Lacrosse Editorial – The National Lacrosse League (NLL) Rings In The New Year With Style

After a few weeks off for the holidays, and a pause because of the Omicron variant, the NLL treated us to some absolutely spectacular games this past weekend.

There was something for everyone:

  • If you liked low scoring, defensive battles…You got it!
  • If you liked high scoring shootouts…You got it!
  • If you liked old style heated rivalry, bruising, rough games…You got it! 
  • Also highlight reel goals, grinding goals, and big saves…You were treated all weekend long!

Other Story Lines:

Every Child Matters:

The NLL paid tribute to Indigenous children and the sport’s connection to Indigenous culture with a special “Every Child Matters” initiative this past weekend.

As part of the recently launched NLL Unites, the league’s first-ever Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, each of the 12 teams wore specially designed orange “Every Child Matters” warmup shirts.

“This presents an opportunity for the NLL, its teams and its players to unify and show our commitment to educating our fans about their shared commitment to recognizing the history of residential and boarding schools, and supporting Indigenous causes,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz in the press release. “We are proud to include this program in NLL Unites as another initiative in our continued education of the Indigenous culture and of the people who created the great game of lacrosse.”

Tucker Out Lymphoma:

This past weekend also had the Buffalo Bandits charity game… “Tucker Out Lymphoma”.  This yearly event honors the life of Tucker Williams, son of former Bandit player Shawn Williams.  Tucker lost his battle with Burkitt’s Lymphoma back in 2014. This year’s game was against their long time rival, the Toronto Rock.  Both teams wore jerseys and shorts to commemorate the occasion.  Both team’s uniforms were auctioned online to help raise funds for the cause.  Before the game, the teams gathered at centre floor for a group picture in their “Tucker” uniforms.

Exceptional Performances:

The Colorado Mammoth could’ve thrown in the towel when they were down 7-0, and 9-2 in the first quarter, but behind the playmaking of Ryan Lee (2g, 10a), the Mammoth came back to eventually win the game 18-15.

Buffalo goalie Matt Vinc along with the Bandits stingy defense completely shut down the high-powered Toronto Rock, holding them to just six goals.  Vinc made 45 saves, and the defense continually frustrated the Rock all night long, never giving them a chance to get into the game.

Philadelphia and Georgia’s game was a tale of two halfs.  The first half was a defensive dual, with the teams going to the dressing rooms tied 2-2.  The second half was much more wide open.  Lyle Thompson (5g,3a) led the way for the Swarm, showing again why he is the premier player in lacrosse today.  Ben McIntosh (4g,0a), and Blaze Riordan (3g,1a) led a very balanced Wings attack.  The game was tied by the Swarm with just one second left, sending it to overtime.  A beautiful feed from Kevin Crowley to Blaze Riordan 0:15 seconds into the extra quarter, gave Philly the “W”.

Photo courtesy of USA Lacrosse Magazine

Other Notable Performances:

The Albany FireWolves finally got into the win column with a 10-5 victory. Big night’s from Doug Jamieson in net, Andrew Kew (2g,1a), and the newly acquired Ryan Benesch (2g,0a) led the way for the FireWolves.  Albany shut down a high powered Saskatchewan offense, holding them to just 36 shots and 5 goals for the night.

San Diego, who in my opinion has the most balanced attack in the league, continued their winning ways beating the Panther City Lacrosse Club 15-12. The offensive strength of Dane Dobbie (5g,2a), Wes Berg (3g,2a), Austin Staats (3g, 1a), and Mac O’Keefe (3g, 1a) helped secure the victory for the Seals.  The big story in this game was the first career win for Orangeville, Ontario native Chris Origlieri, who made 29 saves in the victory.

Photo courtesy of NLL.com

Upcoming:

The league has five games on the dockette for the upcoming weekend.  The TSN game of the week will be the Halifax Thunderbirds vs. Toronto Rock.  This is a perfect opportunity to show someone who has never seen the game what they have been missing.  They won’t be disappointed!

Don’t forget to catch Gary and his co-host Candid Frank Stanisci on their weekly Lacrosse show…”NLL Lacrosse Talk”

This week their guest is former Towson Hall of Famer, as well as MILL/NLL player Ron Klausner

Gary Groob
Gary Groob

Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.

An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game 10 years ago. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob had an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as they say, is history.

Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.

In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.

Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).

Mr. Groob also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.

Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.

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