Hello again everyone. Sorry itâ€™s been a few weeks; clearly a lot has gone on since my last blog as evidently we are now on a new/sexier In Lacrosse We Trust platform. As In Lacrosse We Trust has been apparently coding, I have been steadily racking up the mileage on my weekly journeys to Western, NY. (Thank you Hertz Gold Club â€“ now please waive that $200 cleaning fee from last weekend!)
Three weeks ago I made my way up to Rochester for a home game Vs. the Niagara Hawks at Monroe Community College. Niagara at the time was in 3rd place and had only 1 loss on the season. After a little goalie jersey mishap, the Greywolves came out firing on all cylinders. A dominant first period saw us go into the locker-room fired up with a 5-0 lead. Mid way through the second Niagara finally put one past me and we were at 9-3 after 2.
The wolves kept coming though and we closed out the game with a beautiful 18-7 win on our home floor. The next morning I hopped on a flight from Rochester back to Philly pleased with the result and the performance by our team â€“ specifically Joel Weet with an awesome 4 goal outburst as well as ludicrously solid defense as always by my anchor on the back end Bill Empy. (More to come from Bill in a few paragraphs).
The following weekend I was not available due to family commitments and my goaltending partner Mike Matteo was back from his wedding and ready to roll Vs. the 2nd place Six Nationâ€™s Slash. This game was a true battle from beginning to end with the Greywolves clawing back from a 5 goal deficit in the 3rd behind Matteoâ€™s brilliance and an all out effort by every member of our team.
Unfortunately the Slash were able to pull out the OT win 16-15, but a lot of positives were taken from this game as we showed that the Rochester Greywolves are for real and we are going to go toe to toe with whomever we face.
This past weekend we hit the road again and had a set of games right on the Canadian border. I received the start Saturday night in Tuscarora Vs. the Tomahawks.
The Tomahawks have a really unique home arena called â€œSmokin Joesâ€ that is associated with the duty free gift shop of the same name right on 1st street on the NY side of Niagara Falls. After maneuvering my gigantic goalie bag through the gift shop past customers and into the locker-room my attention was then caught by the helicopter consistently landing and taking off directly next to the arena. Definitely havenâ€™t had a helipad next to the rink before so this was pretty cool and interesting to see.
Unfortunately we came out extremely flat in this game and were immediately down 5-1 in the 1st period. We fought back to bring the game to 6-4 after the 1st. Due to the extreme heat at the outdoor box we stayed on the floor for the duration of the game and looked to re-group and fix our mistakes for the 2nd. However, much like the 1st period we were unable to match the Tomahawks intensity and immediately gave up 2 goals at the start of the period. Yet again we kept at it and the wolves found ourselves with an 8-6 deficit after 2. Feeling pretty good after not playing our best two periods and still only being down by 2 we looked to really bring it at the start of the 3rd.
While offensively we picked up the tempo in the 3rd, the Tuscarora goaltender was up to the task and we were only able to muster a single goal in period 3 culminating in an 11-7 defeat. Definitely a tough one for us to swallow as we needed this game badly, especially as it had serious playoff implications. There isnâ€™t a lot of time to feel sorry for yourself in lacrosse, and especially not in the Can/Am as we would be playing the next night in Ft. Erie, Ontario against the Niagara Hawks again.
On Saturday night Vs. Tuscarora we were missing our 3 top right handed offensive players due to family and work commitments and on Sunday Vs. Niagara we were faced with an even greater deficiency as several of our players were unable to make the trip due to border issues. I personally forgot my passport and was hyperventilating all day Sunday thinking I wouldnâ€™t make the game, luckily the border agents on both sides were cool and understanding of my situation and let me through â€“ thank god for smart phones.
However, Coach Bazlewski and Oaks did a great job of keeping us motivated and Owner/GM Rich Young showed us all personally what this team means to him as he suited up at forward to help fill our void and took a relentless beating at the hands of the Hawks. Saturdayâ€™s game was back and forth all night with no lead being larger than 3 goals at any point. Mike Matteo was super strong in net fresh of his honeymoon with a sweet tan and even sweeter saves. The game was 3-3 after the 1st period and we continued to work hard in the 2nd as well with the usually defensive minded Bill Empy playing offense due to our roster issues. Bill made the best of his opportunity on â€œOâ€ netting a hat trick and scoring pivotal goals to keep us in control throughout the game. Joel Weet and Chris Oâ€™Donnell each added tallies while MILA Chicago Outlaw Sean Gilles had two huge goals himself. Tyler Rubino netted the game winner in the 3rd and Mikey Matteo made a few more key saves in the final seconds as the Wolves were able to salvage a .500 weekend and hold our footing in the Can/Am standings with a 9-8 win.
Things really begin to get serious in the next few weeks as the July 1 signing deadline and playoffs approach. The next two weekends have the Greywolves playing 4 games and will factor in greatly regarding playoff seedings.
After another week of work, practice and travel we will have a fresh Can/Am Rochester Greywolves update next week.
Keep checking the new In Lacrosse We Trust for the best Pro-Lacrosse coverage as well as player blogs from my friends like Vincent Talbot, goaltender for the Vermont Voyageurs and Boston Rockhoppers as he gives you his perspective on the Quebec Senior Lacrosse League and lets you know what is going on with the only other American run CLA sanctioned team. *(Albeit with the best French Canadian accent you can ask for!!) As always support American Box Lacrosse and get the new sites page views up!!