Week 6 of the National Lacrosse League featured five games and tons of goals; 116 goals to be exact. That’s an average of over 23 goals per game. Pretty impressive, especially when you consider that neither the Edmonton Rush nor the Rochester Knighthawks broke into double digits in their one goal game (won 8-7 by the Rush).
The Rush (5-0) remain as the only unbeaten team in the NLL but they aren’t the only shockers in the first quarter of the season; the Buffalo Bandits (5-1) are stealing the show in the East. They are one game shy of tying their six wins of last season and seem to be getting stronger every game.
Another big turnaround story this season has been the Philadelphia Wings (3-3) who have looked very impressive in their three wins thus far; although with their wise off season acquisitions we saw that coming so it’s not that much of a surprise.
Honourable mention goes out to Wings goalie Evan Kirk who played a solid 60 minutes while making 45 saves on route to the W. Also worth mentioning is Buffalo’s Jay Thorimbert who was also on his game in Week 6, winning 20 of 27 draws while scooping up 15 loose balls.
John Grant Jr. had another stunning performance with 3 goals and 5 assists for the Colorado Mammoth in their 14-12 win over the Minnesota Swarm while Josh Sanderson racked up two hat trick in two nights to go along with 6 helpers as the Toronto Rock split their two games in Week 6.
With all the goals that were scored this past weekend it was hard not to give all three stars to offence players so why bother fighting it; here are the NLL Three Stars for Week 6
Third Star – Kyle Buchanan of the Philadelphia Wings (3-3)
Philly handed the Vancouver Stealth their second loss in as many days and former Stealth star and NLL sophomore, Kyle Buchanan, was in full force against his former team. Buchanan had 4 goals on 7 shots with 3 assists and 4 loose balls. In his rookie season last year with the Stealth (then in Washington) he scored 4 goals in 9 regular season games; in 2014 Buchanan has already tallied 14 goals in Philadelphia’s first 6 games.
Second Star – Casey Powell of the Colorado Mammoth
After taking the first part of the season off Casey Powell returned with a vengeance, notching 3 goals with 6 assists in his return to the NLL. Powell was the game’s high scorer in Colorado’s 14-12 win over Minnesota and he gave the Mammoth a much needed spark as they entered a two game win streak after losing four in a row.
First Star – Garrett Bilings of the Toronto Rock
Billings was exceptional for Toronto in both of their Week 6 games as he racked up 7 goals and 7 assists. On Saturday he had 2 goals and 4 assists in a tough 14-12 loss in Buffalo but it was his stellar play the night before that really earned him the first star. On Friday he tossed in 5 goals with 4 shares and was especially focused in the second half, scoring 4 of his goals after the halftime break.
Week 7 promises to be another good one in the NLL with all nine teams in action. The chances we’ll see another weekend full of goals is pretty likely and I’m predicting that we will see the season’s second sock trick as well. I’m also envisioning that Shawn Evans will crack double digits for assists in the Calgary Roughnecks game in Minnesota. It’s 50-50 that my predictions will come to fruition but one thing I know for sure is that this season we are being treated to the best lacrosse we’ve seen in years and it is guaranteed to continue with the five games this weekend.