NLL: FireWolves rebound with first team win

The Albany FireWolves’ Colton Watkinson is chased by Mark Matthews of the Saskatchewan Rush. January 8, 2022. (Photo credit: Kathleen Helman/Albany FireWolves)

On a chilly Saturday night in Albany, the FireWolves hosted the Saskatchewan Rush in a battle of two teams looking to get a much-needed win.

The FireWolves’ Jackson Nishimura opened up the game’s scoring just 12 seconds into the first quarter thanks to a deflection from teammate Tony Malcom’s shot. Only 17 seconds later the FireWolves would score again from a Joe Resetarits bouncing shot.

Less than six minutes later, Resetarits set up Reilly O’Connor who fired in a goal from range to make the game 3-0. The Rush would finally get on the board from a Dan Lintner power play goal right at the left side edge of the crease to make the game 3-1.

Two minutes into the second quarter, the FireWolves’ John LaFontaine found Ryan Benesch in transition with a long-range pass to set up Benesch’s first goal with Albany. The Rush answered less than 30 seconds later courtesy of Mark Matthews. Saskatchewan scored again two minutes later to take the Albany lead down to one.

For around 17 minutes there was a scoring drought as the Doug Jamieson and Adam Shute were having a pretty good game between the pipes. The drought was stopped by Robert Church, with a goal that tied the score.

A few minutes later, Albany fired in two goals in less than 20 seconds apart from Andrew Kew and Joe Nardella. Saskatchewan got something to celebrate less than three minutes later with a Robert Church goal that would give him the hat trick on the night.

The fourth quarter was all Albany as they scored four unanswered goals and pulled away from the Rush to put an exclamation point on the franchise’s first win as the FireWolves. Three FireWolves got their second goal of the night in the period in Benesch, Resetarits, and Kew. Tanner Thomson also got his first goal in a FireWolves uniform.

Robert Church was the Rush’s player of the night, accounting for three of the team’s five goals on the night. For the FireWolves, Joe Nardella continued his faceoff domination winning 14 of 16 and recording two points (1G/1A).

The Rush, now 3-1, will get a six day break before they host the San Diego Seals and their league-leading offense. The FireWolves are back at it on Jan 15th, heading down to the City of Brotherly Love to play the Philadelphia Wings.