After a momentous, 18-7 win over the Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday, Feb. 22, the Black Wolves look to keep the same energy going forward as they head to New York to face the Riptide in just their third road game of the season. New England is currently 5-3 overall and 2-0 on the road.
The Pack will have a quick turn around and head right back to the Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday, Mar. 1 for a matchup against the 7-2 Halifax Thunderbirds. New England is partnering with Yale New Haven Health for its annual Faceoff Against Cancer night the same day. During the night there will be a $2 hotdog special and in place of postgame shots on goal, the team will hold its annual Meet & Greet event exclusive to season ticket members.
History: Friday’s contest will be just the second time in history the two Eastern Division foes compete. Alongside the Knighthawks, the Riptide are part of the NLL expansion. New England opened up its six-game home stand with a 21-11 victory over New York on Dec. 27.
New England: The Black Wolves lineup looked a little different than usual in their matchup last weekend. Generally, competing with a 10-man defense and a seven-man offense, New England changed it up by adding a defender to the mix and dropping a forward in effort to strengthen transition play.
Offense: Although the lineup looked differently, the offense seemed to find its rhythm again like it had early on in the season. Veteran Callum Crawford led the team with 12 points on four goals and eight assists. Crawford has steadily led the team all season and currently ranks fifth in the league in goals (23) and eighth in assists (32). Joe Resetarits has been a primary contributor since his transition into the Pack last season. In his eighth season in the NLL, Resetarits has recorded 18 goals and 15 assists, placing him in a six way tie for eighth in the league in goals. After adding three goals and two assists against Rochester, Reilly O’Connor stays prevalent in the Black Wolves’ offense as well. O’Connor sits third on the team with 14 goals and has also had a hand in 12. Stephan Leblanc has also been a staple in creating offensive opportunities for his teammates. Behind only Crawford, Leblanc has assisted on 22 goals this season and has also netted in 12 of his own.
Defense: Over the course of the last three games, New England’s transition play has been stellar. Tony Malcom and Colton Watkinson have been able to show up both offensively and defensively. The dynamic pair has scored a combined 10 goals and caused 12 turnovers. Malcom leads the team with nine caused turnovers and has collected 63 loose balls.
Veteran defender, Greg Downing, captain Brett Manney and Adam Bomberry have been key in the Black Wolves’ defense. Downing has caused eight turnovers and Manney and Bomberry have caused six apiece. Alongside the defense, Nick Chaykowsky also adds versatility to the backend. Chaykowsky has not only caused five turnovers and collected 27 loose balls, he has also recorded three goals and four assists during his time on the frontline.
Joe Nardella continues to be a force in his first year in the league, specializing in the faceoff. The rookie is currently 65 percent on the X, going 114-of-176.
Between the pipes, Doug Jamieson has stood strong all season. In eight games, he has racked up 333 saves and has an overall save percentage of .824.
New York: The Riptide may be overlooked on the standings with their 1-9 overall record, but with further investigation it shows that they have been in more games than not. New York has been within at least five goals in five of its games this season. Leading the team offensively this year is rookie Tyson Gibson, son of Black Wolves’ assistant coach Darryl Gibson, Connor Kelly, Dan Lomas and Jean-Luc Chetner. Gibson, Kelly and Lomas each have 13 goals this season. Additionally, Kelly, Lomas and Chetner each have a team-high 17 assists.
Former New England Black Wolf, Andrew Suitor is one of New York’s top defenders. Suitor sits in first on the team in loose balls (87) and caused turnovers (14). Following behind is Dan MacRae with 55 loose balls and 13 caused turnovers. The Riptide’s go-to on the X is Alex Woodall. This season he has won 131 faceoffs in 245 attempts.
Another former member of the Black Wolves, goalkeeper Alex Buque stands in the net for New York. In 10 contests, Buque has saved 339 shots and has an overall save percentage of .742.
Looking Ahead: New England returns home for Faceoff Against Cancer night on Mar. 1 at 5pm against Halifax in partnership with Yale New Haven Health.
Tickets for the 2019-20 season are on sale now and start at $15 per game. For more information, contact a Black Wolves sales representative by calling 844-LAX-WOLF or visiting blackwolves.com.