New England Black Wolves (7-8) at Saskatchewan Rush (10-4)
At SaskTel Centre
Saturday, April 15th, 9:30 p.m.
Live on NLLTV.com
Last Game: The New England Black Wolves lost 21-12 at home to the Georgia Swarm on April 7th. Saskatchewan won 16-12 over Vancouver on April 8th.
Players to Watch: New England – Kevin Crowley (36 goals, 36 assists) leads the Black Wolves in goals, is third on the team in assists, and second in points (72). He had three goals and three assists in last week’s loss to Georgia. Shawn Evans (32 goals, 53 assists) is second on New England in goals and leads the team in both assists and points (85). He added one goal and three assists against the Swarm. Kevin Buchanan (20 goals, 40 assists) ranks second on the Black Wolves in assists and third in points (60). He also had two goals and two assists last week against Georgia.
Saskatchewan – Mark Matthews (31 goals, 64 assists) is tied for the lead for the Rush in goals and leads the team in both assists and points (95). He had three goals and four assists in last week’s win over Vancouver. Robert Church (31 goals, 31 assists) is also tied for the team lead in goals and is second on Saskatchewan in both assists and points (62). He added one goal and two assists against the Stealth. Adam Jones (21 goals, 25 assists) ranks fourth on the Rush in goals and assists and third on the team in points (46). He also added four goals and two assists last week against Vancouver.
- New England topped Saskatchewan 14-13 at home in the only meeting between the two teams last season on April 8th.
- Saskatchewan is unbeaten at home with a record of 7-0. They tied the league-high this season scoring 21 goals against Rochester on February 11th.
- Shawn Evans (three goals, six assists), Kevin Crowley (three goals, four assists) and Kyle Buchanan (four goals, two assists) led the charge for the Black Wolves in the one game played against the Rush last season.
- Mark Matthews (four goals, five assists), Robert Church (three goals, five assists) and Matthew Dinsdale (one goal, three assists) led Saskatchewan in scoring in one game against New England last season.
- Shawn Evans’ three assists against Georgia last week was his 12th game with three or more assists this season. He now needs eight points to reach 1000 career points. He sits seventh in the NLL this season in goals (32), tied for fourth in the NLL in assists (53) and tied for fifth in points (85).
- Kevin Crowley recorded his seventh hat trick (32nd of career) and 12th multi-goal game (57th of career) of the season last week, tying his career-high for goals in a season (36). Through 15 games this season, he has scored a goal in every game for the Black Wolves. He is currently tied for third in the league this season in goals (36).
- Kevin Buchanan tied his season-high with seven loose balls last week against the Swarm. He also set his career-high for season assists (40). He is now four goals shy of his career-best 24 goals in a season (2011, 2016), and only two points shy of his career-high for season points (62, 2016).
- Kyle Buchanan needs five goals to set a new single-season career-high, and is 12 points shy of his career-best for single-season points (68, 2014).
- Reilly O’Connor tied his career-high for single-season points (36) last week against Georgia.
- Sheldon Burns had a career-high 15 loose balls against the Swarm. It was the second-most by a Black Wolves player since the team relocated in 2015.
- Mark Matthews had his 6th hat trick and 10th multi-goal game of the season last week against Vancouver. He leads the league this season in assists (64) and is ranked second in points (95). He is also tied for the league lead with 24 power-play assists.
- Adam Jones scored a season-high four goals and tied his season-high in points (six) against the Stealth.
- Ben McIntosh recorded his ninth multi-goal game of the season with two goals against Vancouver last week.
- Robert Church leads the NLL in power-play goals (18).
- Evan Kirk leads all NLL goalies this season in saves (576).
- Aaron Bold leads the league in goalie wins (10).
New England Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark
“Well, we are definitely looking forward to rebounding from last week. I think that was a runaway train last week. I mean, we probably got it close in the third quarter there where we closed the gap to a manageable number, but the entirety of the game we weren’t as good as we needed to be. You have games like that every once in a while, and we’re hoping that that was ours that we can bury for the season. Now we get an opportunity to bounce back against an equally tough team, a team that hasn’t been beaten at home and two-time defending champions. We need to be obviously better going into this weekend and we had practice last night, and guys understand what’s required of them and, you know, they need to perform. We’ll see what that translates going into this weekend.”
What is the team’s attitude like after the tough loss last weekend?
“Throwing in the towel is not an option. We’re not doing that, we’re not wired that way. Everybody was obviously really down last weekend, and then you do what you do every week, you start building back up. The emails started on Sunday. I started communicating with the team on Sunday, talked to some guys individually, some guys as a group. We were purposeful and professional last night (at practice). One of the things I say to them all the time is you don’t want to overreact to a game like that, but you certainly can’t underreact, and you’ve got to acknowledge what you need to be better at. We needed to be all business at practice last night. We had a good, crisp practice last night, guys were dialed in. We’re moving straight ahead and we’ve got nowhere to hide. Not showing up and not performing is not in our DNA, so we’re going to continue to go after it. We’re going to adjust, we’re going to readjust, and we’re going to keep tweaking until we squeeze as much out of this group as we think we can.”
How do you feel about playing Saskatchewan at home?
“That’s a tough out. They’re arguably the best team in the league in terms of being the two-time champions and certainly have been dominant at home, so yeah, it’s not an easy game. You guys know this, there are no easy games, but this one is certainly going to be difficult. “
Is it a good game to get in order for the team to get a chance to prove themselves?
“Absolutely. The other thing you have going in is I can guarantee you after getting smashed by Georgia, this isn’t a game where guys are going in thinking that we’re going to just get going and get the W. Guys will be on edge, and they know they’re going to earn everything they get. We’ll see what kind of make-up we got with some of our guys.”
Next Game: The New England Black Wolves face off against the Rochester Knighthawks in their fourth meeting this season at Blue Cross Arena on April 22 at 7:30 p.m. For more details, visit www.blackwolves.com.