April 11, 2009

NLL Wrap: Calgary Wins West, San Jose In

from press releases

Calgary Clinches West
Calgary 14, Edmonton 13

The Calgary Roughnecks won the West Division regular season title on Saturday night when they defeated the Edmonton Rush 14-13 at Rexall Place. Edmonton falls to 5-10 but remains in playoff contention.

It was a close game throughout, and tied 10-10 entering the fourth quarter. Goals from Scott Ranger and Dan Teat kept the score tied 11-11 early in the quarter. Calgary then received big goals from Tracey Kelusky and Kaled Toth to take a 13-11 lead. With four minutes remaining, Jimmy Quinlan scored as the Rush closed to within one. Moments later, Calgary's Jeff Shattler intercepted a pass, ran the length of the floor and scored an insurance goal on a breakaway, as Calgary hung on for the 14-13 victory.

Tracey Kelusky scored four goals for Calgary, while Dane Dobbie added three. Quinlan and Ryan Benesch each scored three goals for Edmonton.

Calgary will finish its regular season on Friday at Portland, while Edmonton plays at Colorado on Friday. Edmonton remains in contention for a playoff berth.

San Jose Clinches Playoff Spot
San Jose 11, Colorado 10 (OT)

The San Jose Stealth won their fourth game in five tries and clinched a spot in the playoffs on Saturday night by winning an 11-10 overtime thriller over the Colorado Mammoth. Rookie Rhys Duch, who broke the rookie single season scoring record, delivered the game-winner for San Jose seven minutes and 42 second into the extra period. Despite the loss, the Mammoth can still clinch a playoff berth next weekend with a victory over the Edmonton Rush.

The contest went back-and-forth all night after Stealth forward Andrew Biers tied the game at four with 3:50 off the clock in the second quarter. From that point on, neither team held a lead greater than two goals.

With just 52 second remaining in the fourth quarter, Mammoth forward Chris Gill scored what appeared to be the game-winner to make the score 10-9. However, Stealth forward Colin Doyle tied the game 30 seconds later as San Jose went with an extra attacker to score the equalizer.

Duch put an explanation point on his record-breaking night by gathering a rebound off of a Jeff Zywicki shot and firing it past Mammoth goaltender Andrew Leyshon to seal the win and put the Stealth in the postseason. Duch set the new rookie single season scoring mark by tallying five goals and three assists; Duch now has 86 points, four more than Mammoth forward Gavin Prout's old record of 82 set in 2002.

Doyle also enjoyed a record-setting night. The Stealth captain tied the single season assist record of 71, which was initially set by Josh Sanderson in 2005, by finishing with four assists to go with his three goals.

The Mammoth now stand at 6-9 on the season and are in a tie for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division. They will host the Edmonton Rush next week and will make the playoffs with a victory despite the loss to San Jose on Saturday.

Portland Gets Home Playoff Game
Portland 19, Minnesota 14

The Portland LumberJax clinched at least a second place finish in the West Division by capturing their second win of the weekend on Saturday night, defeating the Minnesota Swarm 19-14 at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday evening.

After an even first quarter that ended in a 3-3 tie, the LumberJax set the tone for the rest of the game by outscoring the Swarm 8-3 in the second quarter. The Jax balanced offensive attack was on display in the quarter as six different players combined to score the eight goals. Forwards Peter Morgan and Cory Conway each scored twice in the second.

Goaltender Matt Disher started the game for Portland and made 23 saves while allowing eight goals in playing 43:59. He was relieved by teammate Joel Weber, who stopped 18 of 24 shots over the final 16:01 of play.

Rookie Kevin Buchanan led the Swarm with seven points, notching three goals and four assists. Minnesota drops to 6-9 with the loss, but remains in a tie for the final playoff spot in the West Division heading into their last game of the year against the New York Titans next week at home.

Rochester Loses Again, Playoffs in Peril
Boston 10, Rochester 5

The Boston Blazers received a standout performance from goaltender Anthony Cosmo at TD Banknorth Garden on Saturday night and defeated the Rochester Knighthawks by the score of 10-5, dealing the Knighthawks their second loss of the weekend.

After Blazers forward Dan Dawson scored early in the first quarter to give Boston the initial lead, Knighthawks forward Jason Henhawk answered back at the 4:47 mark to tie the game. Dawson scored again at the 14:04 mark of the period to make the score 2-1, and Boston never relinquished the lead.

Cosmo was spectacular in goal all night for the Blazers, frustrating the Knighthawks attack by stopping 53 shots and only giving up five goals. Forward Brenden Thenhaus led the Blazers with four goals and rookie Daryl Veltman added two goals and four assists. Dan Dawson had three assists for a total of 69 on the season, moving at least temporarily ahead of Colin Doyle, as San Jose plays at Colorado on Saturday night. They are both chasing the all-time single season record of 71, set by Josh Sanderson in 2005.

The Blazers kept pace with the New York Titans, who defeated the Buffalo Bandits on Saturday night, by moving to 9-6 in the East Division. The Knighthawks now sit one game behind the Philadelphia Wings, who defeated the Toronto Rock on Saturday, for the final playoff spot in the East heading into the Week 16 matchup between the two teams in Rochester.

With Rochester holding the tie-breaker over Philadelphia, the winner of that contest will earn the last playoff berth out East.

Titans Pull to Within One Game of Buffalo
New York 12, Buffalo 9

In a game characterized by long scoring runs, the New York Titans toppled the Buffalo Bandits 12-9 on Saturday at Prudential Center. The Titans moved within one game of the Bandits for first place in the East Division with one game remaining in the season.

The Titans took control of the game early, outscoring the Bandits 4-0 in the first quarter on goals by Mike McLellan, Ryan Boyle, Casey Powell and Jordan Hall. The Bandits responded by scoring the first six goals of the second quarter, with John Tavares, Mike Accursi and Mark Steenhuis each scoring twice. Powell ended that run with a goal at the 12:23 mark to make the halftime score 6-5.

After Buffalo extended its lead to 8-5 early in the third quarter, the Titans went on a 5-0 run that extended into the fourth quarter with McLellan's goal 1:25 into the stanza. Powell and Mundorf closed out the scoring to complete the 12-9 final.

Goaltender Matt Vinc made 41 saves for the Titans. Powell finished with nine points, scoring four goals and five assists.

The Bandits can still clinch the East Division title with a win next week against Boston. The Titans can secure at least one home playoff game by winning in Minnesota in Week 16; a win and a Bandits loss would give the Titans the East Division title.

Wings Keep Playoff Hopes Alive, End Toronto's
Philadelphia, 16, Toronto 14

The Philadelphia Wings defeated the Toronto Rock 16-14 on Saturday at Wachovia Center. The winner of next weekend's Philadelphia at Rochester game on Saturday will clinch the fourth and final playoff berth in the East Division. The loser will miss the playoffs. With tonight's loss, the Toronto (5-10) is eliminated from playoff contention.

Wings forward Merrick Thomson opened the scoring 40 seconds into the first quarter followed by another from Athan Iannucci giving Philadelphia a two goal lead early on.

Luke Wiles put Toronto on the board with an outside shot but Drew Westervelt responded with a third Philly goal and Iannucci put another past Rock goaltender Bob Watson putting the Wings up by three. Forward Craig Conn scored another for the Rock with just over seven minutes left in the first quarter before Iannucci scored his third of the night. Jordan Levine scored another for the Wings before the quarter ended with Philadelphia ahead, 6-2.

Toronto dominated the scoring in the second quarter beginning with a power play goal from Kasey Beirnes. Defender Stephen Hoar put one past Philadelphia goaltender Rob Blasdell with 7:35 left and Lewis Ratcliff scored his first of the night followed by a shorthanded goal from defender Rob Marshall to tie the game. Blaine Manning broke the tie giving Toronto their first lead with just over three minutes left in the first half. Merrick Thomson scored the Wings' first goal of the second quarter along with Drew Westervelt and Geoff Snider scoring back to back goals for Philadelphia closing the first half 9-7 in favor of the Wings.

As they did in the second quarter, the Rock scored another five straight to begin the second half. Rock newcomer Jason Clark scored his first of the game quickly into the third followed by another from Craig Conn, his second of the night. Forward Jason Crosbie put another past Rob Blasdell, giving Toronto their second lead of the game and Jason Clark and Lewis Ratcliff each scored their second of the night putting the Rock up by three. A pair of Geoff Snider goals followed and Westervelt scored another for Philadelphia tying the game at 12-12 with 2:42 left in the third quarter and remaining tied closing out the third.

Mat Giles opened the scoring in the fourth quarter for Philadelphia but Kasey Beirnes responded for the Rock and two teams remained tied at 13-13 until Bill McGlone put one in from behind the net for Toronto with just under nine minutes left in the game. Jon Harasym scored for Philadelphia to tie the game once again and Drew Westervelt gave Philadelphia the lead and the game winner with a minute left. Kyle Sweeney scored on a Rock empty net bringing the Wings to a 16-14 win over Toronto.
Toronto scoring was spread out among Craig Conn, Kasey Beirnes, Jason Clark and Lewis Ratcliff who all scored twice with Conn recording 4 assists on the night. Bill McGlone, Luke Wiles, Rob Marshall, Blaine Manning, Stephen Hoar and Jason Crosbie contributed a goal each.

The Rock (5-10) are no longer in the playoff hunt for the 2009 season and play their final regular season game at home next weekend on Saturday April 18th when they host the San Jose Stealth at 7:00 p.m. EST.

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