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Black Wolves vs. Knighthawks Game Preview

New England Black Wolves (5-6) vs. Rochester Knighthawks (4-7)

At Mohegan Sun Arena

Friday, March 17th, 7:30 p.m.

Live on NLLTV.com

 

Last Game: The New England Black Wolves won 13-8 at home against the Georgia Swarm on March 12th. The Rochester Knighthawks won 9-8 against the Buffalo Bandits on March 4th.

 

Players to Watch: New England – Shawn Evans (22 goals, 40 assists) leads the Black Wolves in assists and points (62), and is second on the team in goals scored. He had three goals and four assists in last week’s win over Georgia. Kyle Buchanan (16 goals, 22 assists) is third on the team in goals scored and second in loose balls (86). He also had three goals and four assists last week against the Swarm. Kevin Crowley (28 goals, 27 assists) leads the Black Wolves in goals scored and is second on the team in points (55). He added three goals and three assists in the win. In goal, Evan Kirk saved 44 of 52 shots (.846), allowing a season-low eight goals in the contest.

 

Rochester – Dan Dawson (eight goals, 25 assists) leads the Knighthawks in assists and is third on the team in points (33). He had one goal and four assists in Rochester’s win over Buffalo on March 4th. Kyle Jackson (14 goals, 22 assists) is tied for second on the team in goals scored and second in overall points (36). He added one goal and three assists against the Bandits. Joe Resetarits (14 goals, 23 assists) leads Rochester in points (37) and is second in assists. He also contributed two goals and one assist in the game.

 

Noteworthy:

  • Shawn Evans (three goals, six assists), Chad Culp (three goals, three assists), Kevin Crowley (three goals, one assist) and Kyle Buchanan (one goal, three assists) have led the Black Wolves in scoring in two games against Rochester this season.
  • Kyle Jackson (four goals, 10 assists), Stephen Keogh (five goals, six assists) and Joe Resetarits (two goals, seven assists) have led the Knighthawks in the two games against New England this season.
  • Kevin Crowley had his sixth hat trick of the season and registered a season-high two power play assists against Georgia last week. He has had two or more assists in eight games this season.
  • Shawn Evans (three goals) surpassed 350 career goals (352) against the Swarm and is currently sixth in the NLL in points (62). He is now 31 points shy of 1,000 career points.
  • Kevin Buchanan collected a season-high seven loose balls last week, and has now registered three or more assists in seven games this season.
  • Daryl Veltman had a season-high two assists, and tied his season-high collecting six loose balls.
  • Jay Thorimbert scored a season-high two goals, and collected double-digit loose balls (10) for the eighth time this season. He also won 16 of 25 face-offs (.640) in the contest.
  • Kyle Buchanan had his fifth multi-goal game of the season, and tied his season-highs in both assists (four) and points (seven).
  • Kyle Jackson has already had six multi-goal games through 11 games this season and set a season and career-high in assists (nine) against the Black Wolves on January 7th.
  • Dan Lomas scored a season and career-high five points on two goals and three assists against the Black Wolves on January 7th.
  • New England currently has four players in the top 25 league leaders for points.
  • Evan Kirk leads all NLL goalies in minutes played (623:54) and saves (445) through 11 games.
  • Matt Vinc ranks fourth amongst all goaltenders in the league this season.
  • Kyle Jackson (14 goals, 22 assists) is ranked third in rookie goals, second in rookie assists and second in rookie points (36).
  • Josh Currier (16 goals, 16 assists) is second in rookie goals scored, third in rookie assists, and third in rookie points (32).
  • Rochester has the lowest goals per game average (9.36) in the NLL this season.

 

New England Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark

Opening Statement

“We’re obviously happy with the result on Sunday. Georgia is a team that has been playing really well. We were 0-2 going into that week, so we made some changes, some subtle adjustments, and the guys responded well and played probably our most complete game of the year I would think.”

 

You’ve won two straight, and now you have a full roster. You have to feel really good about getting this thing going a little bit to finish the season up strong.

“Yeah, we’re two games into the second half of our season, and obviously we weren’t happy with the first half. We made a conscious effort as a group to learn from it, move on and try to get better in the second half. I think we have been so far, but the thing I don’t want to get into is, and I think we’re smart enough to know that, but we can’t record-watch or position-watch. Beating Georgia doesn’t give us a leg up on beating Rochester. Every team in this league will bite you, and every team – any given Sunday – they can win. It’s going to be a game like any other games you guys have seen. They’re going to come after us and we’re going to come after them. Breaks, one way or another, often determine the outcome, but we’re going to be planned, we’re going to be prepared and ready to face a difficult opponent.”

 

What about Rochester? Obviously, you guys have split so far this season. What concerns you most?

“Obviously, their goaltending is very strong. Matt Vinc has been one of the top goalies for the last five or six years, so he can close the door on you and frustrate shooters. Their defense is big and physical. They make you pay a price and they’re good. They have some offensive weapons in (Dan) Dawson, (Cody) Vitarelli, and some of the younger guys like (Kyle) Jackson and (Josh) Currier. They are pretty well-rounded. I think Vinc is the big X-factor. He’s been known to win games before, so he worries you a little bit.”

 

Evan Kirk seems to be on a roll in goal as of late.

“Yeah, I think he’s moving into that next level of goaltenders, like the top-tier goaltenders, where they’re making the saves they should make, and then making a few of the extraordinary ones. That’s what good goaltenders do. That’s what next-level goaltenders do. Timing is key as well. He seems to make those saves when we either keep momentum or we need to gain some momentum. I think he’s been very good this year, and I think he’s getting into that upper tier of goaltenders in the league which is what teams need in order to win games. Every team that wins a championship has strong goaltending. You don’t win without it because in the game of lacrosse, you’re giving up good shots. It doesn’t matter what team you’re playing on, the opposition will get quality shots. Your goaltender needs to be strong, and Evan has been great this year.”

 

Is it important for you guys to get back to the .500 mark this week?

“It’s certainly important because it’s divisional, so every game you win in your division put you one-up and whoever you’re playing one-back. That’s very important. We didn’t start the way we wanted to. We dug a hole at 0-3, so to be able to get back to the .500 mark would be a pretty good accomplishment. We’ve been playing pretty well. We’ve got ourselves on a bit of a roll, so we want to continue with that and start building and getting stronger and hopefully be in a position to compete for a playoff spot and be playing our best when we need to.”

 

Next Game: The New England Black Wolves face off against the Calgary Roughnecks at the Scotiabank Centre on Saturday, March 25th at 9:00 p.m. For more details, visit www.blackwolves.com.