Archive for December, 2013

Wings 17 Bandits 13

Posted: December 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Philadelphia Wings opened the 2014 season and the Blane Harrison era with a convincing road victory, running over the Buffalo Bandits by a score of 17-13 before 13,564 at First Niagara Center.

Jordan Hall led the game with five goals and two assists, including a run of four straight goals in a 5:12 span in the second quarter, earning him first star honors.

“It’s a nice start,” said Philadelphia head coach Blaine Harrison, making his debut behind the Wings bench. “They’re a solid team and we wanted to get out to a fast start [this season].”

Former Bandit Tracey Kelusky made Buffalo pay for his off-season release, scoring six points (2+4) and earning second star in his first action as a Wing.

“The boys were really happy that [Kelusky] was able to come back and contribute the way he did,” Harrison said.

Another Philadelphia newcomer, goalkeeper Evan Kirk was stellar in his first appearance, making 39 saves on 52 shots.

On the other end, Bandits starting goaltender Anthony Cosmo looked uncomfortable from the outset, allowing 13 goals on 51 shots before being replaced in the third quarter by Kurtis Wagar. Cosmo allowed four goals on only 11 shots in the third quarter before head coach Troy Cordingley finally pulled the plug.

It was also Cordingley’s first game as Bandits head coach and it did not go as he had drawn it up.

“We were taught a lesson. We were out-worked. We were out-played. We were out-willed,” Cordingley plainly stated. “Our talk was cheap; talk doesn’t win games.”

Ryan Benesch was impressive in his Bandits debut, scoring 2 goals and adding 1 assist, earning him third star honors.

Benesch appeared uninterested in discussing his own individual performance.

“Individual stats mean nothing,” he said. “This is a team game. We came out flat and we lost that game as a team. There’s no other way to put it.”

There were scant moments when the Bandits seemed to be in sync, but for the majority of the game the team looked outmatched.

“The [passing] was way off,” Cordingley said. “We had a plan and we didn’t stick to the plan; not even in the first quarter – we were out of it. We had guys on different pages.

“We looked like we played together for the first time tonight.”

Philadelphia has now won its last two opening games, both against Buffalo, after they had lost the previous four. They last one an opener on the road in 2006, defeating Colorado 13-11.

The first half saw the teams trading goals, before Hall went his four-goal run.

Undisciplined play from the Bandits, including three penalties in a 22 second span resulted in a Philadelphia penalty shot, which Hall converted for his fourth goal of the half.

Hall was the difference maker on offense for the Wings in a game he’ll not soon forget.

“I think I’ve only got one game in the NLL where I’ve got four goals,” Hall said of his five-goal performance. “I was getting the ball from the right side, which is always nice. Especially when playing with a bunch of new guys like [Ward], Kelusky and [Kevin] Crowley.”

Hall’s new head coach was impressed with what he saw from his veteran forward.

“Jordan [Hall] has been an interesting individual,” Harrison said. “He’s a tremendous talent, I was [there] when we drafted him first overall a number of years ago, I’ve always enjoyed his game. He’s a consummate leader.”

The game marked the first time in NLL history that four former first-overall picks suited up for the same team (Hall, Kelusky, Brodie Merrill and Crowley).

It seemed the Wings could run away with the game early, leading 9-4 late in the first half, but penalty trouble soon bit them, giving the Bandits a two-man advantage of their own.

Buffalo converted on both power plays, followed by an outstanding individual effort from second-year player Kevin Brownell to pull within two at halftime.

“I thought Kevin was our best player tonight,” Cordingley said. “I was real happy with his game tonight.”

The Wings pulled away in the second half, as Cosmo struggled to stop Philadelphia’s outside shots.

Buffalo scored some late goals to make it appear a bit closer than it was.

“We were totally out worked tonight; it wasn’t even close,” Cordingley said. “We’re going to be busy [over the next two weeks], we’ve got lots of work to do. We’ve got to get guys on the same page here, because if not, there are going to be a few guys watching from the crowd.”

For Philadelphia, the challenge will be to continue their strong play as the early season moves on.

“Now we’re back to square one, we’ve got to do it again in a couple weeks,” Harrison said.

Knighthawks 8 Swarm 6

Posted: December 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

From NLL.com

The two-time defending National Lacrosse League champion Rochester Knighthawks shut down the Minnesota Swarm with a 8-6 home win at Blue Cross Arena to open the 2014 NLL season on Saturday night.

Matt Vinc, the reigning Goaltender of the Year, limited the young Swarm offense to six goals – the fewest Minnesota has scored in a regular season game since a 13-6 loss to Toronto on March 23, 2007. Vinc finished with 45 saves on 51 shots, good enough for a .882 save percentage.

“Tonight was a big one for the defense and ‘Vno,’” Joel McCready said. “They played like crazy. ‘Vno’ stood on his head, and our defense just put up a wall in the second half. Those guys, they get all of the credit for this win.”

“I’m kind of spoiled in regard with our top defense,” Vinc said. “They give us a chance to win every night. I think today they gave me an opportunity to see the ball early and really feel comfortable. The last five minutes, the offense really took off and just us some momentum and we never looked back.”

On an offense with the likes of Dan Dawson and Cody Jamieson, it was McCready who unexpectedly provided the momentum swing the Knighthawks needed to come from behind. Trailing 6-5 midway through the fourth, he scored two consecutive goals 38 seconds apart to put Rochester up by one. He also earned three assists on the night, finishing with five points, second only to Dawson’s six (2+4).

McCready, a transition player, found himself taking more shifts on offense due to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, and with both Craig Point and Cory Vitarelli scratched for the contest. With fewer players on the bench, McCready’s position essentially became forward rather than pushing the ball up the floor from the backend.

“Every game, I’m not sure where I am going to play. Tonight they said I’d play a bit more out the front door,” McCready said. “Just wherever they want me I have to fit in. Wherever they need me, I’m going to work my hardest; I’ll play in net if they ask me to.”

On a night neither offense played to its potential, Minnesota outshot Rochester 51-34, yet was unable to find its groove. The third quarter was the lone bright spot for the Swarm’s offense, scoring three unanswered goals to climb ahead 5-4. Callum Crawford, Shayne Jackson and Tyler Hass each scored once in the third and it looked like, at least for a moment, Minnesota may pull away.

“If you look statically, if you keep a team below 10, you typically get the win,” Minnesota head coach Joe Sullivan said. “You come into Rochester and you keep Rochester, one of the more dynamic offenses, to eight goals, and you don’t get the win. There’s problems other places.

“He [Vinc] is a big guy that plays well, and their defense plays with that. You need to turn the corner and come down the pipe at him, which is basically straight on, and get that 50/50 by going left or right. We didn’t make him have to guess tonight. We shot to him; we played to his strength.”

Rochester took a 2-0 lead in the first quarter while Vinc pitched a shutout. Johnny Powless in gathered a loose ball along the crease and fired it past Swarm goaltender Tyler Carslon for the first goal of the game at 8:07. Less than two minutes later, Joe Walters fired a bounce shot from the outside to take a two-goal advantage.

Up 3-1 in the second quarter, Dawson scored his first of two goals. Slicing through the middle of the defense, he took a quick pass from McCready and dove to avoid the crease to gain a 4-1 lead. Rookie Logan Schuss closed the first half with his first career goal, cutting the deficit to two.

After the Swarm took a 5-4 lead in the third, Dawson scored diving goal across the crease in similar fashion to the one that earned him TSN’s top play in the NLL from 2013. Hass’s second regained the lead for the Swarm before McCready scored the tying and game-winning pair.

Both teams have a bye week next weekend before returning to action on Jan. 11. For the back-to-back champions, earning the “W” in Week 1 is a positive step to becoming the first team in NLL history to win three in a row.

“That probably wasn’t our prettiest game, but again, we found a way to win,” Vinc said. “This year, we need to play well and consistent throughout the full year, and we can’t be going into the playoffs at 7-9 or 8-8 because that probably won’t get you in. We need to be a more consistent team from start to finish, and today was a good start to that.”

Edmonton 13 Colorado 10

Posted: December 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

From NLL.com

The Edmonton Rush defeated the Colorado Mammoth with a nail-biting 13-10 road win at Pepsi Center on Saturday night to kick off the 2014 NLL season.

Edmonton earned their first win in a season opener since 2007 after holding onto a late Colorado charge as the Mammoth had pulled within one goal with two minutes left in the fourth quarter.

The Rush capitalized on six goals in the second quarter and added three more to start the second half, while holding the Mammoth to three total scores in that 30-minute span.

“We were a little sluggish coming out of the gate,” Edmonton general manager and head coach Derek Keenan said. “I think we were a bit tentative and a bit rusty there…our defense kind of got us going, created some turnovers and we got running the floor pretty well and we started executing our offense pretty good…all in all you come in here the first week, it’s nice to get a win.”

It did not take long for Colorado to get on the board, as Jamie Lincoln put the Mammoth up 1-0 just 36 seconds into the game. The home team would add three more in the opening frame to take a 4-2 advantage, but it would be all Edmonton in the following 15 minutes. Zack Greer scored his first of the night 39 seconds into the second quarter, the first of six in that quarter for the Rush to give the road team a 8-6 lead going into the half.

“All the good things we did to get to 4-1 we forgot and continued to do it,” Mammoth head coach Bob Hamley commented. “They made some adjustments, their defense is good and Bold settled down a bit. We got to be better through that mid section for sure.”

Much like last season, Colorado seemed to appear flat and off queue coming out of the locker room. The Rush capped off a six goal run with three more in the third quarter before John Grant Jr. broke the scoring drought for the home team, netting the first goal for Colorado in over 20 minutes of game time. The Mammoth pulled within one goal late in the fourth, but a pair of critical mistakes resulted in two quick Rush scores to silence the rallying home crowd.

“It’s frustrating, we were all ready to go tonight, and nerves got the best of us there in the second quarter on that run,” said Mammoth forward Adam Jones. “That seems to be something that we got to work on.”

Curtis Knight (3g, 3a), Cory Conway (2g, 3a) and Greer (3g, 2a) led the charge for Edmonton, while Jones (4g, 2a) and Grant (3g, 1a) highlighted the Colorado offense.

“Sometimes you have more chances than other games, it seemed like tonight they were going in…I’m glad I was able to contribute and hope to continue that,” Curtis chimed.

Aaron Bold saved 30 of 40 in net for Edmonton in the win. On the opposite end Tye Belanger posted 15 saves on 26 shots before being relieved by rookie Dillon Ward late in the third quarter. Ward, the third overall selection in this year’s Entry Draft, made 10 saves on 12 shots faced in relief for Belanger.

“I’m disappointed, we had a good training camp and thought they were ready,” Hamley added. “I thought we made some real bad mental mistakes. When the lights are turned on you got to be better, and it’s really disappointing. We’ll have to regroup and figure it out.”

Edmonton will have a one-week rest before hosting Colorado in their second of four regular season matchups this season on January 11. The Mammoth meanwhile will regroup before playing host to the Vancouver Stealth on January 4.

Crystal Ball Week One

Posted: December 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

Buffalo over Philly

Rochester over Minnesota

Edmonton over Colorado

NLL East Division Prediction

Posted: December 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

1.Minnesota
2.Rochester
3.Buffalo
4.Toronto
5.Philadelphia

NLL West Division Prediction

Posted: December 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

1. Calgary
2. Edmonton
3. Vancouver
4. Colorado

Wings name Captains

Posted: December 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

Brodie Merrill – Captain

Brett Manney – Assistant Captain

Jordan Hall – Assistant Captain

Rock 12 Wings 9

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

Wings finish 0-3 in the preseason. Looks to be a long season in Wingsland. Games start for real next Saturday at Buffalo.

Round 2 Pick 12 AJ Masson – Released (Signed by Toronto.)
Round 2 Pick 18 James Delaney – Released
Round 3 Pick 19 Tucker Durkin – Placed on inactive draft list.
Round 4 Pick 33 Don Alton – Backup Goaltender (until or if Miller signs.)
Round 6 Pick 50 Rob Pannell -Placed on inactive Draft List

Johnny and staff really swung and missed on this class. Even with reduced roster sizes. Plus americans who are more interested in Team USA tryouts. Got to wonder if the team regrets emptying the draft cupboard for the foreseeable future. Due to trades.

Wings roster moves

Posted: December 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

PHILADELPHIA WINGS: have signed Kyle Sweeney to a one year agreement and have placed him on the Active Roster.

PHILADELPHIA WINGS: have released Luke Wiles.

PHILADELPHIA WINGS: have released Eric Hoffman.