New England Black Wolves (4-3) vs. Colorado Mammoth (4-3)
At Mohegan Sun Arena
Sunday, February 18th, 2:00 p.m. ET
Last Game: The New England Black Wolves fell 18-13 at home to the Buffalo Bandits on Friday, February 9th. The Colorado Mammoth fell 13-9 to the Calgary Roughnecks on Saturday, February 10th.
Players to Watch: New England – Through seven games this season, Kevin Crowley leads the Black Wolves in goals (19) and is second on the team in points (28). Shawn Evans leads New England in both assists (26) and points (42), and is second in goals (16). Stephan Leblanc ranks second on the team in assists (17) and third in both goals (eight) and points (25).
Colorado – Ryan Benesch leads the Mammoth in both goals (18) and points (40), and is third on the team in assists (22). Jeremy Noble leads Colorado in assists (27), is second in points (39) and third in goals (12). Jacob Ruest ranks second on the team in assists (25) and third in points (33).
· Sunday’s game will be the first of two meetings between the teams this season.
· The Black Wolves are 3-1 at home.
· New England is 2-0 in games where they have scored first.
· The Black Wolves rank second in the NLL in penalty killing percentage (60.7).
· David Brock picked up a career-high 11 loose balls against Buffalo.
· Stephan Leblanc recorded a season-high six assists against the Bandits.
· Kevin Crowley is currently tied for seventh in the NLL in goals with 19. With four goals against Buffalo last week, he has now scored in 26 straight games for the Black Wolves dating back to May 1, 2016 against Rochester.
· Shawn Evans scored a season-high five goals against the Bandits, and is now just 16 shy of 400 career goals. He currently ranks 11th in the league in points (42) and is tied for 12th in assists (26).
· Jay Thorimbert is third in the NLL in faceoff wins (111) and seventh in loose balls (70).
· Colorado has allowed the fewest goals in the league this season (82). They currently rank third in average goals against (11.71 per game).
· The Mammoth have lost their last two games.
· Colorado has the third-highest power play conversion percentage in the league (55.9)
· Ryan Benesch is currently tied for 10th in the NLL in goals with 18.
· Jeremy Noble ranks 11th in the league in assists with 27 on the season.
· Robert Hope is second in the league in caused turnovers with 17.
New England Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark
“Obviously, we’re a little disappointed in last weekend’s results. I made that clear after the game. I thought we had some pretty definable mistakes that, in our minds, are not acceptable. In a league that’s so tight, you can’t be loose when you feel like it, you can’t take shortcuts. I thought we had some mistakes that ended up in the back of our net, so we made some adjustments this week. Colorado is a team that plays a very honest game, so if you’re going to take shortcuts and you’re not going to be disciplined in all areas of the floor, they’re a team that will take advantage of it. That was the challenge I put to the team this week. Honest effort. No shortcuts. And we essentially have to eliminate mistakes because they have ended up in the back of our net lately.”
Is this the time of year when you worry more about the loss column than the win column in order to keep up with teams like Buffalo and Toronto?
“Both, for sure. The three is the number that stands out because technically, we all have that same number to the right. That is what you’re paying attention to. People say we have got games in hand, but those are only valuable if you do something with them. Certainly, losses are the number that you want to keep pace with.”
What worries you most about Colorado?
“They’re pretty balanced and they play a pretty honest game. They’re aggressive on defense, they’ll run the floor and their offense is pretty active and has good balance between their right side and their left side. You can’t really key on one side of the floor because they have weapons on each side, the outside and inside game as well. Probably the balance of attack they come at you with and the consistency of it, you just can’t take shortcuts with that group because they keep rolling a consistent effort. If you’re looking for the shortcuts, or you’re not staying disciplined in all areas of your game, that’s when they’ll hurt you.”
Next Game: The New England Black Wolves faceoff against the Vancouver Stealth at Langley Events Centre on Saturday, February 24th at 10:00 p.m. ET. For more information, visit blackwolves.com.