Week 9 of the National Lacrosse League featured three close scoring games including two that were decided by just one goal. First we saw the Calgary Roughnecks with a big come from behind 11-10 win over the visiting Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday night, then on Sunday it was the Minnesota Swarm edging the Philadelphia Wings 15-14 on the road.
The third game was close on the scoreboard (14-12) but not on the turf. Although it was decided by only two goals the game was a blowout for three plus quarters as the Toronto Rock controlled the pace until a brief lapse in the fourth that saw seven unanswered Minnesota Swarm goals in 10 minutes.
Jordan MacIntosh played outstanding for Minnesota in their loss in Toronto, tallying three goals and scooping up nine loose balls. He was equally impressive the following afternoon, racking up five assists with 14 loose balls as the Swarm picked up the win in Philly.
On the other side of the floor Pat Saunders was excellent for the Wings, scoring four goals to go along with two helpers. His teammate Kevin Crowley also played great and was certainly in the giving mood this weekend; he had eight assists against the Swarm as well as three goals.
Rochester Knighthawks’ Stephen Keogh also deserves an honourable mention this week for his stellar performance. Last week’s second star brought the magic stick with him to Calgary, scoring a hat trick and six points in what was probably Rochester’s toughest loss of the season as they collapsed in the fourth quarter against the Roughnecks.
This was the closest race so far this season and any one of these guys could have made this week’s list with little argument but here are the NLL Three Stars for Week 9:
Third Star–Colin Doyle of the Toronto Rock
Colin Doyle went into Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Swarm just five points shy of 1,300 career National Lacrosse League points as he sat with 498 goals and 797 assists. Doyle found the back of the net twice to hit the incredible 500 mark while also chipping in two assists; he now sits at 1299 points. Doyle becomes just the fourth player in league history to join the 500 club (the other three are Gary Gait, John Tavares and John Grant Jr.).
Second Star–Nick Rose of the Toronto Rock
Although the final score on the scoreboard showed a two-goal game, this one was over early on and it was largely to do with the incredible play by Nick Rose. He allowed just four goals in the first half and the shut the door completely on the Swarm for the entire third quarter, giving his team a huge 13-4 lead going into the final frame. He went on to allow seven straight goals to open the fourth but it was a team melt down rather than a Rose collapse. After allowing just 24 shots in the entire first half, the Rock allowed Rose to get peppered by rubber 21 times in the last quarter. Rose kept his composure though and was able to stay steady in the dying minutes as Toronto barely hung on for the win.
First Star–Logan Schuss of the Minnesota Swarm
In case there was any doubt, Logan Schuss showed the world this weekend why the Minnesota Swarm selected him first overall in the 2013 NLL entry draft. Schuss was pretty good on Friday in Toronto, notching a goal and five assists but on Sunday he was a man possessed, lighting the lamp five times while assisting on two others. The 23-year-old rookie went into Sunday’s game with two goals (in a single game) being his season high, a feat he had achieved four times in his first nine games. Scoring his first career hat trick wasn’t enough for Schuss as he kept finding the twine and almost got the sock trick (six goals). Schuss has scored in all but one of Minnesota’s games this season; he now has 16 goals with 15 assists in his first nine NLL games and is pounding on the door for Rookie of the Year.