Game Preview

New England Black Wolves (3-2) vs. Toronto Rock (0-5) Game Preview

Last Game: New England suffered a 12-10 loss at Buffalo on February 6th; Toronto was beaten by Georgia 20-17 on January 29th.

Players to watch:
New England – 2015 NLL MVP Shawn Evans (13 goals, 17 assists, 30 points, 30 loose balls) had a team-high five assists at Buffalo. Kevin Crowley (10 goals, 14 assists, 24 points, 21 loose balls) had two goals and three assists. Pat Saunders (13 goals, 9 assists, 22 points, 17 loose balls) had two goals and an assist. Kevin Buchanan (7 goals, 12 assists, 19 points, 17 loose balls) and Kyle Buchanan (8 goals, 3 assists, 11 points, 11 loose balls) also contributed.

Toronto – Rob Hellyer (11 goals, 15 assists 26 points, 26 loose balls), Stephen Leblanc (9 goals, 11 assists, 20 points, 27 loose balls) and Colin Doyle (4 goals, 13 assists, 17 points) lead the Rock offense

Noteworthy:

  • This is the first meeting with Toronto this season. The Rock swept the season series last year.
  • Toronto’s Josh Sanderson, who led the team with 102 points last year (19 goals, 83 points), could play his first game of the season on Sunday against New England. He was moved to the active list this week after being placed on the physically unable to perform list at the start of the year.
  • Toronto was 4-1 through the first five games last year, and was 9-1 before losing its second game. The Rock finished 14-4, reaching the 2015 Champion’s Cup Final before losing to Edmonton
  • With two goals at Buffalo, Pat Saunders had his fifth straight multiple-goal game to start the season.
  • Shawn Evans has 12 assists in the last two games. He has 526 for his career, tied for ninth all-time with Blaine Manning.
  • Kyle Buchanan had his second hat trick of the season and the eighth of his career at Buffalo.

New England Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark
On last week’s loss at Buffalo:
“To be honest, I was a little disappointed, not just with the loss, but the way we lost. We had a plan, and buy-in from the players, and early on, they didn’t deliver. If you are looking for a positive, we did battle back. But you can’t spot a team a six goal lead and expect to win.”

Explain what you mean by a loose performance:
“It was more our reaction to transition. It was decision-making because everyone can run to the bench. They all have that skill-set or they wouldn’t be in this league…It has to do with making a conscious choice and following the game plan…(Buffalo) had five goals in transition early in the second quarter. When you get down to that final buzzer, and you’re down by one, that’s a huge difference-maker in the game. It was poor decision-making and it was shortcuts. That’s not what we’ve been.”

On facing a winless team:
“I’m not sure where their head space is at. Obviously they don’t like being 0-5, but I don’t view them as an 0-5 team. They’ve had some hiccups early, but they are still the team that won the East, went to the finals and went 14-4 last year, so they are still a dangerous team. It’s so hard to win games in the National Lacrosse League. The margins are so tight. So we prepare for it like any game. Record, whether they’re 0-6 or 6-0, we break the team down and record really doesn’t play a part.”

New England Black Wolves forward Shawn Evans
On bouncing back this week against a desperate team:
“It’s a huge game for us. Every game is big. It’s a tight league, very competitive. Every game matters. We need to get out there and play well. Toronto is desperate. They need a win and will throw everything at us. We need a win and to be able to separate ourselves from other teams.”

Next Game: The Black Wolves host Georgia on Sunday, February 28th at 3 p.m. For more information on the Black Wolves, visit blackwolves.com.