So. Much. Awesome.
Ryan Lee returns
I talked last week about season-ending injuries and how they suck, but having a player returning from such an injury is definitely awesome. Ryan Lee made his 2023 debut for the Mammoth on Friday night, and immediately made his presence felt. Lee led the Mammoth in points with a pair of goals and eight assists. He took 13 shots and one of his goals was a dive across the crease which likely made everyone in the building wince. Not only did he score but he got up again with no ill effects. It’s nice to see the Mammoth get some good injury-related news for a change. That said, Rhys Duch has missed the last two games and Eli McLaughlin was put on the IR, but I don’t know for how long. The lacrosse gods giveth, and the lacrosse gods taketh away.
Fraser and Byrne return
They didn’t play this weekend, but the Bandits got some good news as well – Chase Fraser was signed to a contract and Josh Byrne was moved to the active roster from the IR, so they should both be good to go next weekend. The Bandits only played one game without Byrne and won it, though just barely. But his return changes Bandits back from a “very good” offensive team to a “holy crap” offensive team, and the addition of fan-favourite Fraser will make playing the Bandits even tougher. The Bandits vs. Thunderbirds games next weekend and the one after that should be very entertaining.
Chase and Josh
Panther City’s Nick Damude capitalized on an empty Mammoth net in the third quarter and buried the floor-length shot. It was the first goalie goal in the NLL in 2023, and the first since March of last year, when Panther City’s Nick Damude capitalized on an empty Mammoth net in the fourth quarter and buried the floor-length shot. Nick Rose scored one in 2016 and two in 2017, then Doug Jamieson had one in 2019, and Damude had the last two, which means that five of the last six goalie goals in the NLL were scored by guys named Nick. I think retired goalies Nick Patterson and Nick Schroeder just became top-tier free agents. Stats don’t lie.
Goaltending in overtime
The overtime game in Rochester on Saturday was the second-longest game in NLL history. Both defenses sparkled in the extra period but Rylan Hartley and Steve Orleman were both unbelievable. They both made save after save after save (though their posts and crossbars deserve a little credit too), including at least one full breakaway and a couple of one-on-ones. The game was almost non-stop for over fourteen minutes (I learned during this game that there are no TV timeouts in overtime), and it was back and forth the whole time. I imagine both teams were completely gassed by the time Brad Gillies got another full breakaway and was finally able to put one by Orleman. It sucks that one of those two goalies had to lose, but damn, was that game fun to watch.
NLL Name Pronunciation Guide
I write this guide every year. It contains all of the difficult-to-pronounce names of players, coaches, broadcasters, etc. in the NLL. Honestly, it actually contains some easy-to-pronounce-but-people-get-them-wrong-anyway names too. This year I thought it might be helpful for broadcasters to have a PDF version, so I created that. Then after working on nllstats.com for the last six months or so, I thought I should create an HTML version as well, so I did that. Then my wife suggested that it might be helpful to be able to generate a PDF for a specific game, containing just the names for the two teams in that game on a single page. I did that too, though it’s just an HTML page that you can print, rather than a PDF. Going forward, I may just keep the HTML version current rather than put it all in a blog post that may become outdated as players move and new rookies come into the league.
Georgia and Vancouver win big
We all knew that the Georgia Swarm would eventually break their winless streak; they’re likely not Championship contenders this season, but they’re not that bad, so their record doesn’t really reflect their abilities. Over the last couple of seasons, we’ve seen a number of rookie goaltenders put together fantastic games, and this week was Brett Dobson’s turn. Dobson only allowed four Albany goals, and amazingly, he allowed zero even strength goals. This was the first game in history where 100% of a team’s goals were on the power play. Dobson only faced 36 shots but only allowing four goals in an NLL game is an outstanding achievement that not many goalies have done (19 goalies have done it, but Dobson is the first rookie), so kudos to Dobson on a very impressive career first win.
The Vancouver Warriors don’t care if we’ve given up on them. They haven’t given up on themselves. They have to know that their playoff hopes are slim at best, but that didn’t stop them from playing their best game of the season on Saturday night. The Saskatchewan Rush are not the powerhouse Rush we saw four or five years ago, but they are still a very good team, so beating such a division rival has to be a big boost for the Warriors’ confidence. Former Rush goalie Aaron Bold played very well for the Warriors, and they got a very balanced scoring attack with hat-tricks from four different players and additional goals from three others. Keegan Bal picked up 8 assists, and Shawn Evans was Shawn Evans – scoring goals, picking up assists, and totally pissing off the opposing defenders. Evans is like one of those pests who gets under the skin of the opposing team, which allows the more skilled players to score goals. Except that he is one of the more skilled players, so he does both jobs. And like him or not, you can’t argue that when he’s on his game, he gives his team a fighting chance to win. That’s the Shawn Evans the Warriors wanted to see when they signed him, and that’s what they got on Saturday.
TSN streaming working again
After complaining last week and the week before about TSN streaming not working and getting no response from TSN, this week was the total opposite. I got several responses from TSN, one giving me some generic suggestions (update browser, clear cache, try a different browser/machine, etc.), and a second asking more details about my particular situation. No further solutions were suggested, but then on Friday night I gave it a try and it worked. Streaming worked perfectly on Friday and Saturday, so whatever problem they had was solved. Then on Sunday morning I received a third email saying they were going to escalate my case. I don’t know if they fixed it or something I did fixed it, but either way it’s all good now.
I didn’t watch this game so I can’t offer opinions on what went so wrong for Albany, but from what head coach Glenn Clark said after the game, it sounds like “everything”. And yes, Georgia is a better team than their record would indicate. But zero even strength goals and only four goals total against a winless team with a rookie goalie is, well, not awesome.
albany has an injury bug and a rebuild. no jamiesen in goal and it showed.