Rory Glaves, Matt Hummel, Kyle Laverty, Jimmy Purves, Jon Sullivan
IR: Jamie Batson
PUP: Angus Goodleaf, Zac Reid
Holdout:

Practice Squad: Wenster Green, Mark White

 

Toronto Rock

In: Craig England, Dan Ladouceur (assistant coach), John Lovell (head coach), Blaine Manning (assistant coach), Ethan O’Connor
Out: Troy Cordingley (head coach), Scott Evans, Mike Hobbins, Blaine Manning, Brendan Thenhaus, Roger Vyse, Cam Woods
IR:
PUP:
Holdout:

Practice Squad: Dustin Dunn, Eric Law, Jeff Swift, Mike Lum-Walker

 

Calgary Roughnecks

In: Peter Dubenski, Cody Hawkins, Karsen Leung, Garrett McIntosh, Tor Reinholdt
Out: Jackson Decker, Nolan Heavenor, Aaron Pascas, Joe Resetarits
IR:
PUP: Travis Cornwall, Pete McFetridge, Scott Ranger
Holdout:
Practice Squad: Brett Baron, Scott Carnegie, Jake Hayes, Barclay Hickey

 

Colorado Mammoth

In: Cameron Mann, Bob Snider, Dillon Ward, Drew Westervelt
Out: Mac Allen, Joel Delgarno, Ilija Gajic, Jaeden Gastaldo, Ian Hawksbee, Ryan Hotaling, Dan Lewis, Richard Morgan, Jarrett Park, Gavin Prout, Rory Smith
IR:
PUP:
Holdout: Casey Powell
Practice Squad:

 

Edmonton Rush

In: Nic Bilic, Robert Church, Riley Loewen, Jimmy Quinlan (defensive coach), Adrian Sorichetti, Dane Stevens
Out: Mike Burke, Mike Cudmore, Jimmy Quinlan (player), Ryan Ward, Devan Wray (defensive coach)
IR:
PUP: Corey Small
Holdout:
Practice Squad: Mitch Bannister, Jarrett Toll, Alex Turner

 

Vancouver Stealth

In: Cody Bremner, Tyler Digby, Alex Gajic, Ilija Gajic, Brett Hickey, Sean Lundstrom
Out: Kyle Buchanan, Tim Henderson, Dean Hill, Athan Iannucci, Mitch Jones, Justin Pychel, Bob Snider
IR: Brett Bucktooth, Mitch McMichael
PUP:
Holdout:

Practice Squad: Josh Hawkins, Neil Tyacke, Chris Wardle, Nick Weiss

Presenting your 2014 Boston Blazers

Blazers

As I have done the previous two years, here’s what could be the tenth NLL team, made up entirely of players not currently on an NLL team. These are players who were released, are on practice rosters, or are otherwise unaccounted for on the final rosters released today. It does not include those on the IR, PUP, or holdout lists, or those who have retired. As the NLL teams had to do, I came up with 20 players, and because there were some pretty decent players cut from this list, I added a practice squad as well.

This is, quite honestly, a pretty damned good team. Sure, there are lots of veterans and players that might have lost a step, and they may not match up against the 2007 Knighthawks or 2005 Rock, but when you have teams barely over .500 winning the Championship, a team like this could do very well. In a ten team league, I doubt I’d be picking the Blazers to finish last and they could easily make the playoffs. It’s hard to believe that every player here is unemployed.

Forwards

Mike Accursi
Joel Delgarno
Scott Evans
Dean Hill
Derek Hopcroft
Athan Iannucci
Gavin Prout
Roger Vyse
Luke Wiles

Transition

Kyle Hartzell
Jarrett Park
Paul Rabil
Jarrett Toll

Defenders

Scott Carnegie
Rory Glaves
Ian Hawksbee
Mike McNamara
Jeff Reynolds

Goaltenders

Dan Lewis
Brandon Miller (technically still a franchise player in Philly, but he meets all the criteria above)

Practice Squad

Ryan Hotaling
Brendan Thenhaus (has appeared on both of the previous lists)
Aaron Pascas
Neil Tyacke

Preseason game report: Rochester 12 @ Toronto 6

Both the Toronto Rock and the Rochester Knighthawks are now 1-1 in the preseason after the defending champs defeated the Rock 12-6 at the TRAC on Saturday night. Each team was missing some players who will likely be in their opening-day lineups; Rochester was missing Mike Accursi and Craig Point while the Rock were down Garrett Billings, Stephen Leblanc, Bill Greer, and Sandy Chapman. I didn’t hear any announcement about one of the Knighthawk goalies being scratched, implying that they dressed all three, but Matt Vinc played the whole game and looked really good. Nick Rose played most of the game, though exactly how much I don’t know; I suppose I wasn’t paying enough attention. At one point the Rock switched goalies but Rosey came in while Zak Boychuk went out. I have no idea how long Boychuk had been in there. (According to the game report on torontorock.com, Boychuk was only in for a few seconds.)

The Knighthawks played a strong game, as you might expect from the two-time defending champions. Dan Dawson was his usual dominant self, and Cody Jamieson continues to make his presence felt. Jesse Gamble, for instance, felt his presence pretty well early in the game, as Jamieson simply devastated Gamble with a huge open-ice hit.  The Rock didn’t have a great game offensively, which should be obvious from the fact that they only scored 6 goals. There seemed to be a lot of passes around the perimeter but the whole “one guy draws a double-team allowing someone to get free in front of the net” just didn’t happen (perhaps because Billings is usually the guy who’s double-teamed), and the Knighthawk defense forced the Rock to take lots of low-percentage shots. Vinc was more than up to the task for those.

Nick Rose played well but not great. He made the simple stops, but I still think he gives up too many rebounds. I guess it’s no big deal if the Rock pick it up or Rose makes the second save as well, but when the other team scores on a shot they shouldn’t have had, that’s frustrating.

It was quite a physical game too. No actual fights, but there were the beginning of several and quite a lot of shoving that came to either nothing or coincident roughing minors. Paul Dawson had at least three penalties, and I was convinced that a Dawson / Craig England fight was inevitable. Or possibly Dawson / Damon Edwards. Or  Powless / Edwards. Or even Burton / Doyle. Doyle actually had two penalties in the game; I wonder if he’s changing his game to be more of an Andrew Suitor type: the captain AND the team penalty minute leader. Hmmmm….. Nah.

It’s wasn’t quite the rookie-fest that the last game was, though the Rock had about five in the lineup. Craig England looks like he might battle Scott Johnston for the enforcer role on the team, while Dustin Dunn and Ethan O’Connor played a lot of minutes on defense. The Rock look to be a quick transitioning team this year, with Gamble, Marshall, Edwards, Chapman, Dunn, and O’Connor all able to turn the ball around quickly. They even have a guy named Swift!

Speaking of Swift, he and Eric Law both had pretty solid games on offense, particularly Law. He scored a couple, and looked pretty comfortable as part of the offense. I didn’t think Brendan Thenhaus had a particularly strong game, and wouldn’t be surprised to see him dropped to the practice roster.

Other game notes:

  • In the second quarter, a Rock player took a shot that Ian Llord managed to save while standing in the crease – right in front of Matt Vinc. Nice save for a non-goalie (see below), but why was Llord even there – in the crease, standing directly in front of his own goalie?
  • Near the end of the game, the Rock had pulled Nick Rose for an extra attacker. After a turnover, Rose tried to get back to the net before the Knighthawks transition man but it was immediately clear that he had no chance to make it. Colin Doyle could and did, but did not make the save. You may remember that Doyle played goal for almost ten minutes of a Mann Cup game this past summer, when both Six Nations goalies were tossed from the game for using illegal equipment. From all accounts, he did a decent job.
  • There was a guy with a cowbell who would pound on it every time the Rock gained possession of the ball. (He was there last week too.) My eleven-year-old son looked up the first time he heard it and said “Wow, that’s annoying.” Yup.
  • After a shot hit either Vinc or the crossbar and went high in the air, Paul Dawson reached up and caught it on the way down. Josh Sanderson then smacked the ball out of Dawson’s stick, grabbed it, and took a quick shot. Didn’t score, but the fact that Sanderson, who’s not known for his defensive prowess, stripped the ball away from Paul Dawson, who’s probably ten inches taller, was pretty impressive.
  • Not a single goal from behind the net, though Doyle tried one. Good news for Rosey. Considering the length of Dan Dawson’s arms, that’s a bit surprising.
  • Despite there being a crazy huge snowstorm in southern Ontario, there was a pretty good crowd on hand. I drove in from Waterdown, and the QEW wasn’t great but wasn’t terrible. I don’t really need lane markers anyway.

Pre-season game report: Colorado 12 @ Toronto 13

Sorry Mammoth fans, I’ve now seen your team twice this weekend, while you won’t get to see them until the 28th. The Mammoth played their second pre-season game in as many nights at the TRAC, a 13-12 loss to the Toronto Rock. Similar to Friday night’s game against the Swarm, the Mammoth dressed a whole bunch of players, some of whom only played one half. The Rock did the same, though despite the Rock tweeting before the game that goalies Nick Rose and Zak Boychuk would play a half each, Boychuk played the whole game. After falling behind 4-1 in the first, the Rock stormed back with a bunch of transition goals to pull ahead, and then it was a tight game after that. In the end, the Rock prevailed 13-12.

If you were looking for hot rookie-on-rookie action, this was the weekend for it as most of the Rock veterans and a couple of Colorado’s were on the sidelines (or not in the building at all). For the Mammoth, Gavin Prout and Casey Powell were both MIA, as they were Friday night. John Grant played the first half only. For the Rock, all kinds of regulars were out, including Colin Doyle, Josh Sanderson, Kasey Beirnes, Sandy Chapman, Chris White, Scott Evans, Bill Greer, and Stephen Hoar. The Rock were looking at the kids and borderline players, checking out who might be included on the newly-reduced-in-size roster, who would end up on the practice roster, and who would be looking for a new team. For example, there was this Billings guy, could he finally get over the hump and realize the potential he’s shown for the past few years? You heard it here first: I think he’ll make it.

Credit where credit is due. I’ve ripped on Scott Johnston in this blog (and on twitter) a few times over the last couple of years for boneheaded plays he’s made. But I thought he played a hell of a game on Saturday. Not only did he score two goals, but he played strong defensively as well. Last year, I thought he looked too much like one of those fighters who happens to own a lacrosse stick, but if he can change his game the way Billy Dee Smith and Rory Smith both have (not that I’d put Johnston in the same category as those guys quite yet), I’d be happy to have him on my team.

Even though I said before that you can’t really do much team analysis in these pre-season games, you could certainly say that the Rock played a great transition game. At least 5 of their goals were directly on transition, and three of those occurred within about a minute and a half in the second quarter. As I mentioned, Zak Boychuk played the entire game, and did a great job. He made the majority of the saves he was expected to make, forcing the Mammoth to work hard for their goals, and made a few spectacular saves as well. He even managed to prevent a goal from behind the net, something Nick Rose hasn’t quite figured out how to do. That said, Drew Westervelt scored Colorado’s first goal of the game on a behind-the-net Air Gait-style shot. But when you have arms that are eight feet long, you can score goals from places most players cannot.

Once again, I have to apologize to the Mammoth fans. I was paying more attention to the Rock in this game and less to the Mammoth, so I can’t really tell you how the Mammoth players did. I couldn’t even pick who the best Mammoth player was. John Grant is usually a good choice, and he did have a goal and a few assists, but he only played half the game. I don’t remember a particular name jumping out at me like “Man, that guy’s everywhere tonight!” like Johnston did for the Rock. I’m going to semi-randomly pick someone as my Colorado player of the game: Cameron Mann, only because Mann is the perfect name for a Canadian box lacrosse player.

Game notes:

  • As I said in my game report, Friday night’s game had no music, no PA, no national anthems, no cheerleaders, and no replay. Saturday night’s game had all of these except the replay – the only one of that list that I really wanted (though the PA announcing of goals and penalties was a welcome addition). Maybe when MLSE decides to buy a new Jumbotron for the ACC (to rival the amazing new scoreboard in Denver), Jamie Dawick can grab the old one and put it up in the TRAC.
  • In the 4th quarter, Tye Belanger made an outstanding save while falling. The rebound went right to Stephen Leblanc, who deposited it over Belanger into the wide open net. I almost felt bad that Belanger got scored on immediately after (and as a result of) making such a great save. Almost.
  • It looked to me like Jesse Gamble might somehow have gotten faster during the off-season. I’m pretty sure that due to relativity, he actually aged less during the game than the other players. That’s science. Look it up.
  • Not trying to get anyone in trouble here, but Mammoth defender Ben McCullogh was wearing Nike shoes and Reebok pads.
  • At one point, someone got a penalty which was announced as “unnecessary roughness”. They moved the ball 15 yards, but nobody could figure out what do to about the first down. 
  • You know what that game needed? Less cowbell. Much, much less.
  • First person in the handshake lineup for the Rock? Nick Rose, who didn’t play.

Preseason game report: Minnesota 14 @ Colorado 10

Lacrosse season is back! The 2014 NLL pre-season began on Friday night, with the first inter-team scrimmage. The Minnesota Swarm took on the Colorado Mammoth at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville, Ontario. Being the lucky bastard fellow I am, I live about 30 km from the TRAC, so I attended this game with my son and several hundred other lacrosse fans. For an exhibition game in the Toronto area with no Toronto team involved, there was a pretty good turnout; the facility holds about 800 people in the stands, and it was mostly full. Of course, I imagine if they announced “everyone who is a relative or close personal friend of one of the players, please leave”, the place would empty out pretty quickly.

While this was an exhibition game and the final result really didn’t mean anything, most of the players knew they were being evaluated and so they were playing pretty hard. There were hits and penalties but no fights. It did look like a preseason game in some respects, in that we saw more dropped passes, passes made to nobody, passes missed because the receiver wasn’t expecting them, things like that. I even saw John Grant attempt an over-the-shoulder shot from in close and miss the net. (That was during the pre-game warmup; Grant did not play in the game.)

I don’t have a problem with music at lacrosse games, in fact I’ve been a supporter of it through the years. But the more games I see without it, the more I think I prefer the game without the music. As with all games at the TRAC, this was even more bare-bones than that – no music, no PA announcements of goals or penalties, no national anthems, no cheerleaders, no instant replay. Just pure lacrosse. It was great.

The Swarm decided to go with the 18-man lineup, as they will have to in the regular season, while the Mammoth seemingly had bucketloads of people dressed, some of whom only played one half or the other. Both teams swapped goalies – Tyler Carlson and Tye Belanger started and played the first half, and Zach Higgins and Dan Lewis played the second half. A few players on the Mammoth were notably absent: as I said Grant did not play though he was there, while neither Casey Powell nor Gavin Prout were anywhere to be seen. I was specifically looking for Prout, after the rumours of his release by the club. I also don’t remember seeing Jarrett Park or Mat MacLeod, though it’s possible I simply missed them. But just about everyone else on the Mammoth roster (listed here) played.

For the Swarm, it was harder to tell. Not only did they not have names on their (ugly gold practice) jerseys, but at least some of them were wearing the wrong number. I specifically tweeted the Swarm asking about a big impressive-looking guy wearing #19, who I figured was probably a rookie since nobody on the Swarm wore #19 last year. I thought this kid was looking pretty comfortable – was it maybe Logan Schuss? But he’s not that big, is he? Turns out it was Kiel Matisz, just wearing a different number. (Matisz is 6’5″, Schuss is 6’0″.) I didn’t see #98 or #20 out there – did Callum Crawford and Andrew Suitor actually play? I have no idea. Obviously since the Swarm only dressed 18, there were a few people left out, and it’s not like Crawford or Suitor will have trouble making the team. I imagine they’ll be playing tonight in their game against Rochester while others sit out.

It’s hard to talk about how the teams looked as a whole since it was pre-season. Were the Swarm the better team? How did the Mammoth defense look? Who’s going to take over for Ryan Benesch on the Swarm’s left side? Each team was trying out different players and different line pairings and different offensive and defensive strategies, so such an analysis would be meaningless. Both teams were missing some top players (I think that’s true for the Swarm, anyway), so a crippled Swarm team defeated a crippled Mammoth team.

Some other game notes:

  • Mammoth forward (and former Bandit) Carter Bender was wearing a black helmet with orange on it. I imagine they’ll get him a new one if he makes the team.
  • Bob Snider had a few of the signature Snider face-off wins (simply grab the ball with the back of your stick as if the other guy isn’t there), but Jordan MacIntosh certainly gave him some trouble on most of them.
  • Drew Westervelt looked pretty good for the Mammoth, though he only played the first half. It was amusing to see the 6’5″ Westervelt next to the 5’8″ Cody McMahon.
  • Joey Cupido looked pretty quick on transition – he had at least one breakaway chance, and a couple of other times sped up the floor, leaving the Swarm people covering him in the dust.
  • Dan Lewis looks too skinny to play pro lacrosse, let alone be a goalie. But he was pretty effective last night, looking to make the team ahead of draft pick Dillon Ward.
  • All four goalies played very well. Each one of them made some pretty impressive saves, though it was hard to tell if they were close to mid-season form or if the shooters were just not.
  • When there’s no music and the ball hits the goalie in the chest, you can really hear how hard it hits. Props.