Compiled and Written by “Muffler” Mike Kostiuk
LaxPhilly- Part of the Edge of Philly Sports Network
The Albany FireWolves hosted the Saskatchewan Rush at the MVP Arena in Albany on Saturday.
Using a strong transition game, the FireWolves jumped out to an early lead and hardly looked back in a 10-5 victory
Albany improves to 1-2 with their first win in the Capitol Region, while the Rush fall to 1-3. The franchise has now won five of the last six meetings against Saskatchewan, dating back to the 2016 season.
Let’s Get Started
I wasn’t joking above when I said “early lead”. Just 12 seconds in, Jackson Nishimura (1g) picked up a rebounded shot from Tony Malcom and beat Rush goaltender Adam Shute for a 1-0 lead.
Less than 30 seconds after that, Joe Resetarits (2g, 1a) scored to make it 2-0. Albany utilized the speed and strength of their transition game right from the opening whistle, keeping the normally opportunistic Rush transition players on their heels.
Things got worse for Shute when Reilly O’Connor (1g, 1a) went top cheese from long range at the 6:10 mark to increase the lead to 3-0.
Later in the quarter, a bizarre moment saw Rush defender Holden Garlent deliberately try to impede FireWolves forward Jordan Durston’s path to the bench during a possession change.
In response, Durston grabbed Garlent from behind and threw him to the floor, earning both players dead-ball infractions.
A subsequent bench minor on Albany for illegal substitution led to a nifty quick-stick power play goal by Rush forward Dan Lintner at 13:35 to end the quarter with Albany leading 3-1.
The second quarter began with Ryan Benesch (2g; 2:38), acquired from Panther City in a trade last week, extending the FireWolves’ lead to 4-1. Determined to keep pace in more ways than one, the Rush began to chip into the deficit. Mark Matthews (1g, 2a) beat Albany goalie Doug Jamieson 20 seconds later, then Robert Church (3g) scored the first of his hat-trick goals in transition at 4:55 to make it 4-3 Albany at halftime.
The frenetic transition pace continued into the second half, despite yielding no change in score for the first seven minutes.
At 7:12, Church knotted the game at 4 with his second goal of the night. Approximately two minutes later, the FireWolves landed the ol’ 1-2 punch: Andrew Kew (2g, 1a) from Jacob Ruest (2a) and Durston (1a) at 9:37, then Joe Nardella (1g, 1a) unassisted off a faceoff win eight seconds later.
Church completed his hat trick with a power-play goal at 12:18, assisted by Marshall Powless (2a) and Matthews to narrow the margin to 6-5.
We Wind It Down
Any worries the fans had that a repeat of Week 1’s last-minute opponent heroics was imminent were calmed by a 4-goal FireWolves run to close the game.
Benesch (4:42) and Resetarits (6:31) each netted their second goal of the evening to increase the lead to 8-5.
Later, Matthews and Albany captain Brett Manney scuffled and got sent to the box for matching roughing penalties (Matthews earned a double-minor, appearing rather animated while in the box).
Kew via Malcom (2a) on the ensuing power play at 13:21 extended the lead to four.
The final microcosm of Saskatchewan’s frustrating night came when they incurred a bench minor for illegal substitution while trying to pull Shute for an extra attacker to get back in the game.
That penalty occurred in the last two minutes of the game, which meant Albany was awarded a penalty shot per Rule 56.8.
The result? Saskatchewan 2019 first-round draft pick Tanner Thomson, now on the Firewolves, scored his first NLL career goal at 14:02 to round out the win.
3 Stars of the Game
1st Star: Joe Nardella (14 of 16 on faceoffs, game-high 9 Loose Balls)
2nd Star: Doug Jamieson (31 saves, 0.861 SV %)
3rd Star: Robert Church
Other Stats of Note
Power Play: SASK 2 of 6; ALB 1 of 4
Loose Balls: SASK 42, ALB 56
Shute (SASK): 37 saves
John LaFontaine (ALB): 4 Caused Turnovers.
“That team has been the class of the league,” Albany coach Glenn Clark said of Saskatchewan. “You earn everything against them. You have to be consistent and we were.”
Kevin has followed and promoted the game of lacrosse since May 19, 1974.
The same day the Philadelphia Flyers won the Cup, the Philadelphia Wings were introduced to Neibauer and Philadelphia.
Kevin has covered many sports, including baseball, football, basketball, and.. lacrosse. A former licensed football referee and baseball umpire, Kevin brings a unique insight to his game coverage.
A published writer in JustHockey Magazine, Kevin covered the American Hockey League as well as a monthly story on a pugilist where Kevin used the pen name, The Rink Rat. Neibauer turned his attentions to lacrosse for a few years and does his part, whether podcasting or writing to grow the game. Kevin branched out to his roots and currently provides insight for all Philadelphia teams for Edge of Philly as well as his full-time duties with LaxPhilly.