New England (3-5) vs. Colorado Mammoth (4-4)
At Mohegan Sun Arena
Sunday, February 26th, 1:00 p.m.
Live on NLLTV.com
Last Game: New England fell 16-15 at home to the Buffalo Bandits in overtime on February 19th. Colorado lost 8-7 on the road to Saskatchewan on February 18th.
Players to Watch: New England – Shawn Evans (19 goals, 35 assists) leads the Black Wolves this year in assists and points. He had a season high six goals along with six assists Sunday against Buffalo. Kevin Buchanan (seven goals, 22 assists) had two goals and a career high seven assists in the loss. Kevin Crowley (22 goals, 18 assists) also added three goals and four assists for New England.
Colorado – Callum Crawford (12 goals, 32 assists) leads the Mammoth in assists and points. He had one goal and four assists last week against Saskatchewan. Eli McLaughlin (14 goals, 16 assists) leads Colorado in goals, and had one goal and three assists against the Rush. Dillon Ward registered a career and league high 56 saves for Colorado.
· Kevin Crowley (three goals, three assists), Shawn Evans (two goals, three assists) and Kyle Buchanan (two goals, two assists) led the charge for the Black Wolves in their last meeting this season with Colorado on January 14th.
· Callum Crawford (four goals, four assists), Jeremy Noble (two goals, three assists), Eli McLaughlin (two goals, two assists) and Zack Greer (one goal, three assists) led the Mammoth in their 11-10 win over the Black Wolves on January 14th.
· Sheldon Burns set a season high and tied his career high in loose balls with 11 against Colorado.
· Callum Crawford set season highs in both goals (4) and shots (19) against New England earlier this season.
· Jeremy Noble also logged a season high 14 shots against New England in their last meeting.
· Eli McLaughlin collected a season high five loose balls earlier this season against the Black Wolves.
· Kevin Crowley has had a hat trick in five of the last seven games, and has scored in every game this season for New England.
· Jay Thorimbert won a season high 23 faceoffs in last week’s loss to Buffalo.
· Dillon Ward registered a career high 56 saves in Colorado’s loss to the Rush last week.
· Stephen Keogh had a season high 17 shots last week against Saskatchewan.
· Shawn Evans (612) needs 10 more assists to pass Gavin Prout (621) for 7th all-time NLL regular season assist leaders. Evans (19 goals, 35 assists) is currently third in the NLL this season in scoring and tied for the league lead in assists.
· Crawford (12 goals, 32 assists) ranks sixth in the NLL in scoring.
· McLaughlin is fifth in the NLL in power-play goals scored (7).
· Evan Kirk is leading the league in saves with 335.
· Jacob Ruest (nine goals, six assists) is fourth in rookie scoring.
· Brent Adams (five goals, four assists) ranks second in the NLL in defensive scoring.
· New England leads the league in short-handed goals scored (9).
· The Black Wolves are 2-1 at home this season, while Colorado has a 2-2 road record.
New England Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark
“A little bittersweet to be honest; we would’ve liked both games. We were close to getting both, and that would’ve really set us up well. We played really well in Buffalo which is a tough place to win, and it was a barn-burner down in Mohegan. We had a couple breakdowns that cost us but still played relatively well. It’s just a little disappointing to let it slip away in overtime there, but all in all; not a bad weekend.”
Have you looked at things; have you thought about things; was it less than it was on Sunday as far as the defensive breakdown?
“The breakdowns were still bothering me. On Sunday, I was in the here and now dealing with that game, and probably not focusing on the entirety of the weekend. I’m still disappointed in the breakdowns, especially in the third and fourth quarter defensively. I thought we had some very preventable goals, and when you’re in a one-goal game, those preventable goals really hurt you. I’m still disappointed about it, but I always say, ‘I don’t want to overreact; I don’t want to underreact’. Buffalo is still a good team despite their record, and we’ve taken two of three from them. It’s hard to sweep any team on a season series, and certainly with a team as good as Buffalo to get two of three, when you take a step back, that’s pretty good.”
This Sunday’s game marks the halfway point of the season. Do you get the sense that you’re going in the right direction?
“I think we’ve certainly played better in this five-game stretch if you take away the first three games that we played. I think we’ve been more consistent. We’ve obviously been in a position to win all five of them; we lost in overtime, and let that one slip away in Georgia. I think we’re playing better. I think we’re more dangerous. Obviously, the thing that concerns me is the late breakdowns. The question was asked earlier about if it was going to be a personnel thing. We’re giving guys rope to correct it and working with them, but at some point, if those breakdowns continue to happen, we may have to look at bouncing things around because we’re in a results-based business. If things aren’t happening, sometimes you have to tweak it and change it.”
As far as having a Sunday game, is that actually a good thing for the guys to have Saturday and maybe get a little work done?
“We’re not going to practice, but we’re going to get some video session in. The guys are going to get together and do more of a recovery workout stretch, so we will be able to get together as a group and go through some things to prep for Sunday’s game. Personnel-wise, it’s going to be more to do with reinforcing certain points; specific video for specific guys; just to give them an exact look at the mistakes that are being made and the correcting they can do. At this point, it’s going to be a correction as opposed to a subtraction. We’re going to work through some things with some guys and shorten the leash a little bit, but still try to correct and teach and bring these guys around.”
How about Colorado as a whole; you’ve played them once already; you played them well; what do you expect?
“Colorado is very balanced, starting from the goaltender out. They have a very good goaltender, an active, athletic, aggressive defense that likes to put you on the run. In Callum Crawford and Stephen Keogh, they have some pretty-dynamic one-on-one (players). They present challenges all across the floor. You have to have a complete game to have success against them because they can hurt you in transition, their goaltender can get hot and they have some pretty dynamic weapons. You have to have the whole package against them. They’re a well-balanced, solid team.”
Next Game: The Black Wolves play the Toronto Rock at the Air Canada Centre on Friday, March 3rd at 7:30 p.m.