Takeaways: New England At Rochester

Defending Their Territory
Over the last two games, the Black Wolves (3-1) have allowed just 17 goals in victories of 13-9 over Vancouver and 9-8 at Rochester. In their three wins this season, they have allowed an average of 9.3 goals per game. On Saturday, New England limited the host Knighthawks – who began the season scoring 38 goals in the first two games of the year – to a season-low eight goals. The Black Wolves held Rochester scoreless for 25 minutes and 39 seconds during one stretch in the second half while scoring three goals to build a 9-6 lead. Through four games, the East Division-leading Black Wolves have allowed just 52 goals. That is the least in the East, and the third fewest in the NLL. New England is allowing an average of 13 goals per game, slightly above the league average of 12.6. That number drops to 9.3 goals-against when the 24-11 loss at Saskatchewan is removed from the equation.

Special Effort
New England’s special teams have been a bright spot so far this season. The Black Wolves successfully killed off three of four penalties at Rochester, allowing just one power play goal. New England also cashed in on two power play opportunities against the best penalty-killing team in the NLL. The Black Wolves rank second in the NLL in penalty kill percentage (66.7) and are fourth in power play conversion percentage (50 percent).  Last year, New England converted 44.6 percent of its power plays and killed off 50.5 percent of opposition power plays.

Closing Strong
The Black Wolves have outscored opponents by a combined margin of 17-8 in the fourth quarter of games this season, and they have a 52-45 edge in shots during the fourth quarter. Interestingly enough, New England is being outshot and outscored in the first three quarters this season. Last year, the Black Wolves gave up 10 more goals than they scored in the fourth quarter.