New England Black Wolves (6-7) vs. Toronto Rock (8-5)
At Mohegan Sun Arena
Sunday, April 2nd, 1:00 p.m.
Live on NLLTV.com
Last Game: New England lost 18-13 on the road to the Calgary Roughnecks on March 25th. Toronto won 13-7 at home over the Vancouver Stealth on March 25th.
Players to Watch: New England – Shawn Evans (28 goals, 49 assists) leads the Black Wolves this season in both assists and points (77). He had three goals and four assists in last week’s loss to Calgary. Kevin Crowley (31 goals, 30 assists) leads the team in goals scored, and added one goal and two assists against the Roughnecks. Kevin Buchanan (17 goals, 34 assists) is second on New England in assists and third in points (61). He also had one goal and four assists in the game.
Toronto – Tom Schreiber (20 goals, 46 assists) is second on the team in goals scored this season, and leads Toronto in both assists and points (66). He had one goal and three assists in last week’s win over Vancouver. Brett Hickey (32 goals, 22 assists) leads the Rock in goals scored and is second in points (54). He added two goals and four assists last week against the Stealth. Stephan Leblanc (17 goals, 34 assists) is third on the team in goals, second in assists and third in total points. He also had two goals and three assists in the game.
- The Black Wolves won 10-9 in overtime over Toronto in their first meeting this season on March 3rd.
- Kevin Buchanan (four goals, three assists), Kevin Crowley (two goals, four assists), Kyle Buchanan (four assists) and Sheldon Burns (one goal, two assists) led New England in scoring in the win over Toronto on March 3rd.
- Stephan Leblanc (one goal, four assists). Brett Hickey (two goals, two assists), Tom Schreiber (one goal, three assists) and Reid Reinholdt (two goals, one assist) led Toronto in their loss to the Black Wolves earlier this season.
- Reilly O’Connor tied his career-high with four assists at Calgary. Three came on power-plays.
- Shawn Evans recorded his third straight hat trick (sixth of the season) against the Roughnecks last week. He now needs 16 points to reach 1000 for his career.
- Kyle Buchanan had a career-high five goals against Calgary, surpassing 100 career goals. Two came on power-plays. He also tied his season-high in points (seven).
- Through 13 games, Kevin Crowley has scored a goal in every game this season for the Black Wolves. He now needs eight goals to reach 200 career goals.
- Chad Culp needs five points to reach 500 career points.
- Seth Oakes registered his first career power-play assist against the Roughnecks.
- Brett Hickey tied his season-high with four assists against Vancouver.
- Turner Evans tied his season-high in both assists (four) and points (five) against the Stealth.
- Stephan Leblanc has scored in every game he’s played in this season for Toronto. He has also had two or more assists in each game.
- Dan Lintner tied his career-high with three goals against Vancouver.
- Shawn Evans is tied for seventh in the NLL in goals (28), tied for third in assists (49) and fifth in points (77).
- Kevin Crowley ranks fifth in the league in goals this season (31).
- Tom Schreiber currently sits fifth in the NLL in assists (46) and eighth in points (66). He leads all rookies in both assists and points, and is ranked second in rookie goals scored (20).
- Brett Hickey is fourth in the league in goals scored (32).
- Through 13 games this season, Evan Kirk leads all NLL goalies in saves (508).
- Sheldon Burns (four goals, eight assists) and Damon Edwards (seven goals, five assists) are both tied for fifth in the league in defensive points (12).
- New England and Toronto are the two bottom ranked teams on the power-play.
- Shawn Evans holds the league-high in points scored in a single game this season (12, twice).
- Toronto (18 goals, 32 assists) recorded a league-high 50 total points against Buffalo on February 3rd.
New England Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark
“Obviously, it was a disappointing result last weekend in Calgary. I thought we played pretty well in the first half, and then it slipped away on us in the second half. We had a couple of performances that were below average from our team and individual standpoint, and Calgary is a dangerous team. We knew that going in. They’re certainly a team that you can’t look at their record. If you look at their roster, you understand how good they are. The only positive was that it was against a Western opponent that we had a lapse, as opposed to an Eastern opponent. We get a chance to bounce back with a big divisional game against a team we’re chasing. Everybody is in the right frame of mind. We sort of recalibrated ourselves and everybody is ready to go after it on Sunday.”
What happened during the stretch where Calgary outscored you 9-2, was is just breakdowns on the defensive side?
“Yeah, there were some very definable breakdowns defensively, more from an individual standpoint. Different people had different gaffes at different times. Although we scored 13 goals, we got a lot of those late. I don’t think we were very crisp offensively either. I thought it was a pretty flat performance across the board. I don’t think we were very sharp – a lot of dropped balls offensively – and defensively, we had too many missed assignments.”
Is it just difficult making the trip out to Calgary?
I don’t know. It’s funny, Colorado and Calgary, for whatever reason, seem to give us a lot of trouble. It’s hard to put a finger on it. Other teams that we’ve had success against have had success against them. Sometimes it is difficult matchups, for whatever reason, but since I’ve been with the team, I’m 0-6 against Calgary and Colorado. It’s a funny stat, we don’t seem to play well against them for whatever reason. They’re talented for one, but outside of that, it’s hard to really pin down why we have such a difficult time with them, but we certainly do. They’re obviously good teams, but you should be able to find a way to win at some point.”
In what areas do you really have to improve upon from last week?
“One of the things we looked at was our defensive awareness in terms of sorting out in transition to defense. When we’re getting on the floor, when we’re getting into our defensive zone and the offense is coming at us with speed, we need to do a better job of sorting out responsibilities and matchups earlier. We were a little slow, guys were getting pinned down low before they worked their way through it. We worked a lot on communication and identifying those assignments and those responsibilities a lot earlier. We didn’t think we were very good in the off-ball game. We were OK when checking on-ball, but we still had some blown assignments off-ball as well.”
With your record now at 6-7, is it becoming a must-win scenario?
“In terms of must-win, it’s going to depend on what’s happening around us. You certainly want to win. You want to gain momentum as opposed to lose momentum. We’re at 6-7 right now. We certainly want to get back to the .500 level. Just from an optics and a pride standpoint, you want to be above that watermark. Must-wins, have-wins, those will kind of be dictated by what’s happening around us, but we certainly want to win. We want to win every game, it’s a sense of pride, it’s a sense of purpose, and we want to be good. We want to strive towards excellence. We’re in that want-to-win. The musts and the haves, I think we’re not there yet, but we’re certainly in the want in every game we play in.”
What concerns you most about the Toronto Rock this weekend?
“It’s a couple things. I think one is that Nick Rose is having an outstanding year. He’s been really strong in net and their defense is playing well around him. They play with speed. They push the pace all over the floor. They try and burn you in transition, they have some quickness offensively and they try to get you on your heels a little bit with their speed upfront. I would say the pace of play, the speed they play at as well as Nick Rose are probably the biggest challenges that they present.”
Next Game: The New England Black Wolves host the Georgia Swarm at Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday, April 7th at 7:30 p.m. For more details, visit www.blackwolves.com.