October 23, 2009

Steenhuis Brings All-Star Heroics to Australia

from press release

Update: Grant Leads East All-Stars to Sweep

Led by 2009 National Lacrosse League (NLL) top goal scorer Mark Steenhuis, the impressive offensive talent of the East All-Stars was too strong for their West-side competitors at Hisense Arena in a 24-16 victory in the first game of the LeasePlan NLL All-Star Series in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
The fire power of the East team didn’t take long to ignite, scoring the first two goals courtesy of 2007 No. 1 draft pick Jordan Hall and Steenhuis at the five and 10-minute marks, respectively, of the first quarter.
Sprung into action, Calgary Roughnecks transition man Jeff Shattler got the West All-Stars on the board with a goal at the 11-minute mark, followed by his second two minutes later.  Further goals from Dane Dobbie and Aussie favourite Tim Fry secured the West a 4-2 lead after the first quarter.
A scoring frenzy in the second quarter for the East created a seven-goal turnaround to take a five-goal lead into the main break, up 12-7.  Impressive goals from league tough man Geoff Snider, six-time league MVP Gary Gait and a double from Rochester star John Grant Jr. stole the show.
A last-minute goal to Fry, taking his tally to two, provided hope for the West going into halftime.
The hope was short-lived, however, when 2006 all-world representative Jeff Zywicki drew first blood for the East team in the second half.  
Despite holding together in the third quarter and a trio of goals from Aussie players Wes Green, Ben Newman and Ryan Garnsworthy, the West couldn’t reel in the offensive brilliance of the East, outscoring them by just one goal to narrow the difference to four. East led 16-12 going into the fourth quarter.
The East All-Stars put their foot down again in the final quarter, scoring eight more goals en route to a convincing 24-16 win.
Steenhuis took his goal tally to six with two final-quarter goals which earned him MVP honors, an award the 28-year-old is familiar with as the only multiple All-Star Game MVP in NLL history. 
Steenhuis was pleased to get the opportunity to play amongst some of his fiercest rivals.
“I really enjoyed playing tonight in front of the Aussie crowd,” Steenhuis said.
“All year we play against each other, and often hate each other, so it’s neat to get to play alongside these guys tonight.”
A keen surfer, the Buffalo Bandits transition man thought his MVP performance may have been enough to gain a leave pass for tomorrow night so he could head to the beach.
“I thought that if I won tonight, I wouldn’t have to come back tomorrow,” Steenhuis joked.
“No, I think that the West team will have something to prove tomorrow night, so we are up for another great contest.”
The second and final game of the series will be decided at Hisense Arena tomorrow night.  The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m.

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