National Lacrosse League: Ten Things to Know for Week 19

Big Nine-Game Slate Fronts Final Three Weeks of ‘The March to May’

PHILADELPHIA, April 4, 2024 – And then there were three–weeks, that is. The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, stuffs nine games into three days as “The March to May” works its way into the home stretch with three weekends remaining in the regular season.

ESPNU snags a rematch of last year’s finals between Buffalo and Colorado (Friday, 9 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. MT), the NLL Game of the Week on TSNfeatures Friday’s key battle between the Saskatchewan Rush and Calgary Roughnecks (9 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. MT), and the NLL Saturday Showcase is a good one between the Toronto Rock (12-3), currently at the top of the unified standings, and Albany FireWolves (10-5), sitting in third (7 p.m. ET, also My4 Albany).

Here are 10 things to know about the NLL entering Week 19:

  • Up for Grabs: Fourteen of the 15 teams are still mathematically alive for playoff berths, and eight are within one game of the fourth seed and home game in the Quarterfinals. The NLL released details this week on playoff scheduling, opening April 24-28.
  • In the Clinch: Which teams are in line to secure NLL postseason berths this week? Here are a few scenarios:
    • Toronto Rock (12-3) have clinched a playoff berth and a home playoff game, and can clinch the top overall seed throughout the playoffs with a Win at Albany on Saturday, AND a San Diego loss vs. Panther City on Friday
    • San Diego Seals (11-4) have clinched a playoff berth and can clinch a home playoff game with:
      • Win vs. Panther City on Friday, OR
      • Buffalo loss at Colorado on Friday, OR
      • A Georgia loss vs. Las Vegas on Saturday AND a Panther City loss vs. Philadelphia on Sunday.
    • Albany FireWolves (10-5) have clinched a playoff berth and can clinch a home playoff game with a win vs. Toronto on Saturday
    • Georgia Swarm (9-7) can clinch a playoff berth with a Win vs. Las Vegas on Saturday
    • Halifax Thunderbirds (9-7) can clinch a playoff berth with a Win at Vancouver on Friday.
  • Having a Bal: The Vancouver Warriors’ recent resurgence (four wins in the last five games) has many heroes, none bigger than Keegan Bal (Coquitlam, B.C.), who has scored 22 goals and dished out 20 assists during that span. Bal currently ranks ninth in the NLL in goals (37) and 10th in points (84) on the season.
  • Dhane Mhetrics: The MVP race, along with other major NLL awards, will be debated in the season’s closing weeks, butNLL.com’s Cooper Perkins makes a case for Buffalo’s Dhane Smith (Kitchener, Ont.) to cop the honor. Know your wA, pRating, fScore and PTR and you’ll know why Cooper thinks Dhane is deserving.
  • Teat Time: The MVP talk always includes New York Riptide sensation Jeff Teat (Brampton, Ont.), and with 47 goals he continues to lead the league in that category, ranking third in points (108). But close behind are Buffalo’s Josh Byrne (New Westminster, B.C.) with 45 (and a league-best 112 points) and both San Diego’s Austin Staats (OLA Six Nation) and Rochester’s Connor Fields (East Amherst, N.Y.) with 43. Dhane Smith, as detailed above, is the runaway leader in assists with 84.
  • Feel the Power: Only four games last week means not much movement at the top of the NLL Power Rankings by NLL.com’s Adam Levi heading into Week 19. Toronto, San Diego, Halifax and Georgia maintained the first through fourth slots, respectively, with Buffalo (now fifth) and Albany (sixth) crossing paths along the Erie Canal.
  • Three for Two: With the nine-game slate this weekend, three teams will play twice: Saskatchewan, Calgary and Panther City. Each has one home and one away game scheduled. The only team to play multiple games over the final two weeks will be Rochester, which will visit Georgia on Friday, April 19 and host Philadelphia on Sunday, April 21 in the final game of the Regular Season.
  • Go Promos: Some of the promotions at NLL arenas this weekend include:
    • San Diego: Friday is Stick Up For A Cure Night, presented by Rady Children’s Hospital, at Pechanga Arena (Panther City, 7 p.m. PT). It’s the team’s annual Cancer Awareness Night contest. As part of the team’s partnership with Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, players will wear custom jerseys featuring the names of individuals who have been impacted by cancer. Proceeds from Stick Up For A Cure will benefit the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children’s.
    • Vancouver: Back in the Saddle Again, Warriors to Host Country Night 2.0 on Friday, Presented by Ford. Pull out your jeans, boots, and cowboy hats once more. (vs. Halifax, 7 p.m. PT)
    • Colorado: The Mammoth will look to make more than a Ripple when they host Buffalo in the 2023 NLL Finals Rematch on Friday (7 p.m. MT). It’s “Grateful Dead” Night, and the Eyes of the World will be upon them.
    • Calgary: Aloha! It’s the Roughnecks Tiki Party on Friday (7 p.m. MT vs. Saskatchewan), complete with Hawaiian lei giveaway and specialty theme jersey. Book ‘em, Danno (Taylor)!
    • Albany: If The Grateful Dead and “Hawaii Five-O” references aren’t retro enough, the FireWolves have fans covered, turning back the clock to favorite music, movies, fashion and more from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and early-2000’s on “Retro Night” (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET vs. Toronto).
    • Rochester: The first 2,000 fans will receive a Knighthawks bucket hat, thanks to Segar & Sciortino and their annual hat giveaway knight vs. New York (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET).
    • Georgia: The Swarm LOVE their fans, and they prove it on Fan Appreciation Night (7:30 p.m. ET vs. Las Vegas).
    • Saskatchewan: The Cowboy theme is big, particularly in “The Battle of the Prairies,” so Boots & Dukes Night on Saturday vs. Calgary (7 p.m. MT) is always a hit.
    • Panther City: NLL teams respect the origins of the game, and the league’s newest franchise is no exception. PCLC hosts Philadelphia on Sunday (3 p.m. CT), and they’ll be celebrating “Origins of Lacrosse” Day.
  • NLL Players reaching milestones last week included:
    • Buffalo coach John Tavares passed Jamie Batley for 15th on the all-time list with 57 after the Bandits defeated Philadelphia
    • Halifax forward Ryan Benesch (Elmira, Ont.) passed Dan Dawson for fourth on the all-time list with 552 goals after netting two vs Rochester; and passed Shawn Evans for sixth on the all-time games played list with 271
    • Halifax forward Dawson Theede (Brooklin, Ont.) now has 101 points after a three-goal, three-assist effort vs. Rochester
    • Philadelphia forward Mitch Jones (Delta, B.C.) now has 608 points after back-to-back two-goal, five-assist nights against Saskatchewan and Buffalo
    • Saskatchewan forward Robert Church (Coquitlam, B.C.) now has 802 points after securing three goals and five assists vs. Philadelphia
    • Vancouver forward Kevin Crowley (New Westminster, B.C.) now has 500 assists after issuing four vs. Las Vegas
  • Player achievements within reach this week are:
    • Albany forward Ethan Walker (Peterborough, Ont.) needs four assists to reach 100
    • Buffalo forward Josh Byrne (New Westminster, B.C.) needs seven goals to reach 200
    • Buffalo defenseman Paul Dawson (Oakville, Ont.) needs four points to reach 100
    • Buffalo forward Chase Fraser (Vancouver) needs one point to reach 200
    • Calgary forward Tanner Cook (Courtice, Ont.) needs nine assists to reach 100
    • Calgary forward Jesse King (Victoria, B.C.) eeds nine assists to reach 300
    • Calgary forward Tyler Pace (Coquitlam, B.C.) needs six points to reach 300
    • Colorado defenseman Paul Dawson (Oakville, Ont.) needs four points to reach 100
    • Colorado forward Tyson Gibson (Maple, Ont.) needs three assists to reach 100
    • Colorado forward Connor Robinson (New Westminster, B.C.) needs one goal to reach 100
    • Georgia forward Brendan Bomberry (Six Nations, Ont.) needs five points to reach 200
    • Georgia defenseman/transition player Jeremy Thompson (Akwesasne, Ont.) needs four assists to reach 100
    • Georgia forward Lyle Thompson (Onondaga Nation, N.Y.) needs seven assists to reach 400
    • Halifax forward Ryan Benesch (Elmira, Ont.) needs nine points to become the seventh player all-time to reach 1300
    • Halifax forward Austin Shanks (Courtice, Ont.) needs eight assists to reach 200
    • Las Vegas forward Rob Hellyer (Lions Head, Ont.) needs seven assists to reach 500
    • New York forward Connor Kearnan (Courtice, Ont.) needs one goal to reach 100
    • New York forward Kiel Matisz (Stony Creek, Ont.) needs three goals to reach 200
    • New York forward Reilly O’Connor (Whitby, Ont.) needs four assists to reach 300
    • Panther City forward Callum Crawford (Ottawa, Ont.) needs one assist to pass John Grant Jr. for sixth on the all-time list with 779
    • Panther City forward Will Malcom (New Westminster, B.C.) needs three goals to reach 100
    • San Diego defenseman/transition player Trevor Baptiste (Denville, N.J.) needs 13 faceoff wins to become the 10th player in league history to reach 1500
    • San Diego forward Curtis Dickson (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) needs two goals to pass Colin Doyle for seventh all-time with 528; and one point to become the 16th player to reach 1000
    • San Diego forward Dane Dobbie (Elora, Ont.) needs seven assists to reach 600
    • San Diego defenseman/transition player Jesse Gamble (Rockwood, Ont.) needs three points to reach 100
    • San Diego forward Kyle Jackson (Sarnia, Ont.) needs two points to reach 300
    • Saskatchewan forward Zach Manns (Victoria, B.C.) needs five assists to reach 100
    • Toronto goaltender Nick Rose (Orangeville, Ont.) needs 28 saves to pass Pat O’Toole for fourth on the all-time list with 6465
    • Toronto forward Corey Small (St. Catharines, Ont.) needs four assists to reach 500

Schedule – Week 19 (All Times Eastern)

Friday

  • Buffalo Bandits (8-7) at Colorado Mammoth (5-9), 9 p.m., ESPNU, TSN+ (Lindahl, Shewchuk, Gallant)
  • Saskatchewan Rush (6-8) at Calgary Roughnecks (6-8), 9 p.m., NLL Game of the Week on TSN, ESPN+ (T. Jenner, Challoner, Chand)
  • Halifax Thunderbirds (9-7) at Vancouver Warriors (6-9), 10 p.m., ESPN+, TSN+ (Elliott, Fera, Pratap)
  • Panther City Lacrosse Club (7-7) at San Diego Seals (11-4), 10 p.m., ESPN+, TSN+, KUSI (Perkins, Ossello, Michaels)

Saturday

  • Toronto Rock (12-3) at Albany FireWolves (10-5), 7 p.m., NLL Saturday Showcase, ESPN+, TSN+, My4 (Glasheen, Bahl, Onorato)
  • New York Riptide (7-8) at Rochester Knighthawks (6-8), 7 p.m., ESPN+, TSN+ (Rybczynski, McDaniels, Mossbrooks)
  • Las Vegas Desert Dogs (4-11) at Georgia Swarm (9-7), 7:30 p.m.,ESPN+, TSN+, Silver Sports SEN, Peachtree Sports (Mooneyham, Hanover, Hoffman)
  • Calgary Roughnecks (6-8*) at Saskatchewan Rush (6-8*), 9 p.m., ESPN+, TSN+ (Janzen, Fraser, Ahmad)

Sunday

  • Philadelphia Wings (5-10) at Panther City Lacrosse Club (7-7*), 4 p.m., ESPN+, TSN+, Philly57, Bally Sports SW Extra (Thulin, Jernigan, Hale)

*pending Friday results

About the National Lacrosse League

The National Lacrosse League (NLL) is North America’s largest professional lacrosse league, welcoming a record 1,165,528 fans attending games in 2022-23. Founded in 1986, the NLL is comprised of 15 franchises across the United States and Canada, and recently unveiled its largest brand campaign ever, “Welcome to The Next Major League™” and introduced its comprehensive grassroots initiative, NLL UnBOXed™, that will expand the League’s footprint to more than 60 communities across North America by 2027.

For the latest scores and developments in the National Lacrosse League, please visit: NLL.com and find the NLL on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok.

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Media inquiries contact:

Joe Favorito, jfavorito2@gmail.com, 917-566-8345

Jerry Milani, media@nll.com, 917-797-5663

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 in 2010. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob was given 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).

Gary 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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