Blogs and Commentary

posted 03.28.2013 at 4.35 p.m. by Neil Stevens

NLL Week 13: Toronto, Philly Pull Double Duty

Five games are on the Week 13 schedule. Toronto and Philadelphia each play twice. Edmonton is the lone team with a bye.


BUFFALO (5-7) AT TORONTO (8-4), 7 p.m. ET, TSN2 in Canada, ESPN3 in U.S., outside North America

Both teams will try to rebound from lopsided losses to Edmonton last weekend.

''That's probably the best team in the league right now but there's no way we should have been manhandled in our own building like that,'' Rock GM Terry Sanderson said during the league's weekly conference call Wednesday. ''We've definitely got to play better than we did against Edmonton.''

''We've got to be better and we're going to be better on Friday,'' said Rock forward Blaine Manning.

Buffalo has lost four in a row.

''Hopefully we can go into Toronto this weekend and have a better showing,'' said assistant Bandits coach Rich Kilgour.

''We've got to get back to basics and win the one-on-one battles,'' said Bandits captain John Tavares.

Two earlier meetings resulted in a split: Toronto won 14-12 at Buffalo on Feb. 2 and Buffalo won 15-13 in Toronto on Feb. 28.

Added Tavares: ''Right now, Edmonton is probably the best team . . . and I'm hoping they're peaking too early. The team that peaks at the end is the team that is going to win (the Champion's Cup).''

Buffalo's injury woes have multiplied. Tracey Kelusky (ribs) has been on injured reserve since Feb. 27 and Chad Culp (torn shoulder muscle) went down last weekend. Nick Cotter (head injury) and Carter Bender (hamstring) couldn't play last weekend and are likely done for the season.

PHILADELPHIA (5-5) AT MINNESOTA (4-7), 8:30 p.m. ET,

Minnesota won both meetings last year. This is the first of two this year. The second is in Philadelphia a week Sunday.

Both teams are coming of bye weekends. Minnesota beat Washington 12-5 in its last game.

''We've got back to what we call Swarm ball,'' said Minnesota coach Joe Sullivan. ''We've just got to match their energy and play our game.''

The Wings will be without suspended goaltender Brandon Miller. Backup Angus Dineley, who has never faced a shot in an NLL game, is expected to get his first NLL start.

Captain Brodie Miller will be back in the lineup. Merrill missed the last two games after experiencing concussion symptoms.

''We're coming off a couple of tough losses,'' said Wings forward Kevin Ross. ''Getting Brodie back will be huge.''

As well, Wings forward Brendan Mundorf will play his first game of the year after rehabbing from a leg injury and defenseman Brett Manney (concussion) re turns, too.

Ross is eager to beat his former team.

''It's a game I've looked forward to,'' said Ross. ''Getting motivated is not going to be too much of a problem.''


TORONTO AT ROCHESTER (4-6), 7:30 p.m. ET,

This is the second of three meetings. Toronto won 11-7 in Rochester on Jan. 26. They meet again April 7 in Toronto.

''Their game is getting back to where they expect it to be,'' Sanderson said of the Knighthawks. ''I think we're going to be, as usual, facing a pretty good club when we get there Saturday.''

Toronto has won its last four games in Rochester dating to Jan. 30, 2010, which is a U-turn from the days it rarely won in Blue Cross Arena.

''Always a tough place to play,'' said Manning. ''Historically, we've had a terrible track record there although we've had some success there lately.''

Rochester forward Mike Accursi is one point shy of 800.

Rochester defenseman Jimmy Purves will serve a one-game suspension.

PHILADELPHIA AT COLORADO (4-8), 9 p.m. ET, Altitude,

This is the second and final meeting. The Wings won 14-12 at home Feb. 24.

''They're a quick team,'' said Mammoth transition player Cam Holding. ''They're going to push the ball on us. That said, we've got a young athletic team as well so I think we'll match up well against them.''

Miller returns to the Wings crease.

Colorado is coming off a 12-11 overtime loss in Calgary.

''I really feel the last five or six games our team has been coming together and playing much better,'' said coach Bob Hamley.

Colorado's John Grant Jr. is three points shy of knocking Hall of Famer Gary Gait out of third place on the all-time points list.

Colorado transition player Jaeden Gastaldo is iffy after banging up a leg in Calgary.

CALGARY (7-5) AT WASHINGTON (7-5), 10 p.m.,

This is the second of three meetings. Washington won 16-14 at home on Feb. 23. They meet again April 6 in Calgary. A Stealth win would give them the season series and standings tiebreaker should they finish with identical win-loss records.

''If we don't get this win, then we can't catch them,'' said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky. ''This is a massive game.''

Calgary is coming off a 12-11 OT win over Colorado.

''We were a little rusty coming off a bye week,'' said Malawsky. ''Colorado came in hot and kind of put us on our heels a little bit. But as the game went on we should our resiliency. We bent but we didn't break.''

''They've got a phenomenal offense that is tough to handle,'' said Washington coach Chris Hall.

Washington is coming off a bye week that followed a 12-5 loss in Minnesota.

''Usually after a loss like that you want to get right back at it but in retrospect we've been able to regroup,'' said Hall. ''We hope to start anew and really look at the last quarter of the schedule as a route to peak for the playoffs.''

The Stealth laid a stinker last time out, said Stealth captain Kyle Sorensen.

''A lot of us have a chip on our shoulder after that one,'' said Sorensen. ''We've got a pretty big test ahead of us this weekend. We've got to be on our game for 60 minutes to come out on top.''