NLL: Season in Review: New England Black Wolves

It was a very inconsistent season for the New England Black Wolves in 2019 as they went 9-10 overall, losing to the Buffalo Bandits in the first round of the playoffs.

New England Black Wolves @ Philadelphia Wings, February 18, 2019. (Photo credit: Tracey Happold-Brown)

Season in Review

After starting the season with a pretty big loss in Georgia the Black Wolves went on a three-game winning streak where their offensive prowess really showed their worth. However, that didn’t last long as the Black Wolves took two tough loses in back-to-back weeks at the end of January and beginning of February. They just weren’t clicking on either end like they had to start the season.

The Black Wolves were able to put together another three-game winning streak in mid-February as they were finally able to get things going once again, but they never appeared to be able to put it all together for that long of a period the rest of the season. A big part of their inconsistency can be attributed to the fact that they essentially played with a two-goalie system for most of the season.

To end the season, the Black Wolves were very up-and-down. They lost three straight to end March, but finally bounced back win a good win over San Diego. The Wolves went 1-2 through the last three weeks of the season, winning their last game against Rochester.

New England lost 13-6 in the first round of the playoffs against the Buffalo Bandits.


Highlight of the Season

The highlight of the season for New England came very early on in the season. The Black Wolves won three straight, including taking down the defending champion Saskatchewan Rush.

It was during this run that New England turned heads and really showed that they could be a force to be reckoned with. They beat Saskatchewan 12-11, Calgary 16-10, and Georgia 13-12 during that three-game stretch.

Callum Crawford tries to get past Steph Charbonneau. (Photo credit: Tracey Happold-Brown)

Callum Crawford and Reilly O’Connor were two of the biggest leaders for New England on the offensive end this season, and their dominance really came to the fore front during this early three-game winning streak.


Team MVP

Callum Crawford was a huge part of the Black Wolves’ offense this season, leading the team in scoring. Even with Crawford missing a few games due to suspension he never really missed a beat. When they needed a spark on offense Crawford was one of the guys they could count on to get it done.

Crawford was a threat as both a scorer and a feeder, tallying 109 points (48G/61A). He simply put on a show each and every game, really providing a lot of fire power to this New England offense.


Expansion Draft

Just like every team, New England lost two players to the NLL expansion draft a few weeks ago. Both forward Tyler Digby and goalie Alex Buque were claimed by the New York Riptide. Digby was fourth in team scoring with 27 goals and 45 assists, though his 27 goals tied him for second best on the team. Buque played about half the minutes that Doug Jamieson did and ended with an 11.80 GAA and .763 SV%.


Joe Resetarits of the New England Black Wolves. (Photo credit: Tracey Happold-Brown)

2020 Outlook

New England should have some pretty high expectations for themselves coming into the 2020 season. While they didn’t have the best year in 2019 they can certainly build on the positives that they did have throughout the season.

Their defense should be much better and in sync as they have pretty much solidified Doug Jameison as the starter for them now with Buque being picked in the expansion draft. With no goalie flipping the Black Wolves defense will likely be much more consistent all season and throughout an entire game.

New England also has Brett Manney, Andrew Suitor and other returning to keep that defensive core together.

Offensively, New England should still be very strong even with the loss of Digby. They recently franchised Joe Resetarits, and they will have Crawford, O’Connor, and others returning as well. Also, transition player Colton Watkinson should be very productive once again on both ends as a transition player.

New England is a team that can have success in 2020 but they just have to stay consistent. The talent on both ends is there and the Black Wolves can be a very dangerous team if they want to be.