NLL: Black Wolves defeat Roughnecks in OT 13-12

Callum Crawford’s five goals lead New England to victory

Crowley records sixth straight hat trick

The New England Black Wolves celebrate their overtime win. (Photo credit: Anna Taylor)

In a game that New England needed to keep them close in the playoff race, the Black Wolves (7-8) defeated the Calgary Roughnecks (6-9) 13-12 in overtime in front of 5,089 howling fans at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Callum Crawford led the way for the Black Wolves netting five on the afternoon, and Kevin Crowley recorded his sixth consecutive hat trick.

The game started off in typical Black Wolves’ fashion. For 11 games this season they have allowed the opponent to score first and eight of those times it’s been within the first two minutes. Today was no different, as Wesley Berg netted his first of the night on the power play as the Black Wolves were called for a bench minor for illegal substitution. New England would tie the game up a couple minutes later as Callum Crawford would get his first of the game, but the Roughnecks then took over the momentum.

Calgary went on a four-goal run before Crawford ended the run to bring the Black Wolves within three. Holden Cattoni replied with his first of three on the day to help Calgary regain a four-goal lead. But this Black Wolves team doesn’t know the meaning of the word quit. New England would score three times in a span of 1:11 including a pair 13 seconds apart. Johnny Powless, Mark Cockerton and Crawford scored in succession as they would go to the half trailing by a goal with momentum on their side.

Calgary would start the third by scoring the first two goals to take a three-goal lead. The second goal was the first on a five-minute major for a head–butt to Nick Chaykowsky. Not only did New England only allow the one power-play goal during that time, they scored twice short-handed (Crowley and Crawford). Brett Manney scored his second goal of the year, also short-handed, as the Black Wolves played a man-down again for five minutes with John Lafontaine in the box for illegal cross checking, and once again only allowed one goal. Dane Dobbie would net the final goal of the third quarter to give Calgary the lead again 9-8.

Kevin Crowley gave the Black Wolves their first lead of the afternoon by scoring twice in the first 90 seconds of the fourth quarter. Cattoni and Crawford exchanged goals before Dobbie tied the game with four minutes to go in regulation. Both teams would have great chances to take the lead but Aaron Bold and Christian Del Bianco would come up big, just as they had done all game.

With under a minute to go, Berg completed his hat trick after accepting a pass from Riley Loewen and beating Bold for what seemed to be the game winner, but Stephan Leblanc and the Black Wolves had other plans.

Off the restart, Kyle Buchanan rushed down the floor and fed Reilly O’Connor, who hit a cutting Leblanc in front for the tying goal with 6.3 seconds remaining.  And there was even more excitement in the remaining six seconds! After a face-off violation, Buchanan streaked in and took a shot off Del Bianco’s left shoulder, leaving one second left. Johnny Powless was be left alone and fired a shot from 12-feet out that was stopped by Del Bianco to force overtime.

Calgary would have the first crack at winning the game as Berg cut in front and took a diving shot that Bold stopped with no rebound. The Black Wolves faced no pressure bringing the ball into their offensive zone. Johnny Powless set a pick on Mitch Wilde, who fell to the turf as Crowley hit a now undefended Powless for the winner. Powless threw a far-side fake and deposited the winner short side.

Wesley Berg (3G/5A), Dane Dobbie (3G/4A), Holden Cattoni (3G/2A) and Curtis Dickson (2G/3A) led the offense for the Roughnecks.

Callum Crawford (5G/2A) and Kevin Crowley (3G/3A) led the Black Wolves’ offense. Kyle Buchanan had four assists.

Once again New England’s power play suffered as it has done all season, going just 1-5 on the man advantage. Even though Calgary capitalized on four of five attempts, the Black Wolves deposited four shorthanded goals, and held Calgary to two goals on two majors.

With the loss, the western division playoffs are set. Calgary will be the third seed and travel to second seed Colorado in a single-elimination game the first week of May. The winner of that will travel and play the top seeded Saskatchewan Rush on May 10th at 9:30 p.m. EDT.

For New England, this victory was a major one. A loss would have almost eliminated them. The Black Wolves sit at 7-8 with three games remaining.  They travel to Colorado next week before facing Rochester and then play the final game at home versus Georgia.

New England currently holds a tie-breaker over only Rochester at 2-0. They have lost the tie-breaker to Buffalo (0-3) and Toronto (1-2). They currently are 1-1 against Georgia, so the season finale on April 29th may decide the final playoff spot outright or by tie-breaker.