Written by “Muffler” Mike Kostiuk

Lax Philly – A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network

The Vancouver Warriors hosted the Albany FireWolves at Rogers Arena Saturday night in the lone meeting between the teams this season. Albany entered the matchup 1-3 in their last four games, and a half-game back in the race for the Wild Card playoff spot.

Vancouver was playing their second game in two days, the first being a 10-9 overtime loss to Calgary that dropped them out of a secure playoff spot and into a 4th place tie with Panther City. Additionally, the Warriors learned that faceoff man Tyrell Hamer-Jackson would be out for the remainder of the season with an injury.

Surprisingly, emergency signing Mitch Gustavsen would fare admirably against FireWolves wizard Joe Nardella at the X, with each winning 11 of 22 faceoffs on the night. However, it was not enough as Albany used a six-goal run over the second and third quarters to triumph 11-7. The doubleheader losses put the Warriors’ playoff hopes in serious jeopardy with just four weeks and three games left.

Tit For Tat

Jacob Ruest (2g, 1a) opened the scoring, beating Warriors goalie Steve Fryer just 31 seconds into the game. Andrew Kew (4g; 2:55) would begin his big night by extending the lead to 2-0. Despite being on the back end of a doubleheader, Vancouver kept up with Albany’s typically furious transition pace. The Warriors finally answered when Reid Bowering (11:53) took a long outlet pass from Fryer and beat Albany goalie Doug Jamieson to get on the board. Ruest’s second (12:28) pushed the lead to two before Logan Schuss (2g, 2a) netted a pair within 35 seconds (14:01, 14:33) to tie the game at 3 after the first quarter.

Six-Goal Run Makes The Difference

The second quarter was all FireWolves, outscoring Vancouver 4-0. Kew added his second at 4:10. Then Charlie Kitchen (2g, 2a; 6:35) fought through three Warriors defenders and went around the world at the edge of the crease to beat Fryer and make it 5-3.

Later, Adrian Sorichetti (12:10) scored from just past the center line after playing a hidden ball trick with the offense. Fryer was caught pointing Sorichetti out to his defense as the ball snuck past him into the net. Just 27 seconds later, Colton Watkinson took an outlet pass from Jamieson and pocketed the ball far side to close the half with Albany leading 7-3.

Kitchen’s second (2:45) and Kew’s hat trick goal (6:34) made it 9-3 FireWolves to open the third quarter before Vancouver finally responded. Adam Charalambides (2g, 3a; 9:44) and Derek Lloyd (10:00) unassisted on the next faceoff made it 9-5 after 45 minutes of play.

Charalambides hit twine again at 5:48 of the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to three and give the fans some life. But Joe Resetarits (1g, 5a; 9:10) scooped up a rebound on the doorstep to push the lead back to four. Marty Dinsdale, who was denied at point-blank range several times during the game, scored at 11:39 to make it 10-7. However, Vancouver was unable to get any closer. Kew would notch his fourth of the night 50 seconds later to close out a game that had sizeable playoff implications for both teams.

3 Stars of the Game

  • 1st Star: Jamieson (48 saves, 2a)
  • 2nd Star: Kew
  • 3rd Star: Charalambides

Other Stats of Note

  • Power Play: ALB 0 for 3; VAN 0 for 2
  • Malcom (ALB), Bowering (VAN): 10 loose balls each (led all players)
  • Fryer (VAN): 39 saves
  • Keegan Bal/Kyle Killen (VAN): 16 total shots, 0 points

With the win, Albany improves to 7-9, 6th place in the East Division. They remain a half-game behind Philadelphia for the Wild Card playoff spot. The two teams meet at MVP Arena in Albany on Saturday April 16 for a Week 20 rubber match that will also serve as a playoff eliminator.

With two losses this weekend, Vancouver drops to 6-9, and from 3rd place to 5th place in the West Division. They are now a game behind Calgary (6-7) for 3rd place, a half-game behind Panther City (6-8) for 4th place, and a full game behind Philadelphia (7-8) for the Wild Card playoff spot. The Warriors travel to Saskatchewan in Week 19, before coming home for a Week 20 rematch with Calgary and a Week 22 game against San Diego.

“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk

“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, he has since become an avid follower of the National Lacrosse League. Following the postponement of the 2019-2020 NLL season, he was offered the chance to share his wealth of statistical knowledge and unique insights with the lacrosse community at large. He cheerfully accepted, and covers NLL, PLL, WLA, and Major Series Lacrosse for the network.