“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk
Lax Philly – A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network
The Albany FireWolves hosted the New York Riptide at MVP Arena Saturday night. The FireWolves were looking to solidify a spot in the playoffs, while the Riptide were looking to play spoiler. With a fully healthy defense performing the way they were expected to all season, the FireWolves held New York to just five goals over the final three quarters. A 17-9 victory, coupled with Philadelphia’s win over Georgia, gives Albany the #4 seed in the East Division. The FireWolves will play the Buffalo Bandits in the first round of the playoffs next week.
Callum Crawford (1g, 2a) opened the scoring, beating Albany netminder Doug Jamieson at 1:32. Andrew Kew (5g, 2a; 3:46) tied the game at 1 before New York went on a 3-1 run. Jeff Teat (1g, 4a; 4:44), Dan Lomas (3g; 8:34) and Kieran McArdle (1g; 13:25) found twine, while Reilly O’Connor (2g, 4a; 10:20) countered for Albany.
Larson Sundown (1g) extended the Riptide’s lead to 5-2 just 54 seconds into the second quarter. The FireWolves would respond with a three-goal run, courtesy of O’Connor’s second (1:10) and a pair from Joe Resetarits (5g, 6a) at 2:03 (power play) and 4:22. Tyler Digby (1g, 1a; 13:23) would add a shorthanded marker for New York, but Charlie Kitchen (1g, 1a) would send the game to halftime tied at 6 after a highlight-reel behind the back goal with just 3 seconds left on the clock.
Full Power Pack
The momentum from Kitchen’s buzzer beater steamrolled through the break and into the second half, as Albany would reel off ten unanswered goals in total. Nick Chaykowsky (1g, 1a; 3:09) struck in transition to start the third quarter. Kew followed with three in a row (4:05; 5:47; 8:43 power play), then Ryan Benesch (2g, 5a; 10:46) added a power play goal before Kew picked up his fifth of the night (11:42) to make it 12-6 entering the final frame.
Resetarits’ hat trick goal (0:21), Adam Bomberry’s first of the year (3:21), and Resetarits’ fourth (4:51) pushed the lead to 15-6. Both starting goaltenders were pulled at that point, with the outcome having been clearly established. Lomas finally ended the run with his second at 9:08, then added his hat trick goal at 11:02. In between, Resetarits (10:02) tallied his fifth of the night on a power play. Benesch (11:55) would add another before Riptide defender Darryl Robertson (13:52) closed out the scoring.
Making A Case For MVP
Making what should be a strong and valid case for league MVP honors, Resetarits ends the regular season with 111 points, the highest single-season point total ever recorded by an American-born player. His 47 goals tied Georgia’s Lyle Thompson and Toronto’s Tom Schreiber for the league lead, his 64 assists tied for 5th in the league, and only Buffalo’s Dhane Smith (135) and Colorado’s Ryan Lee (119) scored more points this season. It’s more than likely that without both his tangible and intangible contributions, half of the FireWolves’ wins this year would instead be losses, putting them in last place in the league.
3 Stars of the Game
- 1st Star: Resetarits
- 2nd Star: Kew
- 3rd Star: Jamieson (23 saves on 29 shots)
Other Stats of Note
- Power Play: NY 0 for 1; ALB 4 for 5
- Jay Thorimbert (NY): 11 of 30 on faceoffs
- Adam Bomberry/Joe Nardella (ALB): 8 loose balls each (led all players)
- Mike Byrne (ALB): 3 caused turnovers
- Teat (NY) finishes his rookie season with 71 assists and 108 points; both totals represent new NLL rookie records, and are more impressive when considering he only played 16 games.
- Steven Orleman (NY) finishes the season with 656 total saves, also a new rookie record.
“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk was formally introduced to box lacrosse when he attended a New England Black Wolves game on a whim in 2016. Instantly hooked with the game, he has since become an avid follower of the National Lacrosse League. Following the postponement of the 2019-2020 NLL season, Lax Philly founders Kevin Neibauer and Gary Groob offered Muffler the chance to share his wealth of statistical knowledge and unique insights with the lacrosse community at large. He cheerfully accepted, and currently serves as Lax Philly’s correspondent for both the Albany FireWolves and New York Riptide.