Game Preview

Game Preview: New England at Rochester

New England Black Wolves (5-3) at Rochester Knighthawks (4-4)
At Blue Cross Arena
Saturday, March 12th, 7:30 p.m.
FOX Sports GO

Last Game: New England was defeated at Colorado, 14-13 on March 5th; Rochester defeated Calgary 9-8 in overtime on March 5th. The Knighthawks play at Buffalo tomorrow night.

Players to watch:
New England – 2015 NLL MVP Shawn Evans (24 goals, 34 assists, 58 points, 56 loose balls) had two goals and four assists in the loss at Colorado. Kevin Crowley (17 goals, 25 assists, 42 points) had six assists. Pat Saunders (19 goals, 15 assists, 34 points) had a goal and three assists. Kevin Buchanan (12 goals, 22 assists and 34 points) and Jordan Hall (7 goals, 10 assists, 17 points) each had three goals. Goalie Evan Kirk leads the league with 320 saves.

Rochester – Cody Jamieson (17 goals, 32 assists, 49 points, 50 loose balls), Dan Dawson (19 goals, 21 assists, 40 points, 31 loose balls), Scott Campbell (leads the team with 50 loose balls).

Noteworthy:

  • This is the first of three straight games with Rochester. The Knighthawks won two of three meetings with the Black Wolves last year.
  • Rochester will be playing a back-to-back this weekend, traveling to Buffalo the night before hosting the Black Wolves.
  • Black Wolves veteran Andrew Suitor returned to the lineup at Colorado for the first time since he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last April 17th.
  • Jordan Hall, who collected his 500th career point at Colorado, will face Rochester for the first time since he was traded to the Black Wolves for Quinn Powless and Mike Manley on February 12th.
  • New England defenders Jimmy Purves (one goal, 11 assists, 12 points) and Sheldon Burns (five goals, five assists) rank first and third, respectively in the NLL among defensive scoring leaders. Burns is also the only defensive player in the NLL with two power play goals, and he ranks second overall in short-handed goals with two.

New England Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark
Looking back on the loss at Colorado:
“It was a good game. A tough loss. The wins are so valuable and we thought that was one we had put ourselves back in the mix to win. It was a bit of a strange game. They’d score four, we score three, they score three, we score four. It was a game of runs. But I guess you have two good teams that are fairly balanced so that is sort of the give and take of the game.”

What you take out of that game moving forward:
“I thought we did some things well, but there are always areas of improvement and that’s what we are trying to focus on this weekend. This is the start of three really big games in a row for us against Rochester, which is in the division and a tough opponent. These are going to be a real test moving forward.”

On the challenge of drawing up game plans for the same team three weeks in a row:
“You go based on the information you have about them and what you think you know about your team and you try to put the best package and game plan together that you think is going to advantage you. We’re going to do the same thing each time. We’ll get a little bit more information about them and how we match up with them. It’s a constant moving target. We’re prepping for them based on video we’ve seen, based on where we think our strengths lie. That’s what we are doing going into game one. Then we’ll reassess what worked and what didn’t work going into game two. It’s just a constant set up of adjustments trying to see what gives you as good an advantage as you can get to have success.”

Can you assess the play of Andrew Suitor in his first game back from the knee injury that sidelined him last year?
“I think he did well. I said this to Andrew going into the game – because when you have been off that long, you’re a little nervous or tentative – the one thing I said to him was, ‘Look, whether you start this weekend, next weekend or a month from now, it’s still going to be your first game, so you’re still going to go through those growing pains of catching up to game speed and all that type of stuff. You’ve got to get it under your belt at some point. Whether you do it now or later, you’re healthy, you’ve been tested, everybody says you’re healthy, so you’re ready and you might as well get the growing pains out now.’ He struggled with the pace of the game at times, but I think he can get better each time that he gets out there.”

Next Game: The Black Wolves host Rochester on Saturday, March 25th at 7 p.m. For more information on the Black Wolves, visit blackwolves.com.