This past weekend was the 20th lowest-scoring weekend (i.e. average goals per game) in the history of the league, out of weekends that featured 3 or more games. 20th doesn’t sound like a big deal, but there have been 396 weekends that featured 3 or more games, and 95% of them were higher scoring.
But if you exclude the 18-17 game on Sunday, it jumps to the 4th lowest-scoring. This actually tells you nothing other than that if you change the stats, the stats change.
Let’s see what happened in week 9.
Six games in one day!
See also “Not Awesome”
The outdoor league
I don’t know if San Diego play-by-play guy Cooper Perkins read my PLL article from last week or not, but he mentioned the same “controversy” in the San Diego broadcast. I forget who it was but he was talking about a player who played in both leagues and said that in addition to the NLL, he also “plays in the outdoor league. That’s what it’s called, right? The outdoor league?” Analyst Nick Ossello, who also played in both leagues, didn’t comment but Cooper gets a DiCaprio-esque glass raising from me.
Buffalo vs. New York
This was a really exciting game, particularly the second half. The undefeated Bandits headed to New York to face the 1-4 Riptide. Recipe for a blowout, right? Not this time. Buffalo led by as much as five in the second and then four in the third, but New York scored seven straight to take a three-goal lead halfway through the fourth. The Bandits scored three goals within 3½ minutes to tie it up and then Chris Cloutier scored the winner in overtime.
Matt Vinc had an uncharacteristically bad game while the New York offense was potent, particularly on the power play (6 PP goals). New York was down 5-on-3 at one point and kept Buffalo at bay for an entire 30 second possession. They prevented the Bandits from getting any decent looks, and then Steven Orleman (best goalie flow in the league) saved the shots that made it through. Given the Bandits firepower up front, I was impressed. I believe Buffalo did score on their second possession of that power play but I was impressed anyway.
That said, both teams took a lot of unnecessary penalties. The Bandits took two different minors at the same time TWICE and the Riptide did it once as well. Add in couple of penalties called shortly after another penalty, and I counted at least four different 5-on-3s in the game, one of which occurred with less than two minutes left in the game. There was also a bit of a scrum right at the end of the fourth or possibly in OT where Tehoka Nanticoke was being aggressive, after the whistle, with some New York defender. He didn’t get a penalty, but it was just about the worst time you could possibly take a useless penalty so he’s lucky.
The Bandits didn’t really play a great game despite the 18 goals scored and the Riptide played very well. More importantly, because they kept it so close against arguably the best team in the league right now, that game will have given the Riptide more confidence which can only help them going forward.
After scoring 11 twice, 10 twice, and a Saskatchewan record low 5 a couple of weeks ago, the Rush finally broke out with 16 goals. The goals came from nine different goal scorers including three defenders, and their top four (Shattler, Church, Keenan, and Matthews) had 7, 7, 7, and 6 points respectively. Sounds like a pretty well-balanced offense. We all knew the Rush was capable and that it would eventually happen so it isn’t that surprising. Perhaps what’s surprising is that it took six games to do it.
Six games in one day!
Mostly at the same time, so we could only watch one at a time. Am I the only NLL fan who doesn’t fire up a TV as well as multiple laptops and tablets and phones to watch all the games simultaneously? I can’t follow more than one at a time. But because of that and because you can’t watch replays on TSN.ca, I missed the Philly/Georgia, Colorado/Vancouver, Sask/Panther City games entirely. A couple Friday night (one east, one west), a couple Saturday night, and a couple Sunday afternoon/evening would be ideal for me.
Feeds on TSN.ca
The Toronto/Rochester game was on TV, so I started with that. At halftime, I tried to switch to the Philly / Georgia game on my laptop but the feed was terrible. I’d see a couple of seconds of action and then it would stop (the dreaded red circle), then start again. Repeat that continually and you have an unwatchable mess.
After the Rock game was over, I tried watching Halifax/Albany but that was the same as Philly for a while. It soon got fixed and the rest of it was fine. After that game ended, there were three games going on at the same time but I couldn’t watch any of them on my laptop. I just kept getting “temporarily unavailable”. A few people on twitter suggested using the mobile app instead, and I had better luck there. I was able to watch the Roughnecks / Seals game on my 10″ tablet though the 58″ TV downstairs would have been a lot nicer.
I gave the league a pass or two earlier in the season because… it was early in the season. Now we’re nine weeks in. I get that technology doesn’t always co-operate, but this many problems in one day just shouldn’t happen by this point.
Georgia and Calgary offense
After taking a 6-2 lead in the first half, Georgia managed a single goal in the entire second half plus 6½ minutes of overtime. On a weekend where literally half the teams in the league didn’t reach ten goals, it seems unfair to single out the Roughnecks offense as being unproductive when they did score ten, but they were also held to a single goal in the second half of their game. To be fair this was their first game in six weeks, but it seems that they haven’t quite figured out their offense after the offseason offensive shakeup. Both teams lost three of their top six scorers from last season: the Roughnecks are without Dane Dobbie, Dan Taylor, and Rhys Duch while Georgia lost Randy Staats, Miles Thompson, and Zed Williams. Now, both teams are squarely in the middle of the league in terms of scoring so maybe we’ll just chalk that up to a couple of bad games.