NLL Rookie Report: Championship Edition

The National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) newly adapted playoff format was on full display recently as both Division Finals stretched the mini-game to sudden death to decide the winner. With the Champion’s Cup on the horizon, a minimal amount of rookies remain in the NLL playoff picture.


In the second game of the West Division Finals, Riley Loewen helped the Rush even the series with a three point effort (1g, 2a), while Robert Church added a pair of assists in the Rush’s 15-13 win over the Calgary Roughnecks.


Edmonton would eventually see their triumphant season come to a close in a mini-game immediately following the win, with Calgary taking the sudden death frame with a 2-1 victory. Church stood out as a notable rookie presence in the bonus game, registering two shots on goal.


Karsen Leung had two assists for the Roughnecks, while he and fellow rookie Garrett McIntosh combined for over 20 loose balls in the West Division Finals. The duo have been mainstays in the Calgary transition game throughout the playoffs and will look to help the franchise capture their fourth Champion’s Cup title.


The Buffalo Bandits saw their season come to a close at the hands of the defending champion Rochester Knighthawks. Bandits rookie Mitch Wilde scooped up a pair of loose balls in the loss. The Whitby Warriors product finished strong after failing to make the lineup early in his freshman campaign. Wilde managed to rack up 11 points (4g, 7a) along with 32 loose balls and six turnovers in ten regular season games before notching one assist, eight loose balls, and one forced turnover in the post-season.


Heading into the NLL Finals, Calgary’s roster holds a pair of rookies in Leung and McIntosh while Rochester’s lineup features zero first-year players.


The Riggers rookies will get the chance to experience Game One of the NLL Finals on home turf when the Knighthawks travel to the Scotiabank Saddledome Saturday, May 24 at 9 p.m. ET.