Blogs and Commentary

posted 02.07.2013 at 9.30 a.m. by Neil Stevens

NLL Week 6 Preview: Business, School Special on Slate

A unique weekday morning game is on a Week 6 NLL schedule that has all teams in action. Rochester and Colorado will be on the road trying to beat teams they lost to at home earlier this season.


ROCHESTER (1-3) at PHILADELPHIA (2-2), 11 a.m. ET

TV/Online: NLL on YouTube

It's the business person/school day special.

''I don't think anybody is going to be focusing on what time of day it is,'' Wings GM-coach Johnny Mouradian said of the unusual start time. ''Once we get to the rink, I don't think anything really changes.''

''I've never played a game this early in the day in this league but I don't think it's going to be an advantage or disadvantage for either team,'' said Wings forward Kevin Ross.

The Wings had a bye last weekend following two straight losses.

The Knighthawks are coming off a 7-6 home win over Washington. The reigning champions are looking for their offense to move into a higher gear.

''It's a work in progress,'' said head coach Mike Hasen. ''If the chances weren't there, we'd be worried. We know it's going to come.''

It will be the first meeting since Rochester's 14-13 home win in a first-round playoff game last May 4.

TORONTO (5-1) at MINNESOTA (1-3), 8:30 p.m. ET

TV/Online: TSN2 in Canada, in U.S., YouTube outside North America

This will be the second meeting this year. The Rock rallied to edge the Swarm 13-12 in Toronto on Jan. 25.

''We had our hands full first time,'' Rock GM Terry Sanderson said during the NLL's weekly conference call Wednesday. ''Hopefully we come with a little more respect for them this time.''

''I've never played in Minnesota before so I'm excited to be going down there,'' said Rock forward Garrett Billings, who is second in league scoring with 36 points. ''Hopefully we can have a more convincing victory this Friday.''

Minnesota is one of the few NLL teams to use a man-to-man rather than pressure defense and Billings said that'll force adjustments by the Rock offense.

Toronto is coming off a 14-12 win in Buffalo.

''There are still parts of our game we want to clean up a little bit,'' said Sanderson.

Minnesota lost 15-9 at Colorado last weekend when veteran forward Callum Crawford sat with a strained hamstring. Crawford will see how he feels after practice Friday before a determination is made on his availability for this game.

Swarm coach Joe Sullivan is well aware how tough it will be to knock off a club that is 4-0 on the road.

''They're a great team on a great roll right now,'' said Sullivan.

Toronto's Nick Rose leads all goaltending stats categories.

''Nick Rose is probably one of the hottest players in the NLL so we've got our hands full,'' said Swarm captain Andrew Suitor. ''Nick is one of those great goalies who is hard to rattle.''


ROCHESTER at BUFFALO (3-2), 7:30 p.m. ET

TV/Online: NLL on YouTube

The Knighthawks seek to turn the tables after losing 14-13 at home against the Bandits on a Tracey Kelusky goal with 12 seconds remaining on Jan. 19.

''It's always a battle and we've come out on the short end of the stick the last couple of years,'' Hasen said of the rivalry.

Hasen and the 'Hawks will be playing their second game in two days.

Buffalo lost 14-12 at home to Toronto last weekend when two major penalties proved costly.

''We've got to stay out of the penalty box,'' said Bandits coach Darris Kilgour. ''We continue to shoot ourselves in the foot by taking undisciplined penalties.''

Bandits captain John Tavares (calf muscle) will miss his second straight game, Kilgour said, adding that he expects the league's all-time leading scorer will return to the lineup next weekend.

EDMONTON (1-3) at CALGARY (3-2), 9 p.m. ET

TV/Online: Sportsnet One in Canada, NLL on YouTube elsewhere

Calgary won 18-15 in Edmonton last Saturday to stretch to 9-0 their regular-season winning streak over the Rush. Improved special-teams play is a must for the Rush.

''There's not much between winning and losing in this league and I think the power play might have been the difference last time,'' said Rush forward Ryan Ward.

Calgary's Shawn Evans had a league-best 37 points so he'll be a main target for Edmonton checkers.

''We need to do some things better in our defensive end than we did last week,'' said Rush GM-coach Derek Keenan.

Roughnecks coach Curt Malawsky said his players are hungry for a home win after losing their first two games in the Saddledome this year.

''Something's got to give,'' said Malawsky. ''We owe it to our fans.''

Calgary rookie Joe Resetarits is gradually gelling with the veterans.

''I couldn't ask for better guys to learn from,'' said Resetarits.

COLORADO (2-2) at WASHINGTON (3-3), 10 p.m. ET

TV/Online: NLL on YouTube

Colorado aims to avenge a 17-13 home loss to the Stealth back on Jan. 12.

''We've worked very hard the last few weeks to shore up our defensive end,'' said Mammoth coach Bob Hamley.

That was evident, especially in the crease where Matt Roik was outstanding, in a 15-9 win over Minnesota in Denver last weekend.

''We want to take that momentum on to Everett,'' said Hamley.

Washington is coming off a 7-6 loss in Rochester.

''I wasn't totally disappointed with our performance but it was a long way to travel to lose by a goal,'' said Stealth coach Chris Hall.

Stealth goalie Tyler Richards is back to 100 per cent healthwise after sitting out two games. His spectacular play last weekend proved as much.

''It's great to play in front of a guy you know is going to make big stops for you,'' said Hall.

It's the first home game for the Stealth after three straight on the road.

''I hope it has an impact,'' said Stealth defenseman Curtis Hodgson. ''The guys are going to be looking forward to being at home and getting a win.''