Takeaways: New England at Buffalo

Circle The Number
Veteran specialist Jay Thorimbert was 10 of 19 in the faceoff circle during Saturday’s 14-11 loss at Buffalo. In the process, he won his 200th draw in a season for the sixth straight year and seventh time overall. Thorimbert ranks second all-time in NLL history with 2,206 faceoff wins, trailing only Geoff Snider (2,468). He also ranks eighth all-time in NLL history with 1,448 loose balls. He has a team-best 120 this year.

O’Connor Returns
Scratched from the lineup for the game at Georgia on March 24th, third-year forward Reilly O’Connor came back with his best game of the season, tying a career-high with six assists while also scoring a goal in the loss at Buffalo. O’Connor also had five loose balls, giving him a new single-season career high of 56 – he had 55 last year with New England. The left-hander needs five assists to surpass his single-season career high of 33, set last year. He is eight assists short of 100 for his career. O’Connor was originally drafted with the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 2015 NLL Entry Draft by Calgary, the team visiting Mohegan Sun Arena Sunday. New England acquired O’Connor for a second-round pick it the 2017 NLL Entry Draft.

Playoff Picture
Even in the midst of this four-game losing streak, the Black Wolves are very-much alive in the playoff chase thanks to the pack of teams in the East Division hovering around .500. It says something about the parity in the NLL that the overall record in both divisions is .500. New England goes out of division this weekend, hosting 6-8 Calgary on Sunday. Meanwhile, 7-7 Toronto is at 7-7 Georgia this weekend. If New England wins, it will be tied with one of those teams for fourth in the East. The looming issue for New England is the head-to-head tiebreaker situation. Toronto and Buffalo both have that edge over New England while Georgia and the Black Wolves are 1-1. The Black Wolves own the head-to-head with Rochester, but may not be able to take advantage of that if the Knighthawks keep winning.